R Praggnanandhaa missed a golden opportunity to jump into joint leader in the penultimate round of the World Junior (u-20) championship after he settled for a draw from a winning position in Travisio, Italy, on Friday.
The 12-year-old looked set for a full point with almost every chess engine predicting a win for white against Semen Lomasov of Russia. But Praggnanandhaa was under a bit of time pressure and could not really figure out the release from jail move from his opponent and settled for a draw by repetition after 60 moves.
Had the Indian managed to gain full point, the World junior title battle would have ended up becoming a two horse race as overnight joint leader Aryan Tari was held to a quick 30 move draw by Chinese International Master Xu Xiangyu.
The other joint leader and defending champion Kirill Alekseenko had a forgettable outing as he lost to India’s Aravindh Chithambaram in 79 moves.
The victory helped Chithambaram jump to joint second spot with Praggnanandhaa and four others, half a point behind sole leader Tari.
In the final round, Tari will take on top seed Jorden van Foreest, Praggnanandhaa faces German Grandmaster Rasmus Svane while Chithambaram meets Xu.