Indian men lose to USA, women recover to beat Poland

Viswanathan Anand lost to world number two Fabiano Caruana as Indian men went down 1.5-2.5 at the hands of the defending champions, while the Indian women came back strongly to beat Poland 3-1 aided by victories from D Harika and Tania Sachdev on board two and three.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in action at the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Geogia.   -  PTI

Indian spearhead Viswanathan Anand failed to contain World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana in their much-awaited clash as top seed USA squeezed out a 2.5-1.5 victory in the fourth round of the Chess Olympiad here on Thursday.

In this Catalan game, Anand (rated 2771) misread the position from the black side when he took a kingside pawn on the 20th move.

Caruana (2827), who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world title next month, seized the opportunity and six moves later, Anand saw no defence to prevent the impending attack on his castled king. Though Anand had an extra pawn, he sensed the inevitable and resigned.

Two years ago, USA scored a far more dominating 3.5-0.5 victory over an in-form India.

Thursday’s defeat for the fifth seeded Indians came despite some resolute resistance on the other three boards. In a match where USA enjoyed rating superiority on every board, P. Hari Krishna (2743) drew with Wesley So (2776) in 32 moves, Vidit Gujarati (2711) played with black pieces and held Hikaru Nakamura (2763) in 35 moves after the experienced K. Sasikiran (2672) held Samuel Shankland (2722) in just 21 moves.

Later, some cheer to the Indian camp was provided by the fifth seeded women quartet following a much-needed 3-1 triumph over seventh seeded Poland.

Tania Sachdev and D. Harika scored contrasting victories. Tania was in control against Klaudia Kulon but Harika, playing black, had to overcome some anxious moments in the middle-game before taming Jolanta Zawadzka.

In between, an otherwise impressive K. Humpy let Monika Socko off the hook for a draw while Eesha Karavade improved her position to easily salvage half a point.


The results (fourth round)

Open: USA (8) beat India (6) 2.5-1.5 (Fabiano Caruana bt Viswanathan Anand; Wesley So drew with P. Hari Krishna; Hikaru Nakamura drew with Vidit Gujarati; Samuel Shankland drew with K. Sasikiran).

Women: India (7) beat Poland (5) 3-1 (K. Humpy drew with Monika Socko; D. Harika bt Jolanta Zawadzka; Tania Sachdev bt Klaudia Kulon; Eesha Karavade drew with Anna Warakomska).


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