S.P. Sethuraman’s 41-move drubbing of a previously-unbeaten Nigel Short helped India upstage sixth seed England and return to joint lead with USA and Ukraine after eight rounds of Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday.

In the ladies section, D. Harika’s top-board victory was enough to ensure India’s 2.5-1.5 victory over Uzbekistan India now shares the fifth spot with seven others.

England, upbeat after beating third seed and medal-favourite China 3-1 in the previous round, ran into a determined India that proved more than equal to the challenge.

The first three boards produced deadlocks but not before Hari Krishna and Adhiban encountered some anxious moments. Michael Adams was always better off against Hari but eventually his extra pawn was not enough for a decisive verdict in their 58-move clash.

Adhiban forced a 35-move draw following repetition of moves against David Howell. Vidit matched Gawain Jones well and Sethuraman’s crucial win with white pieces took ninth-seed India’s match-points to 14.

Against Short, Sethuraman gained from Short’s troubles even before the players could complete the development of pieces. He gained a queenside-pawn on the 17th move and went to give up a knight on the queenside to launch a decisive attack on the black king on the other side of the board. That left Short facing a checkmating net. He saw no way of escaping Sethuraman’s grip and resigned.

The results (eighth round):

Open: England (12) lost to India (14) 1.5-2.5 (Michael Adams drew with P. Hari Krishna; David Howell drew with B. Adhiban; Gawain Jones drew with Vidit Gujrathi; Nigel Short lost to S. P. Sethuraman); Russia (13) drew with USA (14) 2-2; Georgia (12) lost to Ukraine (14) 1-3; Azerbaijan 1 (13) bt Latvia (12) 2.5-1.5; Italy (12) drew with Iran (12) 2-2; Greece (12) drew with Slovenia (12) 2-2; Norway (13) bt Peru (11) 3-1.

Women: Uzbekistan (10) lost to India (12) 1.5-2.5 (Nafisa Muminova lost to D. Harika; Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova drew with Padmini Rout; Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva drew with Soumya Swaminathan; Nodira Nadirjanova drew with Pratyusha Bodda); Russia (12) lost to USA (14) 1.5-2.5; Poland (13) bt Netherlands (12) 2.5-1.5; Hungary (12) drew with Ukraine (12) 2-2; China (14) bt Azerbaijan 1 (12) 3.5-0,5; Turkmenistan (11) lost to Israel (13) 1.5-2.5.