Indian eves stun Germany; men play it safe against France

Bled Nov. 7. The Indian men played out another safe 2-2 draw against higher-rated France as Surya Sekhar Ganguly reached a personal milestone in the 12th round of the 35th Chess Olympiad at the Sports Hall here on Thursday.

India's 2-2 result with draws on all four boards took the score to 28 and with two rounds still to go the team is looking forward to improving on the 33-point tally it reached in Istanbul in 2000.

Meanwhile, Indian women, seeded 18, shocked 10th seed Germany 2-1 after Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman's winning effort was foiled by Ketino Kachiani's brilliant queen sacrifice on the 124th move to produce a stalemate.

Vijayalakshmi, who was looking for a win, had to return with a draw but she had toasted her opponent enough in the five hour marathon battle.

India's tally went up to 21.5 after this shock win. Vijayalakshmi who is looking for a medal is on 8.5 points from 11 games.

It was a nervous round for the leaders, Georgia and the Chinese who are on their heels. In the end, world women's champion Zhu Chen of China lost unexpectedly to Elina Danielian of Armenia and on the Georgian table, Nana Ioseliani who had her head on the board all through the session paid for not relaxing enough. Now the race for the women's title is three-cornered with Russia sweeping Hungary 2.5-0.5 to reach 25 points.

China and Georgia are in joint lead with 25.5 points but look totally jolted.

In the men's race, Armenia, which shocked Ukraine 3-1 moved to third place with 30 points. In the fourth to sixth places are three teams, China, Georgia and Israel on 29.5 points.

Russia continues to lead the men's Olympiad with 34.5 points and Hungary is in second place with 32.5 points.

Russia won by the smallest of margins after Peter Svidler was shocked by Robert Zelcic on the third board. Russia won on the white boards of Morozevich and Rublevsky, while it had a draw on the top board of Khalifman with black and lost on the third.

Zelcic, who had used his imagination to sacrifice a rook for bishop, threatened to win Svidler's queen through a covered attack and the rook directly to force resignation. Russia won 2.5-1.5 playing without its top two stars, Kasparov and Grischuk.

Hungary won by the same 2.5-1.5 margin as the Russians and could not muster more from its round 12 match against Georgia. Judit Polgar, who had white, looked lost having had to give a rook for knight without compensation. Also, Baadur Jobava did not want to repeat the position and played on for more when Judit Polgar rolled up her king pawn to find compensation and win the lost material. Later it became a queen and rook ending where Judit Polgar used all her tricks to beat Jobava in 54 moves.

The other Hungarians, Leko, Almasi and Acs Peter made draws as they remain two points behind Russia.

Aarthie scored her third win in the Olympiad when she checked her opponent with her queen forcing an exchange. After that forced exchange, Ekaterina Borulya is losing a rook by a knight fork or a bishop and so she resigned on the 43rd move.

Earlier, Meenakshi held higher rated WGM Elisabeth Paehtz to a draw in 25 moves with the black pieces.

Due to problems in the board order, Ramesh who had won his previous game was "given'' rest. Harikrishna the out of form baby of the team said he would know the fate of his Schengen visa tomorrow at noon. He had applied for visa at the Slovenian capital Ljubljana today as he is playing in the World under-18 championshipship in Greece from November 14.

Ramesh (5.5/8), who did not participate in this drawn match, has his Grandmaster norm chances in the last two games.

At the board, Ganguly who had white proposed and got a draw from the veteran Cannes based Grandmaster Dorfman in just 12 moves from a Sicilian defence. In making the draw, Ganguly celebrated his prodigious chess career by becoming a Grandmaster, the highest title in chess.

On the heels of this game, Kunte who had the black pieces offered and got a draw from Andrei Sokolov, the former Soviet player who had once played Karpov in the Candidates finals.

In a two knights defence, Kunte had a lead in development but offered a draw that was agreed to by his 39-year-old opponent.

Soon after this, Sasikiran accepted the draw offer of Bacrot on the 25th move from a king's Indian defence game. Sasikiran had two bishops but Bacrot, who was once the youngest to become a Grandmaster, had two well-positioned knights to compensate that. Playing on may have provided a result.

In the last game to conclude, Thipsay who was brought back after a four game rest, had white against Christian Bauer, the 25-year-old Grandmaster. The Frenchman was too well prepared for the advanced variation Thipsay played as white against the French defence. Manoeuvring featured threats and counter-threats and at the end of it they too signed a 30-move draw in a rook and minor pieces ending.

Koya elected president, CCA

India's P.T. Ummer Koya, Secretary of the All India Chess Federation was elected as the President of the Commonwealth Chess Association (CCA) at the 75th FIDE Congress, which is in progress here at Bled.

Informing this, S.L. Harsh, Vice President of AICF, said the commonwealth body has other office bearers from other Commonwealth nations. Elections for Presidents for various continents and zones are held alongside the FIDE elections once in four years.

The results (12th round):

Men: Croatia (29) lost to Russia (34.5) 1.5-2.5; Georgia (29.5) lost to Hungary (32.5) 1.5-2.5; China (29.5) bt England (29) 2.5-1.5; Ukraine (28) lost to Armenia (30) 1-3; Canada (29) drew with Poland (29) 2-2; France (28) drew with India (28) 2-2.

Women: Vietnam (23) bt Georgia (25.5) 2-1; China (25.5) drew with Armenia (22.5) 1.5-1.5; Russia (25) bt Hungary (21) 2.5-0.5; India (21.5) bt Germany (20) 2-1.

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