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In round 9 of the Chess Olympiad, India’s Team B drew with Azerbaijan with stellar performer Grandmaster Gukesh drawing his game and Praggnanandha winning. Uzbekistan’s win against Armenia at 3 – 1 put it at top spot. With seven wins and two draws (no loss so far in this Olympiad) Uzbekistan leads with 16 match points. India and Armenia with 7 wins and a loss each, stand close behind with 15 points.

India A, Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and USA stand further down with six wins and two losses with 14 match points. Interestingly, Team A India’s victory against Brazil at 3 – 1 helped it to move further up on the list.

In women’s, Poland, India A, Georgia and Kazakhstan stand in tie with 7 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw each settling at 15 match points. Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany and Indonesia are close behind with 14 match points.

The Swiss format of the Olympiad, as it nears the finale, mandates the teams in the lead, to play tough without losing.

Team A defeated Brazil at 3 – 1. Arjun Erigaisi beat Krikor Sevag Mehkhitarian and Krishnan Sasikiran beat Andre Diamant. Pentala Harikrishna drew with Supi Luis Paulo and Vidit Santhosh Gujarati drew with Alexandr Fier.

Team B managed to draw with Azerbaijan. While Grandmaster Gukesh D drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyerov, the sixth highest rated player in history and Nihal Sarin with Rauf Mamedov, Raunak Sadhwani lost to Nijat Abasov. But Praggnanandhaa defeated Vasif Durarbayli pushing the game to a draw.

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Team C defeated Paraguay at 3 – 1. SP Sethuraman beat Neuris Delgado Ramirez, Murali Karthikeyan beat Jose Fernando Cubas and Abhimanyu Puranik beat Ruben D Zacarias. Surya Sekhar Ganguly lost to Axel Bachmann.

In women’s India A lost to Poland at 1 ½ – 2 ½ . Koneru Humpy drew with Alina Kashlinskaya, Harika Dronavalli drew with Monika Socko, Tania Sachdev drew with Maria Malicka. R Vaishali lost to Oliwia Kiolbasa, who is in first rank after nine rounds in this olympiad with no losses so far.

Team B defeated Switzerland with a terrific score of 4 – 0. Vantika Agarwal beat Lena Georgescu, Padmini Rout beat Ghazal Hakimifard, Mary Ann Gomes beat Gundula Heinatz, Divya Desmukh beat Camille De Seroux.

Team C defeated Estonia at 3 – 1. PV Nandhidhaa beat Margareth Olde. Sahithi Varshini beat Anastassia Sinitsina. Eesha Karavade drew with Mai Narva and Viswa Vasnawala with Sofia Blokhin.

Nandhidhaa has so far lost only once and drawn once, leaving her with a score of 7.5 out of 9. On the board against Estonia’s Margareth Olde, Nandhidhaa playing white and used Margareth’s mistakes to win a tough game. Margareth made three moves which turned out to be disastrous for her. She let the powers aggregate one after the other with the rooks and knights and the black queen undergoing strength test for exchange of powers. And after exchange, Margaret had just the queen, while Nandhidhaa had a rook and  bishop. A black pawn stood just two moves away from promotion but the black king was faced with an imminent checkmate protected by a pawn standing guardless. When the rook took the pawn, a checkmate became inevitable. Nandhidhaa made good use of Margareth’s mistakes.


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