Vidit Gujrathi’s top-board victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov proved decisive in India’s stunning 2.5-1.5 victory over fancied Azerbaijan in the third round of the World Team Chess Championship in Jerusalem on Monday.
After listless 2-2 draws with lower-rated host Israel and Poland on Sunday, India was desperate for a win to stay in contention for quarterfinal-spot from the six-nation Group B.
India’s much-needed victory became a reality after Vidit defended fiercely to hold on to his advantage against Mamedyarov who resigned from the white side in 34 moves.
On the other boards, Nihal Sarin, S. L. Narayanan and K. Sasikiran drew with Teimour Radjabov, Gadir Guseinov and Rauf Mamedov, in that order.
India now shares the top spot in Group B with Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan at four match-points. Poland, Israel and the USA are joint fourth at two points.
In Group A, China (6) heads the table followed by Ukraine (4), France, Spain (3 each), the Netherlands (2) and South Africa (0).
After the round-robin league, four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals. The time-format for these rapid games is 45 minutes to each player plus 10-second increment for every move.