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Bhaskar in joint lead

Arvind Aaron

Halkidiki: Bhaskar Gupta defeated Abhimanyu Puranik in a marathon 92-move game of the ninth round to share the lead in the Open under-10 section of the World Youth chess championship here at Porto Carras on Thursday.

Undefeated Bhaskar handed Abhimanyu his first defeat, punishing him for overstretching a level position in a rook ending.

Bhaskar is leading with two others on 7.5 points from nine rounds. Two rounds remain to be played.

M. Mahalakshmi (u-12), Bhakti Kulkarni (u-18), Shiven Khosla, Vaibhav Suri (Open u-14) and Bhaskar are in with a chance to win the title.

Twenty-five Indians won, 11 drew and 18 suffered defeats in this decisive ninth round.

Bhakti Kulkarni played a brilliant rook-for-knight sacrifice to defeat Vo Thi Kim Phung of Vietnam to share second place with seven points along with three others. Mahalakshmi won a well-prepared 61-move game with white against a higher-rated opponent in the girls' under-12 section to move to second place with 7.5 points. Ivana Furtado is on seven points and Sunyasakta on 6.5 points.

The Open under-14 section has two Indians, Vaibhav Suri of Delhi and Shiven Khosla of Mumbai, with seven points sharing the second place.

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