Indian teams continued their winning run in the Open section of the 44th Chess Olympiad with all three posting easy victories over their respective opponents on July 31.
While the second-seeded India 'A' rode on wins from GMs P Harikrishna and Arjun Erigaisi for a 3-1 victory against Greece, India 'B' swept past Switzerland 4-0 and the third team got the better of Iceland 3-1.
Vidit S Gujrathi, playing on second board for India A, settled for a draw against GM Nikolaos Theodorou while K Sasikiran was held by Evgenios Ioannidis. Speaking after beating Dimitrios Mastrovasilis, Harikrishna said his opponent put up a good resistance and towards the end, he had got a good combination of moves.
Meeting the other Indian team depends on the pairing. "Our focus is on playing the matches and not the teams," he said. With the Indian teams doing well so far, they can run into one another in the competition. The top-seeded Americans stamped their authority with a 3-1 win over 24th seed Georgia. Though Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominiguez Perez could not record wins, Lev Aronian and Sam Shakland got the job done by beating Mikheil Mchedlishvili and Tamaz Gelashvili respectively.
In the women’s event, the three Indian teams were victorious for a third straight day. The 'A' team rested top player Koneru Humpy but came through 3-1 against England, courtesy wins from R Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni. Dronavalli Harika was fielded for the first time in this Olympiad and this is the ninth consecutive time that she is playing for India, not to mention the two virtual Olympiads where India won a gold and bronze medal in the mixed version.
The 31-year old Harika is in the advanced stages of her first pregnancy and was pitted against Jovanka Houska of England. She could not force a win on the top board. The 'B' team recorded a 3-1 win against Indonesia with Vantika Agrawal and Soumya Swaminathan beating Irine Kharisma Sukandar and Fariha Mariroh respectively. Padmini Rout and Mary Ann Gomes had to settle for draws against their opponents.
The third host team won 2.5-1.5 against Austria thanks to victories from P V Nandhidhaa and Pratyusha Bodda. Varshini Sahiti lost to Nikola Mayrhuber and Esha Karavade drew against Katharina Newrkla. WGM Nandhidhaa was the first player to gain a point, courtesy a walkover against Chiara Polterauer who was unwell. "This is my first Olympiad, and I am playing in my hometown Chennai, reason enough to give me extra energy. In my opinion ratings and seedings don’t matter. Even our team has a chance, and we are ready to give our best," Nadhidhaa said.
In other results, the 28th ranked Mongolia pulled off an upset 3-1 win over the USA, the seventh-seed in the women’s event while No.2 seed Ukraine trounced Slovakia 4-0.
Results of Indian matches:
India 'A' beat Greece 3-1 (P Harikrishna beat Dimitrios Mastrovasilis, Vidit Gujrathi drew with Nikolaos Theodorou, Arjun Erigaisi beat Athansios Mastovasilis, K Sasikiran drew with Evegenios Ioannidis).
India 'B' beat Switzerland 4-0 (D Gukesh beat Nico Georgiadis, Nihal Sarin beat Sebastian Bogner, R Praggnanandhaa beat Yannick Pelletier, Raunak Sadhwani beat Fabian Baenziger).
India 'C' beat Iceland 3-1 (Surya Shekhar Ganguly drew with Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn, S P Sethurman beat Hannes Stefansson, Abhijeet Gupta beat Gumundur Kjartsson, Abhimanyu Puranik drew with Gretarsson Helgi).
India beat England 3-1 (D Harika drew with Jovanka Houska, R Vaishali beat Toma Katarzhnya, Tania Sachdev drew with Yao Lan, Bhakti Kulkarni beat Akshaya Kalaiyalahan).
India 'B' beat Indonesia 3-1 (Vantika Agrawal beat Irine Kharisma Sukandar, Padmini Rout drew with Aulia Medina Warda, Soumya Swaminathan beat Fariha Mariroh, Mary Ann Gomes drew with Anastasia Citra Dewi Ardhiani).India 'C' beat Austria 2.5-1.5 (Easha Karavade drew with Katharina Newrkia, P V Nandhidhaa beat Chiara Poltrauder, M Varshini Sahiti lost to Nikola Mayrhuber, Pratyusha Bodda beat Hapala Elisabeth).