Mardin: Grandmaster Koneru Humpy`s crucial victory helped last-minute entrant Indian women`s team settle for a 2-2 draw with Ukraine in the first round of the ongoing World Women Team Chess Championship.
Humpy paved the way for a split verdict with a tactical drubbing of Anna Ushenina on the top board while GM D Harika and Tania Sachdev played out draws on the second and third board with Mariya Muzychuk and Inna Gaponenko respectively.
On the fourth board, debutant Padmini Rout could not withstand the pressure and lost to Natalia Zhukova.
Russia, Georgia, China and Armenia emerged as the early leaders in the 10-team round-robin event, scoring victories in the first round.
For each team victory two match points are awarded and the Indians now stand joint fifth in the standings alongside Ukraine.
For the highly fancied teams it turned out be a very tough day. The Chinese decided to rest world women`s champion Yifan Hou and the strategy almost backfired against hosts Turkey.
The Chinese women won 2.5-1.5 eventually, conceding 1.5 points on top two boards.
The Russians could also only muster a minimum victory against Vietnam. After draws on the top three boards, Gunina valentine came to the rescue of the team and defeated Hoang Thi Nhu.
Armenia and Georgia, however, were merciless as they scampered to identical 4-0 victories against South Africa and Greece respectively.
It was only after some withdrawals that the Indian team got a chance and it was around ten days before the commencement that the participation was confirmed.