Chess Olympiad: Indian women hold Georgia

In the men's group, India's P. Harikrishna and K. Sasikiran won their respective matches to help India beat Egypt.

Indian women's chess team members for the Chess Olympiad - Padmini Rout, Koneru Humpy, GM Jacob, Tania Sachdev, Eesha Karvade and Dronavalli Harika.   -  V.V. Subramanyam

India's P. Harikrishna and K. Sasikiran played their parts to perfection as India took its time to get the better of 40th seed Egypt 2.5-1.5 in the seventh round of the Chess Olympiad here on Monday.

This victory, coupled with a several draws on the leading tables, took the fifth seeded Indians to the joint fifth place. Four rounds remain.

The Indian women, seeded five, with host and fourth seed Georgia after playing out draws on all four boards. Only Dronavalli Harika raised visions of a possible win on Board Two but missed the precise continuation after holding a one-pawn advantage.

For the fourth successive round, Poland punched above its weight to hold fourth seed and joint-overnight leader Azerbaijan 2-2 on the top table. Favourite USA also joined the lead, at 13 match-points, after beating Croatia. Meanwhile, off-form second seed Russia was held 2-2 by Serbia, seeded 45.

In the open section, after Viswanathan Anand drew with Amin Baseem on the top board, Hari completed a dominating victory over former World junior champion Ahmed Adly in 42 moves.

Like Hari, Sasikiran, too, came out stronger with black pieces against Abdelrahman Hesham in a slow-paced battle lasting 55 moves. It was a masterly display by the Indian who seized his opportunity to score a very significant win in the context of the medal-race. Importantly, Sasikiran’s triumph made the decisive difference between the teams.

However, the defeat of Vidit Gujarati, that too with white pieces, was a setback to the Indian plans moving forward. The youngster looked better in the early part of the game against Adham Fawzy but faltered on the 36th move when he chose to capture a kingside pawn with his knight. Thereafter, the only chance Vidit had to escape defeat was by capturing a queenside pawn on the 46th move but he missed it.

Thereafter, Fawzy gave no respite to Vidit and eventually won in 56 moves.

Seventh-round results:

Open: India (11) beat Egypt (10) 2.5-1.5 (Viswanathan Anand drew with Baseem Amin; P. Hari Krishna bt Ahmed Adly; Vidit Gujarati lost to Adham Fawzy; K. Sasikiran bt Abdelrahman Hesham); Poland (13) drew with Azerbaijan (13) 2-2; Croatia (10) lost to USA (13) 1-3; Ukraine (11) drew with China (11) 2-2; Germany (11) drew with Netherlands (11) 2-2; Czech Republic (11) drew with Israel (11) 2-2; Belarus (10) lost to Armenia (12) 1.5-2.5.

Women: India (11) drew with Georgia 1 (12) 2-2 (K. Humpy drew with Nana Dzagnidze; D. Harika drew with Lela Javakhishvili; Tania Sachdev drew with Nino Batsiashvili; Padmini Rout drew with Bela Khotenashvili); Armenia (13) bt USA (11) 2.5-1.5; China (12) bt Netherlands (10) 3-1; Iran (10) lost to Ukraine (12) 1.5-2.5; Italy (11) drew with Azerbaijan (11) 2-2; Romania (12) bt Uzbekistan (10) 2.5-1.5.

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