India stun favorites US in 44th Chess Olympiad


India highlighted its growing dexterity in chess as four teenagers of the Indian team made an emphatic statement by beating the US team on Saturday, August 6, at the 44th Chess Olympiad that is being held at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) in the Chess News section of its website reported that on August 6 the US chess players “suffered a clear and resounding defeat against India’s B team by 3-1”. “Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez Perez lost against D. Gukesh and Raunak Sadhwani, while the other two games ended in draws after a very complicated play.”

FIDE has uploaded a commentary on the game in which it has said that the US team is not going through its best moment. “Despite having the best team on paper by quite a margin, none of their players seem to be in great shape”.

Chess Grand Master, Noel Studer, tweeted: “India 2 did not only beat the Top seed USA, but they also outplayed them on every single board. Extremely impressive performance. Hope they can keep their cool and finish in style.”

Gukesh, the 16-year-old Grandmaster (GM), on Saturday after defeating America’s GM Fabiano Caruana said: “Fabiano is one of my favorite players and it was a pleasure to play against him.”

In two other matches, Indian GM Nihal Sarin drew with Levon Aronian, and GM R. Praggnanandhaa split points with GM Wesley So.

Earlier, the round on Saturday began with the ceremonial first move on the Women’s Section number two match between Georgia and Armenia. We were honored to receive the visit by Mikheil Chkhenkeli, Georgian Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, along with Mr. Archil Dzuliashvili, Georgia’s Indian Ambassador.

On Sunday, August 7, the India Women A team’s victory march was halted with a 2-2 draw against the second-seed Ukraine team. The Ukraine squad includes two former Women World Champions, Mariya Muzychuk and Anna Ushenina. All the four encounters between the two teams ended in deadlock. However, India A continues to be in charge of the sole lead with 15 points while Georgia has inched closer, sitting on 14 points. Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are bunched together in the third spot with 13 points each.

On August 5, the Indian Women A had notched their seventh successive victory against sixth seed Azerbaijan by a 2.5-1.5 score to maintain their sole lead in the Women’s section of the 44th Chess Olympiad with 14 points – two points ahead of second-placed Ukraine and Armenia. Indian eves suffered a few hiccups after Humpy ended up on the losing side in the first game to end. Tania and Vaishali once again rose to the occasion magnificently by scoring hard-fought victories, while Harika also battled hard to split the point.

The Olympiad is arguably the world’s largest team championship, played at the same time in a single venue. It’s so big – more than 350 four-player teams – that it typically takes two or more buildings to lodge all the games. In Chennai, the main venue hall has a capacity for 27 matches in the open category and 20 women’s matches, with more than 350 players.