Toshali stuns top seed Zhu Jiner at World Junior Chess Championship.

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In chess, the four-digit rating of a player is reflective of his/her playing strength. On Friday, top seeds in both sections of the World Junior Chess Championship ran into far lesser-rated Indian rivals and fell well short of playing to their strengths.

The world’s top-ranked junior girl, China’s Zhu Jiner (2507) crashed to demoralising defeat at the hands of 73rd seed V. Toshali (1868). The fate of the top seed in the open section, Iran’s Amin Tabatabaei (2642) was a shade better when he managed to draw with a gritty Rithvik Raja (2369).

Toshali, an 18-year-old second year student from Visakhapatnam, produced a flawless performance to pull off the biggest win for an Indian in the competition. This 28-move shut out a player rated 639 points higher was the surprise of the day.

If Zhu Jiner was looking for a hat-trick of wins following her shock second-round defeat, Toshali was looking to recover from the loss in the previous round.

“Perhaps, Zhu underestimated me at some point and did not play accurately,” said Toshali following the analysis of her game and continued, “I did take a bit more time but my calculations proved perfect. I don’t remember beating such a strong player.”

Rithvik Raja made light of a rating difference of 273 points to hold a struggling Tabatabaei in 58 moves following an endgame involving knight and pawns.

Meanwhile on the leading boards, second seed M. Karthikeyan defeated Harshit Raja to share the second spot at four points. Fellow Grandmaster P. Iniyan matched Karthikeyan’s tally by beating lower-rated Mongolian Ganzorig Amartuvshin. However, R. Praggnanandhaa’s ploy of trading his rook for a bishop backfired against new leader Ukraine’s Evgeny Shtembuliak (4.5) and resulted in his first loss.

Praggnanandhaa’s sister R. Vaishali, the strongest Indian in the girls’ section, accounted for Vantika Agarwal. The marathon 98-move battle involving two Nagpur girls’ saw Divya Deshmukh tame Mrudul Dehankar. Earlier, the second board clash involving Arpita Mukherjee and Rakshitta Ravi ended in a draw.

Important fifth-round results (Indians unless stated):

Open: Evgeny Shtembuliak (Ukr, 4.5) bt R. Praggnanandhaa (3.5); Aram Hakobyan (Arm, 4) bt Ruiz Miguel Santos (Esp, 3.5); Raja Harshit (3) lost to M. Karthikeyan (4); Zhangos Agmanov (Kaz, 3) drew with Shant Sargsyan (Arm, 3); Gunzorig Amartuvshin (Mgl, 3) lost to P. Iniyan (4); Leon Mendonca (3.5) drew with Semen Khanin (Rus, 3.5). Ravi Haria (Eng, 3.5) drew with Aaryan Varshney (3.5); Rithvik Raja (3.5) drew with Amin Tabatabaei (Iri, 3).

Girls: Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 4) drew with Boldbaatar Altantuya (Mgl, 4.5); Arpita Mukherjee (4) drew with Rakshitta Ravi (4); Mobina Alinasab (Iri, 4.5) bt N. Priyanka (3.5); R. Vaishali (4) bt Vantika Agarwal (3); Divya Deshmukh (3) v Mrudul Dehankar (3); V. Toshali (3.5) bt Zhu Jiner (Chn, 2.5).