Arvind Aaron

CHENNAI: India crushed Brazil 3.5-0.5 in the final round to win the bronze medal in the World Team chess championship which concluded at Bursa in Turkey on Wednesday.

Top seed Russia retained the title by defeating Israel 3-1 in the final round to finish with 15 match points. Russia had won this once-in-four-year team event in 1997 and 2005.

India scored its third win in a row to bag the bronze with 13 match points and lower tie-break score.

The All India Chess Federation has announced a cash award of Rs. 25,000 to each of the six players for this stupendous feat. “This was a total team effort,” said D.V. Sundar, Honorary Secretary of the All India Chess Federation.

In the final round, Ganguly wrested a big initiative with the black pieces on board three to put the pressure on the Brazilians. G.N. Gopal put India in the lead by threatening to queen his passed queen pawn on the fourth board.

Thereafter, Harikrishna won a pawn on the second board and converted that in a knight versus bishop ending. Sasikiran drew with the black pieces on the top board to seal India’s win. Finally, Ganguly won via pawn promotion.

Earlier, in the eighth round, Ganguly’s victory over Postny on the third board helped India post a 2.5-1.5 win against Israel after the other games ended in a draw.

Sasikiran played on against Boris Gelfand on the top board after turning down a repetition at one stage. The World Cup champion was able to draw with Sasikiran in a rook ending.

On the black boards, Harikrishna and Arun Prasad dropped pawns but fought hard to come up with draws.

The results: Final round: Egypt (3) lost to Armenia (12) 1-3, Israel (7) lost to Russia (15) 1-3, Brazil (4) lost to India (13) 0.5-3.5 (Rafael Leitao drew with K. Sasikiran, Alexandr Fier lost to P. Harikrishna, G. Milos lost to S.S. Ganguly, Andre Diamant lost to G.N. Gopal), Greece (8) bt Turkey (3) 2.5-1.5, USA (13) drew with Azerbaijan (12) 2-2.

Eighth round: Armenia bt USA 2.5-1.5, Azerbaijan bt Greece 3-1, Turkey lost to Brazil 1.5-2.5, India bt Israel 2.5-1.5 (K. Sasikiran drew with B. Gelfand, P. Harikrishna drew with Michael Roiz, S.S. Ganguly bt Evgeny Postny, Arun Prasad drew with Maxim Rodshtein), Russia bt Egypt 3.5-0.5.

Final placings (tie-break order): 1. Russia 15, 2. USA 13, 3. India 13, 4. Azerbaijan 12, 5. Armenia 12, 6. Greece 8, 7. Israel 7, 8. Brazil 4, 9. Egypt 3 and 10. Turkey 3.

Indians’ scores: Sasikiran 5.5/9, Harikrishna 4/8, Ganguly 5/7, Gopal 3/5, Arun Prasad 2.5/5, Adhiban 1/2.

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