Chennai, Sep 12 (IANS) Indian men drew against top seeded Russia 2-2 in the 10th round in the World Chess Olympiad at Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday and in the process retained its medal hopes. Similarly the Indian eves drew their match against Ukraine 2-2.
It was a do or die match for the Indian team aiming for a podium finish. In the 2014 Olympiad, India won the bronze medal.
The strong Russian team consisted of World title challenger and World No.9 Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin (ELO rating 2769), World No.4 GM Vladimir Kramnik (2808), World No.21 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (2740) and World No.13 GM Alexander Grischuk (2754).
On the top board playing white Indian GM and World No.15 P. Harikrishna opted for the Giuoco Piano variation opening with e4.
The Indian slowly developed a good position and on move 27 went an exchange up taking Karjakin’s rook for a knight in a smooth way.
After that it was a matter of precise play by Harikrishna to pocket the point.
On the second board Indian GM B. Adhiban playing for the first time an opponent with a rating over 2800 found himself in a tight spot as the game progressed.
Towards the end Adhiban’s two knights was no match for Kramnik’s two bishops. For quite some time the Indian’s King was boxed to the corner of the board and his Knight pinned by Kramnik’s bishop.
While the end was obvious Adhiban fought till the end hoping for some error from his opponent which are rare at Kramnik’s level. At the 45th move Adhiban resigned.
The third board saw GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi with white pieces battling it out against Nepomniachtchi. However throughout the game the position was equal and both the players signed the peace treaty at the end of the 38th move.
On the fourth board GM S.P.Sethuraman played black against Grischuk. From the opening phase the game progressed evenly and both the players agreed to a draw.
“Now it all depends on the next round pairing and fairing by the Indian team in the open section. India’s medal chances depend on its opponent,” International Master V.Saravanan told IANS.
Meanwhile in the women’s section India’s IM Tania Sachdev won her game and WGM Soumya Swaminathan lost hers.
The games of World No.5 Harika Dronavalli and IM Padmini Rout ended in a draw.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)