Uzbekistan crushes Armenia for lead in Open category; India 1, three others ahead in women’s section

Uzbekistan crushes Armenia for lead in Open category; India 1, three others ahead in women’s section

In Swiss league format, like the one used in the Chess Olympiad here, it is universally accepted that the performances of the last three rounds hugely influence a team’s eventual standing.

On that count, the Indian medal prospects suffered a setback in both sections in the ninth round but the possibility of a historic twin podium-finish remained.

Bright side

On the brighter side, four Indian teams emerged victorious on Sunday.

Before a crowded house, R. Praggnanandhaa saved the day for the much-followed India 2 against Azerbaijan by clinching a must-win game after Raunak Sadhwani’s loss saw the host trail by a point. After D. Gukesh’s eight-game winning sequence ended with a draw and Nihal Sarin signed peace, Praggnanandhaa showed his endgame prowess to make it 2-2.

Uzbekistan (16 match-points), which held top seed USA last week, ended overnight leader Armenia’s undefeated run with a 3-1 score, with victories on the two lower boards to emerge as the front-runner, with two rounds to go. India 2 and Armenia share the second spot with 15 points.

If Praggnanandhaa pulled off a win to save India, his sister R. Vaishali required a draw to salvage a point for India 1. But that was not to be.

As India 1 faced a formidable Poland, Vaishali became Oliwia Kiobasa’s ninth successive victim in the competition. The lone decisive battle proved crucial since K. Humpy, D. Harika and Tania Sachdev were involved in drawn games.

Defeat for India 1 and the drawn encounter between Ukraine and Georgia, seeded two and three, saw Kazakhstan quietly join the leaders at 15 points after drubbing Bulgaria 3-1.

The results (Ninth round, with match-points):

Open: India 2 (15) drew with Azerbaijan (14) 2-2 (D. Gukesh drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov; Nihal Sarin drew with Rauf Mamedov; R. Praggnanandhaa bt Vasif Durarbayli; Raunak Sadhwani lost to Nijat Abasov).

India 1 (14) bt Brazil (12) 3-1 (P. Harikrishna drew with Luis Supi; Vidit Gujrathi drew with Alexandr Fier; Arjun Erigaisi bt Krikov Sevag Mekhitarian; K. Sasikiran bt Andre Diamant).

Paraguay (10) lost to India 3 (12) 1-3 (Axel Bachman bt Surya Shekhar Ganguly; Neuris Delgado Ramirez lost to S.P. Sethuraman; Jose Fernando Cubas lost to M. Karthikeyan; Ruben Zacarias lost to Abhimanyu Puranik).

Uzbekistan (16) bt Armenia (15) 3-1; Netherlands (14) drew with Iran (14) 2-2; Greece (12) lost to USA (14) 1.5-2.5; Lithuania (13) drew with Germany (13) 2-2; Turkey (14) bt Peru (12) 2.5-1.5; Kazakhstan (12) lost to Serbia (14) 1-3; Denmark (11) lost to Spain (13) 1-3; Australia (11) lost to Ukraine (13) 1.5-2.5.

Women: Poland (15) bt India 1 (15) 2.5-1.5 (Alina Kashlinskaya drew with K. Humpy; Monica Socko drew with D. Harika; Oliwia Kiolbasa bt R. Vaishali; Maria Malicka drew with Tania Sachdev).

India 2 (13) bt Switzerland (11) 4-0 (Vantika Agarwal bt Lena Goergescu; Padmini Rout bt Ghazal Hakimifard; Mary Ann Gomes bt Gundula Heinatz; Divya Deshmukh bt Camille de Seroux).

Estonia (11) lost to India 3 (13) 1-3 (Mai Narva drew with Eesha Karavade; Margareth Olde lost to P.V. Nandhidhaa; Anastassia Sinitsina lost to Varshini Sahithi; Sofia Blokhin drew with Vishwa Vasnawala).

Ukraine (14) drew with Georgia (15) 2-2; Bulgaria (13) lost to Kazakhstan (16) 1-3; Azerbaijan (14) bt Mongolia (13) 2.5-1.5; Germany (14) bt England (12) 3.5-0.5; Armenia (14) bt Romania (12) 3-1; Indonesia (14) bt Spain (12) 2.5-1.5; Sweden (13) drew with Netherlands (13) 2-2; Slovakia (13) bt France (11) 2.5-1.5; Greece (11) lost to USA (13) 0.5-3.5.



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