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Even as Armenia beat India seniors in round 8, India Team B beat US to stay in contention for a stab at the top spot. If India Team B wins against Azerbaijan next or if Armenia loses next game, then the kids will be in play for the top spot. Having said that, their loss to Armenia has sullied their stellar showing in the Chess Olympiad.
Armenia beat India A team at 2 ½ -1 ½ . Almost a draw, with three boards in a tie, Pentala Harikrishnan’s loss in the match against Sargissian Gabriel, boosted Armenia by a matchpoint, helped it sustain the lead. Pentala’s game was very long, going over 100 moves, before losing to Sargissian due to a minor mistake. Vidit Santhosh Gujarati drew with Hrant Melkumyan, Arjun Erigaisi drew with Samvel Ter-Sahakyen and SL Narayanan drew with Robert Hovhanissyan.
India B team beat US at 3 – 1. Gukesh defeated Fabiano Caruana and Raunak Sadhwani beat Leinier Dominguez Perez. Nihal Sarin had a tie with Levon Aronian and Pragnnanandha with So Wesley.
It was a daring victory for Raunak Sadhwani (2611) against Leinier Dominguez Perez (2754), to scale a rating difference in the range of 150. The game around its 40th move, Leinier playing black, had the upper hand, at the least it would be a tie. By the 40th move it seemed Leinier, playing black, would win. At best, Raunak could salvage a draw.
At the black king’s castle, Leinier had to pull in his troops to back a knight so as to prevent a checkmate. Raunak had surrounded the castle with the queen, rook and two bishops.
Then it was the turn of the black queen to be under seige. Leinier had rushed before the 40th minute, trying to double attack the white queen and rook, only to realise that he had risked his queen standing supportless. Once again, the rooks stepped up to support the knight. Realising Raunak had overpowered him, with chances of drawing the game too low to continue, Leinier took stock. He had a 1-4 disadvantage in pawns and decided to resign.
Knights played the leading role in the game. It could be said that the game leaned on the knights. Spending 20 minutes before moving his knight from one pawn’s attack to another, Raunak turned the tables. Leinier had to choose between taking the knight down and opening the field of attack for the white queen and her bishops towards his king’s castle or exchanging it with a bishop, only to open the pawn in H in the king’s castle.
In board 1, Gukesh offered a draw, which Caruano refused. He thought he would win. Since Leinier was losing, his win could move the match to a tie. Unfortunately, he lost to Gukesh, lending an extra point to the team, thanks to Caruano.
India C lost to Peru at 1 – 3. Surya Sekhar Ganguly lost to Emilio Cordova and Abhijeet Gupta lost to Renato Terry. SP Sethuraman and Murali Karthikeyan managed to draw their games with Cristhian Cruz and Deivy Vera Siguenas respectively.
In the women’s category, India A maintained the lead with 15 match points with Georgia close behind with a difference of one point. It is to be noted that India ‘s victory over Georgia gave India a clear lead.
Top seeded India A women’s team had a draw with second seeded Ukraine with all the four matches ending in a tie: Koneru Humpy with Mariya Muzychuk, Harika Dronavalli with Anna Muzychuk, R Vaishali with Anna Ushenina and Tania Sachdev with Nataliya Buksa.
India B defeated Croatia at 3 ½ -½. Vantika Agrawal beat Mirjana Medic, Padmini Rout beat Anamarija Radikovic and Divya Deshmukh beat Tereza Dejanovic. Mary Ann Gomes managed to draw with Tihana Ivanovic.
India C lost to Poland at 1 – 3. Recording her first loss in this Olympiad, PV Nandhidhaa lost to Oliwia Kiolbasa. Pratyusha Bodda lost to Maria Malicka. Eesha Karavade drew with Alina Kashlinskaya and Vishwa Vasnawala drew with Michalina Rudzinska.
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