Chess Olympiad: Indian men start as favourites against Moldova

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 08, 2014, 19:17 PM IST

Tromso, Norway: After one draw, a lone loss and three victories, the Indian men are now training their sight to beat Moldova in the sixth round of the 41st Chess Olympiad now underway here.

After a rest day and the much hyped Bermuda party – a permanent fixture at the Chess Olympiads for many years now for players above 18 years, the players will be back on the board and all eyes will be on Parimarjan Negi on the top board to get off to a good start as he meets Moldovan best Viktor Bologan.

The Indian think-tank has decided to drop in-form S P Sethuraman for this clash and the reason could be the fact that most experienced Indian Krishnan Sasikiran fancies his chances against Dmitry Svetushkin on the second board.

Also, M R Lalithbabu gets back to the team to get some match practice against lower ranked Liviu Cerbulenco ahead of the tougher matches that lie in story for India. On the third board, B Adhiban will play as white against Vladimir Hamitevici.

With seven points in their kitty, the Indian men are far from seven joint leaders on nine points each but this round can take them closer to the top ten. For the records, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cuba Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are all co leaders with six rounds to come.

For the Indian eves, it`s a much tougher challenge to face against Spain in the women`s section being held simultaneously. After starting as the fifth seed, the Indian ladies have their task cut out if they have to make an impression and better the last Olympiad`s result where they finished fourth.

In the sixth round, Tania Sachdev has been rested again which means it`s third off-day on the trot for the Delhi-based who lost in the fourth round and hasn`t played since. Tania was the star performer for the team last time around as she had bagged a Bronze medal for her personal performance.

China, Hungary and Russia share the lead in this section with a perfect score of ten points out of a possible ten. The Indian ladies are on seven and badly in need of some match points to do the catch-up act.

The FIDE Election is the other high point of the Olympiad this year and now just three days remain before the world goes for vote to elect the next FIDE body. Incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is fighting it out against Garry Kasparov and both camps are on a high as the campaign is now coming towards an end.

In a recent webcast Kasparov hinted that Anand`s world championship match might be rescheduled if he gets elected to the office of FIDE.

"There are no sponsors for the match. We don`t have anything except announcements," said Kasparov.

The Anand-Carlsen match got no bids following which, Fide announced that the match will take place in Sochi in November this year.

"You are still talking about the match without contracts and with just three months to go. It`s scandalous. The event needs proper promotion. The match needs to be publicized.

"Should I be elected, it would be moved to spring next year. Because you have to give sponsors a chance. Within 45 days, I guarantee a proper venue and a proper prize fund," he said.