Online Chess Olympiad: India stuns China, reaches quarters

Indian chess shocked China 4-2 in the final round of the preliminary league to enter the quarterfinals of the Online Chess Olympiad.

R. Praggnanandhaa (left) comprehensively beat China's Liu Yan on Sunday.   -  John Saunders

India shocked second seed China and topped Pool A at the online Chess Olympiad on Sunday. The 4-2 victory in the final round in the preliminary league helped the seventh seed finish with 17 points, one more than the Chinese.

The top place in the group means India will progress directly to the quarterfinals, while China and Germany, which took the third place, will have to go through play-offs.

The victory against China, which began the tournament as one of the strong favourites, should do India's confidence a world of good.

It was the juniors that helped the team pull off the memorable win, as R. Praggnandhaa and Divya Deshmukh took full points off Liu Yan and Zhu Jiner, respectively. All the four boards featuring the senior men and women were drawn.

Earlier in the day, India defeated Georgia 4-2 and Germany 4.5-1.5.

Chess Olympiad: India held by Mongolia, slips to second  

India thus won eight of its nine matches in the league. It should have been nine out of nine if power failures at Nashik and Vijayawada hadn't interrupted the games of captain Vidit Gujrathi and Koneru Humpy in the match against Mongolia on Saturday. The match was drawn 3-3.

"I was in a winning position against Batkhuyagiin Munguntuul, but I lost the internet connection and thus the game," Humpy told Sportstar. "These things happen when you play chess online. Bharat Singh Chauhan of the All India Chess Federation has informed Vidit and me that arrangements have been made to play our remaining matches from a five star hotel if we want to."

Results:

Round 7: India beat Georgia 4-2 (Viswanathan Anand drew with Levan Pantsulaia; P. Harikrishna beat Luka Paichadze; Konery Humpy drew with Meri Arabidze; D. Harika lost to Nino Batsiashvili; R. Praggnanandhaa beat Nikolozi Kacharava; Divya Deshmukh beat Diana Lomaia).

Round 8: India beat Germany 4.5-1.5 (Vidit Santosh Gujrathi beat Rasmus Svane; Harikrishna drew with Matthias Bluebaum; D. Harika drew with Lara Schulze; Bhakti Kulkarni beat Filiz Osmanodja; Nihal Sarin drew with Roven Vogel; Vantika Agrwal beat Jana Schneider).

Round 9: India beat China 4-2 (Vidit Gujrathi drew with Ding Liren; Harikrishna drew with Yangyi Yu; Humpy drew with Hou Yifan; D. Harika drew with Wenjun Ju; R. Praggnanandhaa beat Yan Liu; Divya Deshmukh beat Jiner Zhu).

Final standings: Pool A: 1. India 17 points, 2. China 16, 3. Germany 11, 4. Iran 9, 5-6. Mongolia & Georgia 8, 7. Indonesia 8, 8. Uzbekistan 7, 9. Vietnam 6, 10. Zimbabwe 0.

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