Indian eves falter again; finish fourth in World Team C`ships
Mardin (Turkey): The Indian team met another nemesis in China and went down 1.5-2.5 to miss out on a medal and sign off fourth in the World Women`s Team Chess Championship here.
What looked like a certain medal after the first half of the championship, was blown away in the last two matches as, following a loss to Georgia, China also proved a tough nut to crack for the Indians.
China won the gold medal with 16 points while the silver was claimed by the Russians who finished with 13 points in all.
Georgia ended with the bronze while India and Ukraine were tied for the fourth spot with much better tie-break for the Indians.
For the Indians, Koneru Humpy played out a draw on the top board against world champion Yifan Hou while D Harika also did not disappoint on the second in splitting the points with Ju Wenjun.
The main risk was on board four wherein Padmini Rout held on to her own and also drew with Tan Zhongyi but Tania Sachdev missed her drawing chances against Zhao Xue in a very tense game to eventually lose.
In other matches of the day, Russia took a quick 2-2 draw with Armenia as they did not have any chance to catch up with China. This proved a just strategy for the team as they secured the silver without much ado.
The Georgians beat Turkey 3-1 after receiving a jolt on the second board wherein Bela Khotenashvili was beaten by Kubra Ozturk. Greece scored a 4-0 victory over South Africa while Vietnam and Ukraine played out draws on all four boards.
The Indian team had won four of the first five matches with a solitary draw but in the last four matches they could score just a single victory that came from Harika in the match against Greece. To add to the team`s woes, there were as many as three losses which ended India`s chances.
Humpy was the pick among the Indians and the world number two also won the gold medal on the first board with her fine 6/8 performance. Harika was the other medal winner from India with a silver for her performance on the second board.
In the last round, Humpy did not let Yifan do much and got an easy draw as black with exchanges at regular intervals while Harika was her solid self yet again.
Padmini Rout also did her bit by holding Zhongyi and all the attention was diverted to Tania`s game against Zhao Xue.
It was a Catalan wherein Tania got the dynamic balance she was looking for in the middle game. While Xue tried to make some headway on the queenside, Tania got her counterplay rolling on the other flank with a timely piece sacrifice that ripped apart white`s king side in addition to three pawns for black.
It should at best have been a draw for Xue, but Tania, running short of time, let the position slip out of hand. A similar situation arose in the final time control when Tania could have capitalised on a blunder to force a draw but once again, the Delhi-based player was under severe time pressure.