Chess Olympiad: Unbeaten India take on Ukraine in quarter-finalsSeptember 13, 2021
Joint holders India drew with Slovenia to top the Pool B comprising Hungary and Moldova at 2021 FIDE Online Olympiad. In the previous edition India shared the honours with Russia last year.
In the group matches, India, seeded third behind China and Russia, defeated Hungary 4-2 and a 5-1 win over Moldova which secured their position with a round to spare while a fighting last-round draw against Slovenia 3-3, helped them garner 16 points to be at first place and remain unbeaten.
In the match against Moldova, Viswanathan Anand and Harika were rested.
In the earlier rounds, India blanked Egypt 6-0, Sweden 4-2 and drew with France 3-3, Shenzhen China 5-1, Azerbaijan 4-2 and Belarus 3.5–2.5.
The Indians scored well with Anand leading with 4 points from three wins and two draws from 5 games followed by Vidit Gujrathi (3.5/5), P Harikrishna (2.5/4), B Adhiban (3.5/4), K Humpy (3/5), D Harika (1.5/3), Tania Sachdev (3.5/5), Bhakti Kulkarni (4/5), Nihal Sarin (4/4), R Praggnanandhaa 3/5), R Vaishali (4.5/6) and Savitha Shri (0.5/3).
Hungary with 15 points finished second behind India in Pool B to qualify for the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals on Monday, India will take on Ukraine where Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk clash will be the top attraction. The 51-year-old former world champion has an upper hand with 13 wins to Ivanchuk 6, with 45 draws.
“Oh… the entire team is upbeat about the knockouts. We have a good team and have highly rated players on all the boards and we’re all looking forward to it,” said GM Srinath Narayanan, the non-playing captain of the Indian team.
The two-day break has given a complete rest to the entire team while a couple of the Chennai-based players including Anand visited their homes while others stayed back in their hotel rooms. “All were relaxing while there were a lot of preparations including working outs and readying for the competition,” the 27-year-old Srinath who is also the personal coach of Grandmaster Nihal Sarin told indianexpress.com on Sunday.
The quarterfinals will be completed on Wednesday with finals scheduled on Wednesday.
At least 1717 including 209 GMs and 244 IMs are competing from 155 countries.
Indian squad: GMs Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujrathi, P Harikrishna, and B Adhiban (Open category); GMs Koneru Humpy and D Harika and Woman GMs Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni (women category), GM Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa (juniors open) and WGM R Vaishali and Woman Fide Master Savitha Shri (junior girls).