Indian women’s A team notched up their seventh successive victory against sixth seed Azerbaijan with a 2.5-1.5 score to maintain their sole lead in the women’s section with 14 points at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Friday.
India A, though, suffered a few hiccups after Humpy ended on the losing side in the first game. However, Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali once again rose to the occasion magnificently by scoring hard-fought victories while Harika Dronavalli also battled hard to split the point.
Vaishali played splendidly in a drawn position, pressurising her opponent with precise positive play and finally scoring a delightful victory.
Vaishali later commented: “Till the 40th turn, my game was dead equal and I considered settling for a draw. After Humpy’s loss, I had to keep pressing and interestingly, this was one position which we had worked in the camp with Boris Gelfand and I followed his suggestions to the ‘T’.”
A hallmark of the women’s A team has been the ability of every player to score a win when the team needed it most.
“The way Harika, Vaishali and Tania continued in this pressure situation is very heartening. The players understand the situation perfectly and deliver,” India A captain Abhijit Kunte said.
Meanwhile, in the open section, India A hit the accelerator when it mattered, defeating fellow countrymen in India C with a 3-1 score.
Arjun Erigaisi defeated Abhijit Gupta and S L Narayanan outplayed Abhimany Puranik even while Pnetala Harikrishna was held to a draw by Surya Shekhar Ganguly and SP Sethuraman forced Vidit to split the point.
India B, after a loss to Armenia in the 6th round, bounced back with a 3.5-0.5 score against Cuba with D Gukesh leading from the front once again to notch his seventh successive victory in the tournament.
Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa too made merry with two fine victories while Adhiban B was held to a draw.
In another setback for the star-studded USA Team, Armenia held them to a 2-2 draw and continued their sole vigil at the top of the points tally with 13 points. India A and India B, USA , Uzbekistan are trailing behind with 12 points each.
India B in the women section lost to Greece 1.5-2.5.
Divya Deshmukh scored the lone victory for India while Vantika Agrawal and Soumya Swaminathan lost their encounters and Mary Ann Gomes had to stay content with a draw.
India Women C team defeated Switzerland 3-1.