Mamallapuram, Aug 5: The India ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams registered comprehensive seventh round victories in the Open section of the 44th Chess Olympiad here on Friday.
In the women’s section, India ‘A’ won by 2.5-1.5 margin against sixth-seeded Azerbaijan, despite Koneru Humpy losing on the top board, to remain in first place.
In the open event, Grandmasters Arjun Erigaisi and SL Narayanan secured wins over Abhijeet Gupta and Abhimanyu Puranik as India ‘A’, the second seeds, outclassed India ‘C’ 3-1.
Teenage GM D Gukesh continued his dream run, notching up a seventh straight win in the event, beating Cuban GM Carlos Albornoz Cabrera to help India ‘B’ record a crushing 3.5-0.5 win.
It is the sixth win from seven rounds for the team, which also includes GMs R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin and B Adhiban.
In another setback for the star-studded USA Team, Armenia held them to a 2-2 draw and continued at the top of the points tally with 13 points. India A and India B, USA, Uzbekistan are trailing with 12 points each.
The Magnus Carlsen-led Norway, seeded three, posted a narrow 2.5-1.5 win over North Macedonia, in what has been a tough tournament for them.
In the women’s section, leaders India ‘A’, the top-seeds, saw their best player Koneru Humpy go down to Gunay Mammadzada of Azerbaijan, while D Harika drew with Khanim Balajyeva before Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali defeated Ulviyya Fataliyeva and Govhar Beydullayeva to set up a 2.5-1.5 win.
The come-from-behind victory ensured that India ‘A’ extended their winning streak to seven with four more rounds still to be played.
“Until the 40th turn, my game was dead equal and I considered settling for a draw. After Humpy’s loss, I had to keep pressing and interestingly, this was one position which we had worked in the camp with Boris Gelfand and I followed his suggestions to the ‘T,” Vaishali said after the match.
A hallmark of the women’s A team has been the ability of every player to score a win when the team needed it the most.
“The way Harika, Vaishali and Tania continued in this pressure situation is very heartening. The players understood the situation perfectly and delivered,” India A captain Abhijit Kunte said.
India ‘B’ lost 1.5-2.5 to Greece as Vantika Agrawal and Soumya Swaminathan suffered defeats even as the host’s ‘C’ team beat Switzerland 3-1 riding on wins from Easha Karavade and PV Nandhidhaa.
Results – India’s matches: Open: India A beat India C 3-1 (P Harikrishna drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi drew with SP Sethuraman, Arjun Erigaisi beat Abhijeet Gupta, SL Narayanan beat Abhimanyu Puranik).
India B beat Cuba 3.5-0.5 (D Gukesh beat Albornoz Cabrera, Nihal Sarin beat Quesada Perez, R Praggnanandhaa beat Quesada Perez, B Adhiban drew with Almeida Quintana).
Women: India A beat Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5 (Koneru Humpy lost to Gunay Mammadzada, D Harika drew with Khanim Balajayeva. R Vaishali beat Govhar Beydullayeva, Tania Sachdev beat Ulviyya Fataliyeva).
India B lost to Greece 1.5-2.5 (Vantika Agrawal lost to Stavroula Tsolakidou, Soumya Swaminathan lost to Anastasia Avramidou, Mary Ann Gomes drew with Ekaterini Pavlidou, Divya Deshmukh beat Haritomeni Markantonaki).
India C beat Switzerland 3-1 (Easha Karavade beat Lena Georgescu, PV Nandhidhaa beat Ghazal Hakimifard, Pratyusha Bodda drew with Gundula Heinatz, Vishwa Vasnawala drew with Laura Stoeri).