Indians chess players in strong position

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> It is a race that everyone looks determined to win in the 27th edition of the Asian junior chess championship which is getting underway here.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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It is a race that everyone looks determined to win in the 27th edition of the Asian junior chess championship which is getting underway here. After today's rest day, the players will be back in action tomorrow and the stage is interestingly set with as many as four leaders in the open section. Indians lead The story so far gives a clear indication of another whitewash by the Indians and it comes as no surprise that former champion Deepan Chakravarthy, S Poobesh Anand, S Arun Prasad and Abhijeet Gupta are leading the fray with 4.5 points apiece from the first six games. With five rounds still to come and tomorrow being another day with double rounds, it just seems likely that the postion at the top of the tables might get further split with the likes of Anton Phillipov, Arghyadip Das, Bangladesh's Mehdi Hasan and Vietnam's Ngyen Van Huy breathing down the neck of the leading pack with four points in their bag. All in all a very interesting tussle seems much on cards in this annual event that decides the best under-20 player in Asia. Harika back in action As luck would have had it, Women Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika is back in reckoning for the title in the girls' section, thanks to a superlative effort by Soumya Swaminathan in the previous round game that witnessed the downfall of Vietnam's Hoang Thi Bao Tram. Harika who had to lost Tram in the fourth round match knows only too well that it has now boiled down between her and Tram and the person making the first mistake might finish the second best. Both Harika and Tram have an identical score of five points each from their six games though the latter's tiebreak as of now is superior. However, given the fact that she lost to a low-rated player in the previous round, the Vietnami girl looks vulnerable and her next round against Mary Ann Gomes will be crucial. Winning streak Harika on the other hand, barring that one hiccup against Tram, has been in her usual demolishing self and it looks unlikely that she can be stopped by other Indians. So far in the boys section the only surprise has been a sudden drop in form of International Master M R Venkatesh who was pre-championship favourite. Venkatesh, seeded second here, came to Bikaner soon after finishing a creditable fifth in the last National 'A' chess championship at Visakhapatnam and perhaps the reason could well be tiredness after 18 gruelling games in the 'A'. Going gets tough Fillipov, the top seed, is the other surprise so far. The young Uzbeki was a member of the Olympiad team and did well under the guidance of World champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov. However here, Fillipov is finding the going tough as quite a few Indians have succeeded in holding him to a draw. Standings after round 6: Boys: 1-4: Deepan Chakravarthy, S Poobesh Anand, Abhijeet Gupta, S Arun Prasad (4.5 each): 5-7: Nguyen Van Huy, Arghyadip Das, Mehdi Hasan (4 each) Girls: 1-2: D Harika, Hoang Thi Bao Tram (5 each); 3: Soumya Swaminathan (4.5); 4-6: Y Pratibha, Mary Ann Gomes, Saheli Nath (4 each). (PTI)