WIM Maria Gevorgyan takes solo lead. (Supplied photo)Hovhannes Gabuzyan and Maria Gevorgyan of Armenia took over as the sole leaders as the Fisu World University Chess Championship entered the halfway stage, at the Khalidiya Palace Raihaan by Rotana in Abu Dhabi, Monday night.
GM Gabuzyan beat Russian GM Pavel Ponkratov and IM Daniel Sadzikowski of Poland to grab solo lead at the halfway mark of the

The 21-year-old Armenian has a perfect 5-point slate in the 9-round Swiss System tournament. Top seed GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia is close behind with 4.5 points after beating IM Tigran S. Petrosyan of Armenia and erstwhile leader GM Pavel Ponkratov of Russia. Trailing in third slot with 4 points each are untitled Piotr Brodowski of Poland and GMs Samvel Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia and Pouya Idani of Iran.

Sadzikowski fell to a share of 6th slot with 3.5 points together with IM Stefan Mazur of Slovakia, IM Nikita Matinian of Russia, GM Martin Petr of Czech Republic and IM Marko Nenezic of Serbia.

WIM Maria, 22, the 2016 Armenian champ, downed top seed Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran in Monday’s morning round and followed up with another win in the afternoon against erstwhile solo leader WIM Ghazal Hamikifard, also of Iran.

Hakimifard and WGM Ni Shiqun of China share second slot with 4 points each followed by Pourkashiyan, WGM Mitra Hejazipour of Iran and WIM Alina Bivol of Russia with 3.5 points each.

The Fisu World University Chess Championship is being played in two competitions with 48 men from 17 countries and 34 women from 15 countries. The strong field includes six Grandmasters, 15 International Masters and 9 Fide Masters, 5 WGMs and 10 WIMs and 10 WFMs. Results of the three best scores per country will be combined for team awards. Only countries with three competitors or more, of whom there has to be at least one man and a woman, will be taken into account for the overall team classification.

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