Sasikiran brings cheer as India downs Czech Republic

The Indian women, however, suffered their first defeat, with Koneru Humpy and Tania Sachdev losing.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in action at the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Geogia.   -  PTI

K. Sasikiran capitalised on a late blunder by Jiri Stocek and provided the winning margin as India downed a fighting Czech Republic 2.5-1.5 to stay in the medal-hunt after eight rounds of
Chess Olympiad here on Tuesday.

However, the Indian women’s medal chances received a major blow after their Hungarian counterparts handed out a shock 3-1 defeat. India, in spite of enjoying rating superiority on every board against the 13th seeded rival, suffered its first loss of the competition. K. Humpy and Tania Sachdev lost with black pieces while D. Harika and Eesha Karavade drew, with white, without ever looking superior to their rivals.

Read: Indian women hold Georgia

The consolation to the Indian camp was provided by Sasikiran’s crushing victory. India’s sixth victory was worth a share of the third place - behind leader USA and second-placed Poland - with six other countries.

After Viswanathan Anand and B. Adhiban drew their games with black pieces, Sasikiran and Vidit Gujarati went about their task of pressing home the advantage of playing with white pieces.

Much before Vidit settled for a draw following a 67-move marathon spread over five hours with Viktor Laznika who escaped defeat with sound defensive ploys, Sasikiran gave the Indian camp much to cheer about when he punished Stocek for a poor pawn-move on the 34th turn
and tightened the noose two moves later.

Eighth-round results

Open: Czech Republic (11) lost to India (13) 1.5-2.5 (David Navara drew with Viswanathan Anand; Viktor Laznicka drew with Vidit Gujarati; Zbynek Hracek drew with B. Adhiban; Jiri Stocek lost to K. Sasikiran); USA (15) bt Azerbaijan (13) 2.5-1.5; Armenia (13) drew with Poland (14) 2-2; Spain (11) lost to Germany (13) 1.5-2.5; Israel (11) lost to England (13) 1.5-2.5; France (13) bt Ukraine (11) 2.5-1.5; China (13) bt Netherlands (11) 2.5-1.5.

Women: Hungary (13) beat India (11) 3-1 (Hoang Thanh Trang bt K. Humpy; Anita Gara drew with D. Harika; Ticia Gara bt Tania Sachdev; Juliana Terbe drew with Eesha Karavade); Ukraine (14) bt Armenia (13) 3-1; China (14) bt Romania (12) 3.5-0.5; USA (13) bt Italy (11) 3-1; Georgia 1 (12) lost to Kazakhstan (13) 1-3; Georgia 2 (11) lost to Azerbaijan (13) 1.5-2.5.