Mobina Alinasab, the leader in the girls’ section with 5.5 points, will face her biggest threats in the form of the host nation’s medal aspirants, led by R Vaishali. Meanwhile, Iranian top seed Amin Tabatabaei escaped being barred from taking further part in the World Junior Chess Championship.
While India will look eagerly to Vaishali, Rakshitta Ravi, Divya Deshmukh, Arpita Mukherjee, Mrudul Dehankar, and Vantika Agarwal to break into the medal-bracket, the home prospects in the open section, too, appear exciting. The trio of M Karthikeyan, Aravindh Chithambaram and ‘dark-horse’ R. Praggnanandhaa will hope to keep the hosts going in the face of the current leaders Ukraine’s Evgeny Shtembuliak and Armenia’s Aram Hakobyan.
Meanwhile, a timely protest from Iran saved their top seed Tabatabaei’s fortunes ahead of the seventh round. A late-night meeting of the Appeals Committee upheld the protest and the pairings were redrawn after including Tabatabaei’s names. Earlier, Malaysian chief arbiter Hamid Majid, after deliberation with the team of arbiters in New Delhi, removed Tabatabaei’s name after he failed to turn up for his sixth round contest against Israeli Or Bronstien on Saturday
“We all know that this is the second instance (in the Championship) of an Iranian not turning up for his game against an Israeli. (The first one being Aryan Gholami who cited medical reasons for his absence for the fourth-round game against Alexander Zlatin. He later withdrew from the Championship and left for home). Tabatabaei did not inform the organiser of the reason of his absence. It was only after he was confronted, he produced a medical certificate,” Majid told Sportstar.
On the condition that he would inform the organisers in case, he needed any further medical treatment and a guarantee that he would not refuse to play if paired with another Israeli, the Appeals Committee, headed by Woman Grandmaster Tania Sachdev, decided to clear Tabatabaei for further participation.