Indian women extend their winning momentum at 44th Chess Olympiad; favourites fumble on second day

Koneru Humpy in action during the second day of the Chess Olympiad in Chennai on Saturday. (Pic credit: FIDE/Lennart Ootes & Stev Bonhage)
Koneru Humpy in action during the second day of the Chess Olympiad in Chennai on Saturday. (Pic credit: FIDE/Lennart Ootes & Stev Bonhage)

The favorites fumbled in the second round of the women’s section at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Chennai on Saturday.

Former world chess champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine suffered a defeat against Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik.

Similarly, India’s chess star Koneru Humpy was forced to split points against the much lower rated Marisa Zuriel of Argentina on Day 2.

Besides these individual upsets, the top-20 seeds remained unscathed. All three Indian women's chess teams won their matches and extended their winning run at the prestigious event.

Azerbaijan, Armenia and Romania were the teams in the Top-20 rankings, which whitewashed their opponents with a 4-0 score. The chess event is a 11-round Swiss League One where four players are fielded for each round.

R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni's victories helped India A chess team score a 3.5-0.5 victory against Argentina.

The Argentine Zuriel opted for the volatile Benko Gambit against Humpy who skipped the popular continuation without accepting the gambit. A blocked position with little headway had Humpy settling for a draw after 44 moves with each having a queen, a rook and opposite color bishops with identical numbers of pawns.

Sachdev, who was stretched for more than 100 moves on Friday, scored a quick victory against Anapaola in a Grunfeld game which lasted 36 moves after her Queen, Rook and Knight set up a checkmating net.

India B team beat Latvia; India C team down Singapore in Chess Olympiad

India B team defeated Latvia 3.5-0.5 with Vantika Agrawal, Soumya Swaminathan and Mary Ann Gomes emerging victorious and Padmini Rout conceding a draw to Nellija Maklakova.

India C team, on the other hand, beat Singapore with a 3-1 score with Eesha Karavade and PV Nandhidhaa scoring victories while Pratyusha Bodda and Vasnawala Vishwa being held to draws.

Nandhidhaa was involved in a Pirc Defense game against Emmanuelle Mei-En and crafted a neat victory with strongly placed pieces and an extra bishop. The game lasted for 34 moves.

The on-going Olympiad, taking place in India for the first-time ever, will be played until August 10.

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Edited by Diptanil
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