P. Hari Krishna and Abhijeet Gupta scored impressive victories on the middle boards to set up India’s morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Slovenia in the third round of the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul on Thursday.

Hari, playing white, outplayed 58-year-old Alexander Beliavsky in 27 moves of Ruy Lopez to open India’s account after gaining from the bargain of a queen for a rook and knight. Gupta had it surprisingly easy with black pieces after Matej Sebenik walked into a checkmating net in 30 moves.

On the first and fourth boards, K. Sasikiran and G.N. Gopal drew their games in rook-and-pawn endings lasting 54 and 53 moves, respectively. This well-earned victory kept India among the 13 leaders with six match points.

The sixth-seeded Indian women’s team kept pace with the men after getting past eighth seed Armenia 2.5-1.5. Tania Sachdev’s 32-move victory over Lilit Galojan in Queen’s Indian Defence proved decisive as the other boards ended in draws. The surprise of the day was the defeat of 2005 World champion, Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov, at the hands of Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in 68 moves.

Leading results (third round): Open: Slovenia (4) lost to India (6) 1-3 (Luka Lenic drew with K. Sasikiran, Alexander Beliavsky lost to P. Hari Krishna, Matej Sebenik lost to Abhijeet Gupta, Jure Skoberne drew with G.N. Gopal); Slovakia (5) drew with Bosnia & Herzegovina (5) 2-2; Venezuela (4) lost to USA (6) 0.5-3.5; Faroe Islands (4) lost to Azerbaijan (6) 0.5-3.5; France (6) bt Bulgaria (4) 2.5-1.5; England (6) bt Cuba (4) 3-1; Ukraine (6) bt Israel (4) 2.5-1.5; Armenia (6) bt Spain (4) 2.5-1.5; Iran (4) lost to Germany (6) 0-4; Romania (4) lost to China (6) 1-3.

Women: Armenia (4) lost to India (6) 1.5-2.5 (Elina Danielian drew with D. Harika, Lilit Mkrtchian drew with Esha Karavade, Lilit Galojan lost to Tania Sachdev, Maria Kursova drew with Mary Ann Gomes); China (5) drew with Ukraine (5) 2-2; Georgia (5) drew with Germany (5) 2-2; Poland (6) bt Hungary (4) 2.5-1.5; Austria (4) lost to France (6) 1-3; Serbia (6) bt Spain (4) 3.5-0.5; Slovenia (5) drew with Kazakhstan (5) 2-2; Russia (6) bt Mongolia (4) 3.5-0.5-0; USA (5) drew with Uzbekistan (5) 2-2; Romania (4) lost to Czech Republic (6) 1.5-2.5.

Keywords: Chess Olympiad

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