CHENNAI: Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni scored victories as India A pulled off a 3.5-0.5 win against Kazakhstan to emerge as sole leader in the women’s category after the ninth round of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Monday.
Top-seed India A were given a winning start in the penultimate round by Humpy when she outperformed Zhansaya Abdumalik.
R Vaishali, on the other hand, had to share points against Bibisara Assaubayeva before Sachdev and Kulkarni tilted the result of the match in India’s favour after securing wins over Xeniya Balabayeva and Guliskhan Nakhbayeva in their respective games.
With just one more round remaining, India A have grabbed the leading spot with 17 points while Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are jointly holding the second position with 16 points each.
India B and India C also notched up identical 3-1 wins in their respective Round 9 matches. While India B defeated the Netherlands with Padmini Rout, Mary Ann Gomes and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories, India C thrashed Sweden. PV Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda scored victories for India C whereas Eesha Karavade and M Varshini Sahiti settled for draws.
In other women’s section matches, Georgia held Poland to a 2-2 draw while Ukraine edged past Germany with a 2.5-1.5 score. Azerbaijan thrashed Armenia 4-0 in the most one-sided match on the top board.
Meanwhile, in the open section, India A secured a 2.5-1.5 victory against Iran. Vidit Gujrathi and SL Narayanan scored the victories for India while Arjun Erigaisi drew his encounter. Pentala Harikrishna ended on the losing side.
The other two Indian teams in the open section, India B and India C, settled for a 2-2 draw against Uzbekistan and Slovakia respectively.
D Gukesh, who had been going great guns with a fantastic 8.5/9, suffered his first defeat of the event when he lost to Nodirbek Abdusattorov in an intense game.
Armenia scored a thumping 3-1 victory against Azerbaijan. The USA, having a comparatively easier draw, thrashed Turkey 3-1 while Serbia drew against Netherlands 2-2.
Armenia and Uzbekistan have emerged as joint leaders in the open section with 17 points each while India A, India B and USA are in second place with 16 points each.