Batumi (Georgia), Sept 29 (PTI) A tough test awaits the Indian men as they will take on second seed Russia in the sixth round of the 43rd Chess Olympiad here. Also Read - Tomas Berdych Announces Retirement To Draw Curtains on 17-Year Professional Career
With eight points in their kitty, it has been good going for the team barring a lone loss against defending champion and top seeded Americans in the fourth round. Also Read - Euro 2020 Roundup: Czech Republic Stun England, Portugal Thrash Luxembourg
Backed by Viswanathan Anand’s facile win in the previous round, the Indian men beat Paraguay by a 3.5-0.5 margin. Also Read - Raheem Sterling Nets Hattrick Against Czech Republic, Pays Heartfelt Tribute to a Late Youth Player
So far, the record sheet reads just one red mark as Anand is the only one to have lost a game among five members.
12 wins, one loss and seven draws has been the story thus far in 20 games and going by the statistics of many other teams this has been a commendable effort.
It’s currently a four way tie at the top with ten points apiece and sharing the lead are Azerbaijan, Poland, Ukraine and Czech Republic.
Three teams – USA, Israel and Germany — follow the four leaders on nine points apiece while Indian men are in joint eighth spot coming in to the lone rest day of the event.
In the rounds to come, much will depend on the key clashes between direct rivals and Russia happens to be one of the main rivals for the fifth seeded Indians.
The team may rely more on experience and probably rest B Adhiban in favour of Krishnan Sasikiran while the trio of Anand, P Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi are likely to retain their place on the top three boards for the team.
Anand and Gujrathi will have black pieces while Harikrishna and Adhiban/Sasikiran will play with the slightly more favourable colour in the game.
The downfall for India against USA happened when Harikrishna and Sasikiran did not get anything with their white pieces on second and fourth board to draw quickly and the think tank will be hoping to get going as white in the all important clash.
Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Vladimir Kramnik and Nikita Vituigov could be a likely board order that the Russians might prefer.
In the women’s section, the Indian eves are sitting pretty with nine points for a shared second spot.
Tania Sachdev with a perfect four out of four has been winning all that she is playing while Koneru Humpy has also looked invincible on the top board. D Harika and Eesha Karavade have done their bit too.
The leader in this section are the US women on ten points and an interesting clash awaits them against India in the next round. The Americans are a fairly balanced team without any real star-power like India but the fact that they have won all their matches so far speaks for itself.
Important pairings round 6:
Open: Azerbaijan (10 vs Czech Republic (10); Poland (10) vs Ukraine (10); Israel (9) vs Germany (9); Bosnia & Herzegovina (8) vs United States of America (9); Iran (8) vs China (8); Russia (8) vs India (8) Women: India (9) vs United States of America (10); Ukraine (9) vs China (9); Georgia 1 (9) vs Georgia 2 (9); Russia (8) vs Armenia (9); Azerbaijan (8) vs Latvia (8).
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.