Chess Olympiad: Indian men, women’s teams in medal contention – News

Five teams led by Uzbekistan and Armenia in contention for top honours

Two-time Indian women’s chess champion and Arjuna Award winner Tania Sachdev. — FIDE

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 11:25 PM

The stage is set for what promises to be an enthralling final day’s play at the 44th Chess Olympiad with five teams led by Uzbekistan and Armenia in contention for top honours.

Uzbekistan, a team comprising some of the youngest and brightest chess brains in the world, are tied with former three-time champions Armenia with 17 points, while India A, India B and favorites USA lie just one point adrift.

The concluding day’s action takes place at the giant Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort and Convention Center and will feature some titanic battles between the young Uzbeks and the Netherlands, while Armenia faces the Spanish, both of whom are among a group of five countries with 15 points.

Hosts India A face a monumental clash with the USA, while India B meets Germany, who trail by a solitary point.

The Olympiad, which follows the 11-round Swiss format with two nations’ teams of four players and one reserve each competing against each other, has attracted over 2000 players from more than 200 countries will be participating.

In Monday’s gripping action leaders Uzbekistan escaped from the jaws of defeat against India B following an unlikely error from player-of-the-tournament D Gukesh, who suffered his first defeat in the tournament against Nodirbek Abdusattorov, the reigning world rapid chess champion.

Compelling wins by GM Gabriel Sargissian and Hoyjamisyan backed by two draws from Melkumyan and Petrosyan ensured Armenia scored a comfortable victory over Azerbaijan.

“All of us are actually very good friends; maybe this is our advantage,” Sargissian told FIDE_chess, the official Twitter handle of the International Chess Federation.

Second-seeded India ‘A’ team overcame a loss by P Harikrishna on the top board to Parham Maghsoodloo to beat Iran 2.5-1.5 and improve their chances of a podium finish on Tuesday.

India ‘C’ team, the 16th seeds, were held to a shock 2-2 draw by 34th ranked Slovakia.

Meanwhile, the top-seeded India ‘A’ women’s team outplayed Kazakhstan 3.5-0.5 for a crucial win in the 10th and penultimate round.

India’s star payer Koneru Humpy bounced back to defeat Zhansaya Abdumalik, while two-time Indian women’s chess champion and Arjuna Award winner Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni, a former Asian Junior Chess Champion won their matches.

“It’s a bit surreal what is happening! I never expected to have 9 out of 9” – WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa, from Poland, who has delivered some amazing performances all through the tournament. Poland is one of four teams together with Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Georgia in pursuit of a medal.

Azerbaijan defeated Armenia 4-0 to move to just one point behind India A entering the final round. Azerbaijan will face third seed Georgia in their final game.

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