Indian teams opened their campaigns with easy wins in the Open and Women’s sections of the 44th Chess Olympiad on Friday. All six Indian teams (three in the Open and three in the women’s event) defeated their opponents 4-0 in the first round. The Indian women’s A team defeated Tajikistan while the B side got the better of Wales. Indian star player Koneru Humpy, who played on the highest board, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdeva and Bhakti Kulkarni took victories to ensure a winning start.
Humpy, the highest-rated Indian player, defeated Nedezha Antonova in 41 moves with black pieces.
The Indian C team also started with a win, hammering Hong Kong 4-0.
The formidable American team, the best in the Open event, dropped half a point against 93rd-ranked Angola as international master David Silva Levon Aronian tied a tie.
Wesley So, Leinier Dominiguez, Perez and Sam Shankland took victories and recorded a 3.5-0.5 win for the US.
Second-ranked Ukraine defeated South Africa 4-0 and third-ranked Georgia defeated Iraq 4-0. Norway, without star player Magnus Carlsen, beat Lebanon 4-0.
The three Indian teams in the men’s event recorded first-round victories over Zimbabwe, UAE and South Sudan respectively.
The star-studded ‘A’ team, ranked second behind the mighty US squad, rolled over Zimbabwe, with Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi, SL Narayanan and K Sasikiran taking victories.
Raunak Sadhwani of the India B team was the first player to score a victory with the white pieces against Abdulrahman M in a Sicilian defense play of 41 moves.
Raunak enjoyed space advantage and broke through on the side of the king after the exchange of small pieces and dragged the king into a checkmate net with the queen and rooks combining efficiently.
“This is my first Olympiad and I’m happy to start with a win, especially if you played a good game,” Raunak said.
“Me and my team want to play good chess,” he added.
The other wins came from the fast-rising D Gukesh, the veteran B Adhiban and Nihal Sarin. The team coached by RB Ramesh chose to rest R Praggnanandhaa for Friday’s game.
The opening round of the historic Chess Olympiad was inaugurated by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur by making the first move on the board of Indian player Vidit Gujrathi.
Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, All India Chess Federation President Sanjay Kapoor and Olympiad Director Bharat Singh Chauhan also attended the occasion.
Results of India’s matches: Open: India A defeated Zimbabwe 4-0 (Vidit Gujrathi defeated Rodwell Makoto, Arjun Erigaisi defeated Spencer Masango, SL Narayanan defeated Emarald Takudzwa Mushore, K Sasikiran defeated Jemusse Zhemba).
India B defeated UAE 4-0 (D Gukesh defeated Omran Al Hosani, Nihal Sarin defeated Ibrahim Sultan, B Adhiban defeated Saeed Laily Mohamed, Raunak Sadhwani defeated Al Taher Abdulrahman Mohammed).
India C defeated South Sudan 4-0 (SP Sethuraman defeated Deng Cypriano Rehan, Abhijeet Gupta defeated Mach Duany Ajak, Karthikeyan Murali defeated Thon Gong Gong, Abhimanyu Puranik defeated Majur Manyang Peter).
Women: India A defeated Tajikistan 4-0 (Koneru Humpy defeated N Antonova, R Vaishali defeated S Abrorova, Tania Sachdev defeated Rukshona Saidova, Bhakti Kulkarni defeated Mutriba Hotami).
India B defeated Wales 4-0 (Vantika Agarwal defeated Olivia Smith, Soumya Swaminathan defeated Kimberly Chong, Mary Ann Gomes defeated Hiya Ray, Divya Deshmukh defeated Khushi Bagga).
India C defeated Hong Kong 4-0 (Esha Karvade defeated Sigappi Kannappan, PV Nandhidhaa defeated Jing Xin Deng, VM Sahiti defeated Joy Ching Li, Pratyusha Bodda defeated Ka Yen Lam). PTI SS PDS PDS
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