Online Nations Cup: India loses to Rest of World

Top-seeded China took the lead with its second win, defeating Europe 3-1 after winning the first match by a similar margin against Rest of the World.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Teimour Radjabov.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Teimour Radjabov.   -  K.V.S. Giri

India’s joy of holding higher-ranked USA 2-2 ended with the narrow 1.5-2.5 loss to lowest-rated Rest of the World (RoW) on the first day of the $180,000 FIDE Online Nations Cup chess championship on Tuesday.

Before top seed China posted identical 3-1 victories over Europe and Rest of the World to take the lead, India had its moments. India raised visions of winning both matches before a flurry of blunders undid some good work.

After Viswanathan Anand controlled the proceedings against Hikaru Nakamura and eventually drew, P. Harikrishna was better placed against Leinier Dominguez Perez. Hari also drew and Humpy pulled off an effective victory after Anna Zatonskih committed a late blunder.

With India 2-1 ahead, Vidit Gujrathi was needed to hold Fabiano Caruana to give India the victory. But Vidit, playing under severe time-pressure, gave a good account of himself by finding the right defensive moves until the 87th move.

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Caruana sensed his chances from the point where he had two bishops against Vidit’s knight. Eventually, Caruana ended Vidit’s resistance with a checkmate on the 119th move. This victory for Caruana denied India a famous win and helped USA salvage a match-point.

In the second round, B. Adhiban came in for a tired Vidit. Anand again played a solid draw against Teimour Radjabov while Adhiban, Humpy and Hari, held small advantages against their rivals.

Humpy, the closest to win, blundered and let Mariya Muzychuk force a draw by perpetual checks. Adhiban faltered to lose to Jorge Cori. Hari could not convert the early edge and drew against teen-sensation Alireza Firouzja.

The results:

Second round: Rest of the World beat India 2.5-1.5 (Teimour Radjabov drew with Viswanathan Anand; Alireza Firouzja drew with P. Harikrishna; Jorge Cori bt B. Adhiban; Mariya Muzychuk drew with K. Humpy); China bt Europe 3-1; USA bt Russia 3-1.

First round: India drew with USA 2-2 (Viswanathan Anand drew with Hikaru Nakamura; Vidit Gujrathi lost to Fabiano Caruana; P. Harikrishna drew with Leinier Dominguez Perez; K. Humpy bt Anna Zatonskih); China bt Rest of the World 3-1; Europe drew with Russia 2-2.

Standings (after two rounds): 1. China (4 match-points). 2. USA (3), 3. Rest of the World (2); 4-6. India, Europe and Russia (1 each).
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