Chess Olympiad Women’s Round 1: Tania clinches win in 103 moves; Indian teams blank rivals

Tania capitalized on a blunder on the 83rd move and needed 103 moves to finally defeat her lowly-rated rival Rukhshona Saidova.

 Indian Chess player Tania Sachdev on day one of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad held at Mamallapuram near Chennai on Friday. 

 Indian Chess player Tania Sachdev on day one of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad held at Mamallapuram near Chennai on Friday.  | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

Tania capitalized on a blunder on the 83rd move and needed 103 moves to finally defeat her lowly-rated rival Rukhshona Saidova.

It was a walk in the park for most teams but for Tania Sachdev, it was a different story.

Long after her teammates K. Humpy, R. Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni cruised to expected victories against opponents from Tajikistan, Tania was still busy trying to find a breakthrough against her lowly-rated rival Rukhshona Saidova. Finally, she managed to capitalize on a blunder on the 83rd move and closed out the game in 103 moves.

It was indeed a great show of resilience from Rukhshona, rated 1624, against Tania’s 2399. All other Indians, across three teams, won with varying degrees of ease.

Vaishali, making her debut, won the first to win in just 39 moves before Humpy and Bhakti took 41 and 50 moves respectively.

India 2, facing Wales, had an easier time. Though spearhead Vantika took 56 moves to seal the match 4-0, Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan and debutant Divya Deshmukh had ensured the team a winning start.

Mary, the most experienced player in the line-up, needed just 29 moves., five less than Divya. Soumya cruised home after 37 turns.

Similarly, India 3 made it past Hong Kong without ado. Like Vantika on the top board for India 2, Eesha Karavade worked hard for a win in 49 moves. P. V. Nandhidhaa needed just 29 moves, Varshini Sahithi 37 and Pratyusha Bodda 32.

As widely anticipated, from the top 18 seeds, 17 swept past their rivals without dropping even half a point.

The results:
First round
Tajikistan lost to India 1 0-4 (Nadezhda Antonova lost to K. Humpy; Sabrina Abrorova lost to R. Vaishali; Rukhshona Saidova lost to Tania Sachdev; Mutriba Hotami lost to Bhakti Kulkarni).
Wales lost to India 2 0-4 (Olivia Smith lost to Vantika Agarwal; Kimberly Chong lost to Soumya Swaminathan; Hiya Ray lost to Mary Ann Gomes; Khushi Bagga lost to Divya Deshmukh).
India 3 bt Hong Kong 4-0 (Eesha Karavade bt Sigappi Kannappan; P. V. Nandhidhaa bt Deng Jing Xing Crystal; Varshini Sahithi bt Li Joy Ching; Pratyusha Bodda bt Lam Ka Yan).
Ukraine bt South Africa 4-0; Iraq lost to Georgia 0-4; Poland bt Syria 4-0; Monaco lost to France 0-4; Azerbaijan bt UAE 4-0; Puerto Rico lost to USA 0-4; Germany bt Zambia 4-0; Botswana lost to Armenia 0-4; Kazakhstan bt Guatemala 4-0.
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