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Chess Olympiad: Indian men, women start on winning note

The women team blanked New Zealand 4-0 with only Tania Sachdev facing some real troubles while the trio of Koneru Humpy, Eesha Karavade and Padmini Rout recorded easy victories.

other sports Updated: Sep 25, 2018 15:40 IST
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PTI
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File image of Tania Sachdev.(India Today Group/Getty Images)

The Indian men and women’s teams made winning starts to their campaign in the 43rd Chess Olympiad here Tuesday.

The women team blanked New Zealand 4-0 with only Tania Sachdev facing some real troubles while the trio of Koneru Humpy, Eesha Karavade and Padmini Rout recorded easy victories.

On a day when Viswanathan Anand was rested, Krishnan Sasikiran dropped a half point on the fourth board but that was only after P Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi and B Adhiban had secured victories on the top three boards to ensure a win for the team.

The Indian teams got two match points following the victory as the day produced some individual upsets but the higher ranked teams prevailed. Not a single match was drawn and this could be a record of sorts too. In the open section as many as 64 teams out of 184 scored a perfect 4-0 start and another 17 won conceding just a half point.

Amongst the favourites, United States and Russia romped home with 4-0 wins but third seeded China could only manage a 3-1 score with Li Chao losing to Aithmidou Mohamed-Mehdi of Morocco.

Fourth seed Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Armenia were the other fancied teams that dropped a half point apart from India. In the women’s section, the story was no different. With 151 participating countries here, 55 won with a perfect score but the biggest individual upsets came for the strongest teams as top seed Russia and third seed China dropped a half point each against Costa Rica and Tajikistan respectively.

For the Indian men, Harikrishna routed Ernesto Giron in quick time and Adhiban had little troubles to win as white against Daniel Arias. Gujrathi showcased his skills at the expense of Ricardo Ernesto Chavez but Sasikiran faced some troubles and had to split the point with Carlos Burgos Figueroa.

Sasikiran with black faced initial difficulties despite a huge rating difference and sacrificed a pawn to reach what looked like a promising endgame optically. With some precise defense from his opponent, the Indian decided to take the draw as the team had won anyway.

Koneru Humpy played her first competitive game in two years and it did not look like she had been away for a long time. With some clinical precision, the Indian GM nailed Helen Milligan with black pieces. Jasmir Haomo Zhang proved no match for Karavade despite showing some early promise while Qin Nicole Shu Yu lost to Padmini Rout in another one sided duel on the fourth board.

Tania Sachdev came back from the jaws of defeat and even scored a win after Vyanla Punsalan went haywire by first missing out on a chance to create a big upset and then blundering away what was an easy half point in the rook and pawns endgame. The second round will see Indian men up against Austria that also has Grandmaster opposition on all boards while the eves will take on Venezuela in what looks like another white wash.

The Indian results (first round): Open: India beat El Salvador 3.5-0.5 (P. Hari Krishna beat Jorge Ernesto Giron; Ricardo Ernesto Chavez lost to Vidit Gujarati; B. Adhiban beat Daniel Arias; Carlos Burgos Figueroa drew with K. Sasikiran).

Women: India beat New Zealand 4-0 (Helen Milligan lost to Koneru Humpy; Tania Sachdev beat Vyanla Punsalan Tania Sachdev; Jasmir Haomo Zhang lost to Eesha Karavade; Padmini Rout beat Qin Nicole Shu Yu).

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 15:40 IST