MAHABALIPURAM: The three Indian sides that are in the upper echelons of the leaderboard further strengthened their grip with comfortable wins in the seventh round of the Olympiad on Friday. In the Open section, India A beat compatriots India C 3-1 while India B were impressive in their highly polished victory over Cuba.
Express News Service
In the women’s event, they suffered an immediate setback after Koneru Humpy lost within two hours but R Vaishali and Tania Sachdev rallied to keep the hosts on top. It was imperative the duo kept their cool as Azerbaijan, in the top five, could have sprung a surprise. Noticing that their teammate lost, both Vaishali, who was primarily focused on getting a draw, and Sachdev, redoubled their efforts to get the wins for the team.
“I was a pawn up after the 40th move. Once I saw Humpy lose her match, I had no option but to keep playing. I would like to thank Boris Gelfand (team mentor) because we had worked on the exact position during our training camp,” Vaishali said.
In the Open section, the hosts’ first team, India A, remained rock-solid as ever. The two top boards, P Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi, drew their respective games but Arjun Erigaisi and SL Narayanan got home the win. Captain Srinath Narayanan was pleased with the effort.
“I think it’s a bit early to think about the standings. That comes into play only in the last two rounds. It is nice to get this win right after the rest day against a pretty strong team. It is nice to have such a convincing win going into the last few rounds,” he said.
He also paid a special mention to D Gukesh and India B’s ascent. “India B have played excellently. I am thrilled to see Gukesh playing so well. When he won against Shirov and Sargissian, it was quite hard not to go and keep looking at his games every half an hour. They are clearly one of the top teams in this event.”