Chess Olympiad Open Section round 1: Indian teams cruise to 4-0 wins; David Silva holds Aronian

Angola’s David Silva’s draw with World No. 5 Levon Aronian was the highlight of the Chess Olympiad’s opening day.

India team players at the 44th Chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram.

India team players at the 44th Chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram. | Photo Credit: Ravindran_R

Angola’s David Silva’s draw with World No. 5 Levon Aronian was the highlight of the Chess Olympiad’s opening day.

In the opening round of any Swiss league event - where the top half of the seeds play the lower half - mismatches are a norm. As a result, one-sided encounters remain the order of the day. Amid these emerges a player or two who returns from an elite competition like the Chess Olympiad, with a very special reason to recall and rejoice.

Angola’s No. 1 David Silva surely collected the biggest takeaway from his maiden visit to India when he held World No. 5 Levon Aronian to a draw, that too, in a superior position, before top seed USA coasted to a 3.5-0.5 victory.

For Silva, an International Master rated at a modest 2315, this draw was bigger than any victory in his career. After all, he proved equal to a two-time World Cup winner, rated 2775, by making light of a whopping rating difference of 460 points!

After spoiling Aronian’s Olympiad debut for the USA, Silva said, “A very difficult game against a top-10 player in the world. I was scared. I was trying to do something as I had nothing to lose. From this game, I learnt so many things which I am going to use in the coming games.”

In fact, Silva could have pressed for a win after Aronian traded a rook for a bishop on the 18th move but gained nothing in the bargain. Eventually, with the USA leading 2-0 in a match where it rested spearhead Fabiano Caruana, Silva was a happy man to gain a draw in 41 moves.

For the host, as expected, 4-0 victories followed for all three teams facing very low-rated rivals. Only Nihal Sarin for India 2 and S. P. Sethuraman for India 3 took longer than expected to win.

The results:
First round: India 1 bt Zimbabwe 4-0 (Vidit Gujrathi bt Rodwel Makoto; Arjun Erigaisi bt Spencer Masango; S. L. Narayanan bt Emarald Takudzwa Mushore; K. Sasikiran bt Jemusse Zhemba).
UAE lost to India 2 0-4 (Omran Al Hosani lost to D. Gukesh; Ibrahim Sultan lost to Nihal Sarin; Saeed Laily Mohamed lost to B. Adhiban; Al Taher Abdulrahman Mohammad lost to Raunak Sadhwani).
India 3 bt South Sudan 4-0 (S. P. Sethuraman bt Deng Cypriano Rehan; Abhijeet Gupta lost to Mach Duany Ajak; M. Karthikeyan bt Gong Thon Gong; Abhimanyu Puranik bt Majur Manyang Peter).
Angola lost to USA 0.5-3.5; Lebanon lost to Norway 0.5-3.5; Spain bt Wales 4-0; Syria lost to Poland 0-4; Azerbaijan bt Algeria 4-0; Jordan lost to Netherlands 0-4; Ukraine bt Thailand 4-0; Sudan lost to Germany 0-4; England bt Cyprus 4-0.
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