Round 7 Chess Olympiad: Tania, Vaishali bring India a dramatic victory

A day of sensational drama produces some intense action, with some late warnings altering the intended outcome.

For example, India 1 needed late strikes from Tania Sachdev and R. Vaishali to nullify defeat to K. Humpy in a tight match against sixth seed Azerbaijan.

In the Open, after the United States led Armenia twice through Wesley So and Dominguez Perez while Gabriel Sargissian scored a 1-1 equalizer by overcoming Fabiano Caruana, all eyes were on the fourth table.

The United States is staring at the prospect of dropping its second draw of the week, as Sam Shankland appears to have recovered enough against Robert Hoyhannisyan to bring the team closer to a winning draw. But that did not happen.

Amid growing tensions, Shankland moved his king assuming it wasn’t a check. The American realized his mistake and kept his king on the square from where he had chosen it. He wants to block the next threat to his queen but he has no other choice. Since he had intentionally touched his king, he couldn’t play the queen. The trembling Shankland saw only one square for the king, which led to the defeat, and offered his hand to resign.

The match ended with a score of 2-2 and Armenia continued to lead with 13 points, one point ahead of the US and India.

On Saturday, India 1 meets Armenia and India 2 meets the US. Among the female, India 1 faces Ukraine in a crucial battle of the top two seeds.

In the clash for the first time involving Indian teams in an Olympiad, Arjun Erigaisi and SL Narayanan attacked in the lower tables for India 1 to push India 3 downhill. While Saturday’s win for D. Gukesh was the culmination of an expected India 2 win over Cuba, the all-India clash produced some tense action.

After P. Harikrishna once again showed how well prepared in the opening period against Surya Shekhar Ganguly in their draw, Narayanan scored against Abhimanyu Puranik in Group 4. The Kerala player overplayed superior in their judgments against younger opponents.

Vidit Gujrathi was once again held to a draw, but Arjun Erigaisi continued his winning streak in every odd-numbered round, on this day against Abhijeet Gupta.

Result (with match score):

Seventh round:

Open: India 1 (12) bt India 3 (10) 3-1 (P. Harikrishna drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly; Vidit Gujrathi drew with SP Sethuraman; Arjun Erigaisi bt Abhijeet Gupta; SL Narayanan bt Abhimanyu Puranik).

Cuba (10) lost to India 2 (12) 0.5-3.5 (Carlos Daniel Albornoz Cabrera lost to D. Gukesh; Luis Ernesto Qusada Perez lost to Nihal Sarin; Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Saurez lost to R. Praggnanandhaa; Omar Almeida Quintana drew B. Adhiban).

Armenia (13) drew USA (12) 2-2 (Gabriel Sargissian bt Fabiano Caruana; Hrant Melkumyan lost to Wesley So; Samvel Ter-Sahakyan lost to Leinier Perez Dominguez; Robert Hovhannisyan bt Sam Shankland).

France (11) Netherlands (11) 2-2; Serbia (10) lost to Germany (12) 1.5-2.5; Peru (10) lost to Uzbekisthan (12) 0-4; Spain (9) lost to Kazakhstan (12) 1.5-2.5; Azerbaijan (11) bt Israel (9) 3-1; Greece (10) draw Ukraine (10) 2-2; Brazil (11) bt English (9) 2.5-1.5.

Women: Azerbaijan (11) lost to India 1 (14) 1.5-2.5 (Gunay Mammdzada bt K. Humpy; Khanim Balajayeva drew D. Harika; Govhar Beydullayeva lost to R. Vaishali; Ulviyya Fataliyeva lost to Tania Sachdev).

India 2 (9) lost to Greece (11) 1.5-2.5 (Vantika Agrawal lost to Stavroula Tsolakidou; Soumya Swaminathan lost to Anastastia Avramidou; Mary Ann Gomes drew with Ekaterini Pavlidou; Divya Deshmukh bt Hartomeni Markantonaki).

India 3 (11) bt Switzerland (9) 3-1 (Eesha Karavade bt Lena Georgescu; PV Nandhidhaa bt Ghazal Hakimifard; Pratyusha Bodda drew with Gundula Heinatz; Vishwa Vasnawala drew with Laura Stoeri).

Georgia (12) bt Romania (11) 2.5-1.5; Ukraine (12) bt Netherlands (10) 3.5-0.5; Poland (11) draw Bulgaria (11) 2-2; Armenia (12) bt Israel (10) 2.5-1.5; Kazakhstan (11) bt Vietnam (10) 2.5-1.5.

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