Chess Olympiad: India ‘B’ team wins bronze in Open section; India ‘A’ women also finish third

Players evincing keen interest during the 44th Chess Olympiad games on the final day of the tournament in Mamallapuram on Tuesday. (UNI)
Players evincing keen interest during the 44th Chess Olympiad games on the final day of the tournament in Mamallapuram on Tuesday. (UNI)

Mamallapuram, Aug 9: The India ‘B’ team settled for a bronze medal in the Open section while the India ‘A’ women’s side also finished third in the 44th Chess Olympiad here on Tuesday.
India ‘B’ defeated Germany 3-1 in their final round match to end at third position.
Uzbekistan sprung a surprise by bagging the gold medal with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands ahead of a strong Armenian team, which beat Spain 2.5-1.5 in the final round, in the Open section.
Uzbekistan and Armenian secured 19 match points each while India scored 18.
The top-seeded India ‘A’ women’s team crashed to a 1-3 defeat in the 11th and final round to USA to see it’s gold medal hopes evaporate. The Koneru Humpy-led team finished third. It was India’s first-ever medal at the Olympiad in the women’s section.
India ‘A’, USA and Kazakhstan tied for third place but the home team clinched the bronze.
War-torn Ukraine won an emotional gold in the women’s event, pipping Georgia to the top prize.
In the Open section, Uzbekistan beat the Netherlands in the final round thanks to Jakhongir Vakhidov’s win on board 4. They edged out Armenia on the basis of a better tie-break score. The Uzbeks remained unbeaten through the 11 rounds and finished with 19 match points.
India ‘A’ took the fourth spot.
It was the second bronze medal for India in the Open section in the Olympiad, replicating its feat in the 2014 edition.
The experienced B Adhiban, who was part of the team in 2014, added to his medal collection while it was the first for young stars D Gukesh, who was in spectacular form during the tournament, R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin and Raunak Sadhwani.
Speaking after winning the bronze medal, Gukesh, who played all 11 games and tallied nine points, said, “Overall, it has been a very enjoyable event. I didn’t expect us to perform so well but it could have been better.
“We could have had a great chance at a gold medal if I had won or drawn my game yesterday (on Monday).
“But these things happen. Immediately after the game I was devastated and our mentor (Viswanathan) Anand put me in a better frame of mind by saying that these things happen in sport and he too was at the receiving end himself,” he added.
In the women’s section, top player Koneru Humpy and R Vaishali drew their games against Gulrukhba Tokhirjonova and Irina Krush respectively. The defeats for Tania Sachdev at the hands of Carissa Yip and Bhakthi Kulkarni to Tatev Abrahamyan hurt the India ‘A’ team’s chances of a gold medal.
India ‘A’ team coach Abhijit Kunte was all praise for the team.
“The team has worked really hard in the last three or four months and this is India’s first-ever medal in the history of the Olympics, this should be the beginning of much better days for women’s chess in India.” (PTI)