Welcome to the live coverage of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai. Follow boards, streams and major updates from the marquee event in Mamallapuram.
Results coming in from Mamallapuram:
8:46pm: India 1, the top seed in the women’s section, suffered a setback, going 1.5-2.5 to Poland. It was the defeat of R. Vaishali that proved decisive in the match; she lost to Oliwia Kiolbasa. The others, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika and Tania Sachdev all drew their games. India 2 scored a thumping win over Switzerland though. Vantika Agrawal, Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh won their games, all against lesser-rated rivals. India 3 also won. It defeated Estonia 3-1, riding on victories on the second and third boards from P.V. Nandhidhaa and M. Sahithi Varshini. Eesha Karavade and Vishwa Vasnawala drew their games.
8:54pm: In the open section, India 2 drew with Azerbaijan, as the amazing winning streak of D. Gukesh finally came to an end; he had to settle for a draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. R. Praggnanandhaa won his game, but that was cancelled out by the loss of Raunak Sadhwani. Nihal Sarin drew. India 1 defeated Brazil 3-1, with Arjun Erigaisi and K. Sasikiran posting wins. Pendyala Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi drew their games.
EN PASSANT - VISWANATHAN ANAND COLUMN
I'm still ecstatic that India 2 has beaten the USA 3-1. Raunak Sandhwani won an incredible game and I hope it doesn’t get lost in the justified praise of Gukesh’s win. Gukesh beat Fabiano Caruana and it's hard to explain what a huge upset that was.
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DAY 8 RECAP: Gukesh’s spotless record endures, India 2 stuns USA
If ever, any proof was needed of India’s growing chess prowess, four fearless teenagers presented it to the world in a telling manner on Saturday. Silently, they made a huge statement by bringing down the mighty USA. In doing so, they provided the biggest talking-point of the 44th Chess Olympiad here.
In a display of immense self-belief in the face of heavy odds, D. Gukesh, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa and Raunak Sadhwani joined hands to script a sensational 3-1 victory over Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez Perez - ranked between 5 and 12 in live ratings. Never before has the chess world seen a bigger upset in over 90 years of this prestigious team competition.
Before a late-blunder from P. Harikrishna in a 102-move marathon proved decisive as Armenia retained its one-point lead at 15 points and Indian 1 battled to a 2-2 draw against second seed Ukraine to stay ahead in the women’s section, Gukesh and Raunak scripted a stunning victory for India 2, seeded 11.
It all started with R. Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin, rated 105 points and 110 points behind their illustrious rivals in live ratings, pressed hard for victories against Wesley So and Levon Aronian but eventually settled for draws.
Gukesh, now ranked 20th and rated 25 points behind Caruana in live ratings, was struggling in the opening phase but saw it as an opportunity to test his skill-sets with black pieces against a high quality player. Gukesh saw his chance following Caruana’s knight-move on the 31st turn. Over the next 15 moves, Gukesh kept finding the precise continuation and delivered the knockout punch by offering his queen. Caruana saw the impending checkmate and resigned to give Gukesh his 8th straight win that made him the second Indian, Viswanathan Anand being the first, in world rankings.
Raunak, rated 146 points behind Leinier Dominguez Perez, was no less classy with white pieces. Raunak’s knight-offer on the 21st move was an absolute beauty. But Dominguez, under time-pressure, committed the decisive blunder on the 40th move and resigned five moves. That completed India's greatest team victory.
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.
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.