Abhijeet Gupta pulled off a much-needed victory on the third board to help India hold Georgia 2-2 in the ninth round of the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul on Thursday.

India’s sixth successive draw was due to the continued struggle of this 13th seeded team to play to its pre-competition expectations.

Playing against the 26th seeded Georgia, India managed draws on the first two boards through K. Sasikiran and the ever-so-solid P. Hari Krishna. However, the loss of G.N. Gopal on the fourth board put tremendous pressure on Abhijeet to play for a win with black against Tornike Sanikidze.

In a battle lasting 105 moves, Abhijeet gained the decisive edge just before the queens returned to the board. Eventually, he brought in his third queen of the game to end Sanikidze’s resistance.

Indian women lose

It was a meek surrender by the Indian ladies against second seed Russia. The 1-3 loss was not in keeping with the form the Indians have displayed so far in the competition. D. Harika and Tania Sachdev drew with white pieces on the first and third boards while Eesha Karavade and Soumya Swaminathan caved in meekly with black pieces.

Important results (ninth round):

Open: Georgia (12) drew with India (12) 2-2 (Mikheil Mchedlishvili drew with K. Sasikiran; Merab Gagunashvili drew with P. Hari Krishna; Tornike Sanikidze lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Levan Pantsulaia bt G.N. Gopal); USA (15) bt Russia (15) 2.5-1.5; Philippines (13) lost to China (15) 0.5-3.5; Armenia (15) bt Germany (13) 2.5-1.5; Poland (13) drew with Azerbaijan (13) 2-2; Ukraine (14) bt France (12) 3-1; Netherlands (14) bt Israel (12) 3-1; Serbia (11) lost to Argentina (13) 1.5-2.5; Hungary (13) bt Italy (11) 3-1; Vietnam (13) bt England (11) 3-1.

Women: India (13) lost to Russia (15) 3-1 (D. Harika drew with Tatiana Kosintseva; Eesha Karavade lost to Valentina Gunina; Tania Sachdev drew with Nadezhda Kosintseva; Soumya Swaminathan lost to Alexandra Kosteniuk); China (16) bt France (13) 3-1; Kazakhstan (14) bt Uzbekistan (13) 2.5-1.5; USA (12) lost to Ukraine (14) 1-3; Bulgaria (12) lost to Poland (14) 1.5-2.5; Iran (11) lost to Armenia (14) 1-3; Geogia (11) lost to Azerbaijan (13) 1.5-2.5; Israel (13) bt Serbia (11) 3-1; Hungary (12) drew with Slovenia (12) 2-2; Vietnam (11) lost to Germany (13) 1.5-2.5.

Keywords: Chess Olympiad

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