Chess Olympiad Day 8 Highlights: Gukesh makes it 8 wins in 8 games, Hong Kong player sits in protest outside hall

Follow live updates, commentary and news from day 8 of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Mahabalipuram.

India will face its stiffest challenge going up against Armenia and USA across teams on Saturday.

India will face its stiffest challenge going up against Armenia and USA across teams on Saturday. | Photo Credit: FIDE

Follow live updates, commentary and news from day 8 of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Mahabalipuram.

Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest results of the day from our correspondent P.K. Ajith Kumar

7pm: The dream continues for D. Gukesh. He posted his eighth win on the trot, his latest victim being World No. 5 Fabiano Caruana. The shock win helped India 2 take a 2-1 lead against the top-seed United States. Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa also did well to take half-a-point each off their much-higher rated rivals, Levon Aronian and Wesley So.

7:04pm: In the match between India 1 and Armenia, Arjun Erigaisi drew with Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. India 3 is trailing 0.5-1.5 to Peru, though.

7:13pm: In the women’s event, After three games it was 1.5-1.5 between top seed India 1 and Ukraine. Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika and Tania Sachdev drew with Mariya Muzychuk, Anna Muzychuk and Nataliya Buksa respectively. In another women’s match, Poland is leading 2-1 against India 3.

You can track the India men’s boards here:

Track the India Women’s boards here:

DAY 7 RECAP: TOP RESULTS

A day of sensational drama produced some thrilling action, with some late strikes changing the projected results on its head.

For instance, India 1 needed late strikes from Tania Sachdev and R. Vaishali to more than nullify the defeat of K. Humpy in a thrilling match against sixth seed Azerbaijan.

In the Open section, after the USA twice took the lead against Armenia through Wesley So and Dominguez Perez while Gabriel Sargissian made it 1-1 by upstaging Fabiano Caruana, all eyes were on the fourth board.

USA was staring at the prospect of dropping its second draw of the week, when Sam Shankland seemingly recovered enough against Robert Hoyhannisyan to take the team closer to a match-winning draw. But that was not to be.

Amid mounting tension, Shankland moved his king assuming a check that wasn’t. The American realised his mistake and kept his king on the square from where he had picked it. He wanted to block the ensuing threat with his queen but he had no choice. Since he had touched his king intentionally, he could not play the queen. A shaken Shankland saw only one square for the king, leading to a loss, and extended his hand in resignation.

The match ended 2-2 and Armenia stayed in the lead at 13 points, one ahead of USA and India among others.

On Saturday, India 1 faces Armenia and India 2 takes on USA. Among the women, India 1 faces Ukraine in the key battle of the top-two seeds.

In what was the first-ever clash involving Indians teams in an Olympiad, Arjun Erigaisi and S. L. Narayanan struck on the lower boards for India 1 to push India 3 down the slope. While a seventh win for D. Gukesh was the highpoint of an expected victory for India 2 against Cuba, the all-India clash produced some intense action.

After P. Harikrishna once again showed how well prepared in the opening phase against Surya Shekhar Ganguly in their drawn game, Narayanan scored over Abhimanyu Puranik on Board 4. The Kerala-player played to his rating superiority against his younger rival.

Vidit Gujrathi was again involved in a draw, but Arjun Erigaisi continued the sequence of winning every odd-numbered round, on this day against Abhijeet Gupta.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CHESS OLYMPIAD

The  Chess Olympiad is being held in India for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1927 with the honour coming to Chennai, considered the chess capital of the country. This is also the first time in 30 years that the Olympiad is coming to Asia.

If you’ve missed the Olympiad hype train, we have you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the biggest event in the game in brief:

  • ⦿ The event will see the highest number of countries participating in an Olympiad
  • ⦿ Nearly 350 teams in the Open and women’s sections from 187 countries will be in fray. Of these, 188 teams are in the Open section and 162 in the women’s.
  • ⦿ Previously, the Batumi Olympiad in 2018 had set the record with 184 and 150 teams in the Open and women’s sections, respectively, from 179 countries. 
  • ⦿ India’s 30-member squad will be their biggest squad ever. 
  • ⦿ Given Russia and China’s non-participation, India Team A is seeded second while the USA tops the ranking list.
WHERE TO WATCH THE 44TH FIDE CHESS OLYMPIAD

Live streaming of the Chess Olympiad will be available on the official YouTube channel of FIDE Chess Olympiad. The event will be telecast live on the Doordarshan TV channel in India. You can follow the boards and all the analysis from matches on each day on Sportstar too.

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