India teams win with ease

All six teams post comfortable 4-0 victories in 1st round
India teams win with ease

CHENNAI: The India teams opened their campaigns in the Open and Women's sections of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mahabalipuram on Friday in style, winning with ease.

All six teams (three each in the Open and Women’s section) won 4-0 over their first-round opponents. There was a blip for the formidable US team, the top seed in the Open section, as it dropped half-a-point against the 93rd-seeded Angola when International Master David Silva held Levon Aronian to a draw. Wesley So, Leinier Dominiguez Perez and Sam Shankland recorded wins to register a 3.5-0.5 margin.

The top-seeded India women’s ‘A’ team beat Tajikistan while the ‘B’ side got the better of Wales. Koneru Humpy, playing on the top board, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni secured victories to ensure a thumping start. Humpy, the highest-rated Indian woman player, defeated Nadezhda Antonova in 41 moves with black pieces. The India ‘C’ team too began with a win, hammering Hong Kong 4-0.

The second-ranked Ukraine thrashed South Africa 4-0 and third seed Georgia beat Iraq 4-0. The three India teams – ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ – in the Men’s section posted wins over Zimbabwe, the UAE and South Sudan respectively. The star-studded ‘A’ team rolled over Zimbabwe, with Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi, SL Narayanan and K Sasikiran securing wins.

Raunak Sadhwani from the ‘B’ team was the first player to register a victory with the white pieces against Al Taher Abdulrahman Mohammed in a Sicilian Defence game lasting 41 moves. “This is my first Olympiad and I am happy to start with a victory. I played a good game,” said Raunak. “Me and my team want to play good chess,” he added.

The other wins came from the fast-rising D Gukesh, the experienced B Adhiban and Nihal Sarin. The team coached by RB Ramesh chose to rest R Praggnanandhaa for the match. The opening round of the Olympiad was inaugurated by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who made the first move on Gujrathi’s board.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, FIDE (International Chess Federation) president Arkady Dvorkovich, All India Chess Federation (AICF) president Sanjay Kapoor and Olympiad director Bharat Singh Chauhan were also present on the occasion.

RESULTS (INDIA ONLY): Open: India ‘A’ beat Zimbabwe 4-0 (Vidit Gujrathi beat Rodwell Makoto, Arjun Erigaisi beat Spencer Masango, SL Narayanan beat Emarald Takudzwa Mushore, K Sasikiran beat Jemusse Zhemba); India B beat the UAE 4-0 (D Gukesh beat Omran Al Hosani, Nihal Sarin beat Ibrahim Sultan, B Adhiban beat Saeed Laily Mohamed, Raunak Sadhwani beat Al Taher Abdulrahman Mohammed); India C beat South Sudan 4-0 (SP Sethuraman beat Deng Cypriano Rehan, Abhijeet Gupta beat Mach Duany Ajak, Karthikeyan Murali beat Thon Gong Gong, Abhimanyu Puranik beat Majur Manyang Peter).

Women: India ‘A’ beat Tajikistan 4-0 (Koneru Humpy beat Nadezhda Antonova, R Vaishali beat Sabrina Abrorova, Tania Sachdev beat Rukhshona Saidova, Bhakti Kulkarni beat Mutriba Hotami); India ‘B’ beat Wales 4-0 (Vantika Agrawal beat Olivia Smith, Soumya Swaminathan beat Kimberly Chong, Mary Ann Gomes beat Hiya Ray, Divya Deshmukh beat Khushi Bagga); India C beat Hong Kong 4-0 (Esha Karvade beat Sigappi Kannappan, PV Nandhidhaa beat Jing Xin Deng, V M Sahiti beat Joy Ching Li, Pratyusha Bodda beat Ka Yen Lam)

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