Indian men will take on their Dutch counterparts in the sixth round of the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Thursday.

When the action resumes after a day of rest, the fifth seeded Indian women will be up against Latvia, seeded a distant 29th. So far, in the five rounds so far, ninth seed India has managed to catch the attention of the chess elite with some impressive victories, particularly the one against higher-ranked host Azerbaijan 1 in the fifth round.

Though the action is yet to reach the halfway stage in the 11-round team event and fortunes change dramatically in the Swiss League format, India is looking good for the tougher battles ahead.

Debutant Vidit Gujarati has been the pick of the Indians so far, winning all his five games. His performance level stands at a jaw-dropping 3325 – way above his current rating of 2669.

Unlike the undefeated men’s combination of P. Harikrishna, B. Adhiban, Vidit, S. P. Sethuraman and M. Karthikeyan, the women have played below their pre-event expectations.

In fact, spearhead D. Harika, second-best Padmini Rout and the seasoned Tania Sachdev have already lost a game each.

In the given scenario, Harika, Padmini and Tania cannot afford to take a ‘drop’ from any of the remaining matches if India hopes to be in serious medal contention.

Leading sixth round pairings:

Open: India (10)-Netherlands (10); USA (9)-Ukraine (10); Czech Republic (9)-Georgia (9); Greece (8)-Azerbaijan 1 (8); Canada (8)-Belarus (8).

Women: Ukraine (10)-Russia (10); Romania (9)-China (9); Kazakhstan (8)-Hungary (8); Georgia (8)-Azerbaijan 1 (9); Poland (8)-Vietnam (8); India (8)-Latvia (8).