Powered by Darpan Inani and Ashvin Makwana’s wins on the lower boards, India defeated Kazakhstan 3-1 to remain in medal contention at the end of the eighth and penultimate round of the Tata-sponsored IBCA Chess Olympiad here on Saturday.

Russia and Ukraine drew on all four boards quickly for a 2-2 result and reserved their energy for the final round on Sunday morning.

Russia leads

Russia leads with 13 points and is followed closely by Spain, Germany and Ukraine on 12 each and then India fifth with 11 points.

Inani played the crucial role in India’s win by defeating Bulat Kabyzhanov with black. India had drawn the top two boards of Swapanil Shah and Kishan Gangolli and was leading 2-1.

A defeat on the third board provoked Kazakh's fourth board player to up the risk and that allowed Makwana to exploit the situation and win.

“If we win tomorrow we can finish in the top five. We have an outside chance of a medal. Gangolli (7/8) has individual medal chances,” India coach IM S.C. Sahu said.

In other matches, Germany and Spain edged out Serbia and Venezuela by narrow 2.5-1.5 margins to join Ukraine in the second spot.

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