When a pre-match favourite’s sense of danger lets it down, like for Magnus Carlsen-led Norway or women from USA and Armenia in the Chess Olympiad here on Sunday, it brings ‘underdogs’ to the fore. Fortunately, for the six Indian teams, the clarity of purpose stood out and kept them on the winning course in the third round here.
After Italy stunned third seed Norway 3-1 with Lorenzo Lodici and Francesco Sonis upstaging Jon Ludvig Hammer and Johan Sebastian Christiansen on the lower boards and Daniel Vocaturu gallantly holding Carlsen, the Indians completed a hat-trick of victories in the Open section.
P. Harikrishna and Arjun Erigaisi scored contrasting victories against Greece, R. Praggnanandhaa salvaged a very dangerous-looking position and eventually won on time against Switzerland’s Yannick Pelletier to complete the third straight 4-0 sweep for India 2. India 3 joined the act when S. P. Sethuraman and Abhijeet Gupta emerged victorious in its 3-1 triumph over Iceland.
Among the women, where Mongolia shocked seventh seed USA 3-1 after winning on the two lower boards and Estonia stumped ninth seed Armenia 2.5-1.5 with Mai Narva upstaging Elina Daneilian on the top board, India teams suffered a loss of a game while extending its winning run.
After mother-to-be D. Harika came in for K. Humpy and drew with England’s Jovanka Houska, Bhakti Kulkarni and R. Vaishali brought joy with fine victories.
Vantika Agrawal again guided India 2 in stopping Indonesia 3-1. Soumya Swaminathan, won to look the margin look commanding.
For India 3, against Austria, P. V. Nandhidhaa’s victory stood nullified when Varshini Sahithi lost a game she looked like winning. Thereafter, Pratyusha Bodda’s win made the difference.