It has been four days of some intense games at the 44th Chess Olympiad. Let us take stock after the four rounds.
There are five teams in the Open section and eight among the women with a maximum of eight match-points. While it’s wonderful to see that three Indian teams have the score, there are a lot of other countries that are still doing very well. And inevitably, as teams with perfect scores clash, this will start to resolve on its own.
Today, we had some dramatic developments. India 1 faced a very solid French team and drew on all four boards. The French team had come well prepared.
The big surprise was Uzbekistan holding favourite USA. In fact, right before Nordirbek Abdusattarov beat Fabiano Caruana, Jahongir Vakhidov had sights on the easiest of wins on the fourth board against Sam Shankland, but he missed out. So, the USA is, in fact, grateful that they managed to draw 2-2 and salvage one point because they were busted. A very impressive performance by Uzbekistan, which might be the youngest top team in the tournament.
Finally, Azerbaijan drew the match with Turkey. It was again a good comeback, as like the USA, they managed to salvage a point at the end. Turkey holding Azerbaijan is a slight surprise. Israel beating the Netherlands is of course a bigger one. Full marks to Ilia Smirin, the veteran, for beating Erwin L’Ami. And that obviously made the difference. Anish Giri was held on the top board. Jorden van Foreest, as well. So, the Dutch advantage never came into play.
It was good to see Tania Sachdev clinch a crucial win for the India 1 in the women’s section.
Both the India 1 teams came up with solid performances, but the third teams in both sections had a very tough day. They had done well in past three days, but I’m sure, with many more rounds left, new developments will happen.
There was again positive news for India 2. D. Gukesh won and so did Nihal Sarin. In fact, Nihal made the margin more comfortable (3-1), and he was always in control. All credit to Gukesh and Nihal for playing so well.
R. Praggnanandhaa did press for a win. And Raunak Sadhwani drew today but you must give him full marks for his score until now. So, all good for the crucial India 2 team.
Unfortunately, for the women, despite P.V. Nandhidhaa’s victory over Nino Batsiashvili, India 3 lost 1-3 to Georgia.
I think it was still a good day for India. Again, it shows that the rounds are getting harder, stronger teams face each other. And this is the time when we just have to be patient.
Even a defeat doesn’t spoil anything. The tournament is still within reach. You can play well but obviously it’s nice if you keep scoring.
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