Indian men lose to Ukraine in World Team Chess
Ningbo, China: Indian men slid to the ninth position in the World Team Chess Championship after losing to Ukraine in the third round of the event.
Grandmaster Alexander Moiseenko guided Ukraine to a 2.5-1.5 win over India after defeating G N Gopal on the fourth board.
It turned out to be another average day for the Indians as they suffered their second consecutive defeat after bowing down to Azerbaijan in the previous round.
In the top three boards, P Harikrishna, K Sasikiran and Parimarjan Negi held on to their fort against higher-rated opponents but Gopal went down in a long-drawn affair to give Ukraine the victory by a minimal margin.
Holders Russia maintained their position at the top of the tables following a grueling 2-2 draw with Armenia.
The Russians, thus, took their tally to five points out of a possible six and kept their full point lead over Armenia, Israel and Ukraine, who all have four points apiece.
Four teams, Azerbaijan, United States, China and Hungary share the fifth spot with three points while India is now down to the ninth spot on just one point. Lowest ranked Egypt are last in the current standings after losing all the matches.
On what turned out to be an exciting day, Hungary made merry against Azerbaijan winning 2.5-1.5 thanks to a fine victory by highest rated woman player Judit Polgar against Rauf Mamedov.
Hosts China, however, went down fighting to Israel, which is without their top player Boris Gelfand.
The decisive victory for Israel was achieved by youngster Tamir Nabaty who accounted for hugely talented Ding Liren.
In the other match of the day, Egypt avoided a whitewash at the hands of United States when their top player Ahmed Adly split points against Gata Kamsky on the first board.
Against Ukraine, the Indian think-tank rested Surya Shekhar Ganguly after two back-to-back losses and it proved to be a good idea till Gopal made the decisive error.
On the top board P Harikrishna played out a very easy draw with Vassily Ivanchuk, the former World championship finalist.
Krishnan Sasikiran also played it safe with black pieces against Sergei Movsesian and the game was drawn after a lot of pieces changed hands in the middle game.
But India`s ace in the tie was Parimarjan Negi as he held a terrific position for a long time against Zahar Efimenko and had an undisputed advantage.
However, Efimenko came up with some sterling defence after giving up a piece for two pawns in the endgame and the game eventually ended in a draw.
But in the decisive game, Gopal gave a pawn early in the opening against Moiseenko and that did not turn out well for the Indian.
As the game progressed, Moiseenko traded queens in the middle game and fought for an advantage with his extra pawn.
It eventually boiled down to a rook and pawns endgame, wherein Gopal retained some chances to hold but Moiseenko proved superior in calculations. It was all over for the Indian in 104 moves.
With six rounds still to come in the world`s premier team event, last edition`s bronze medalist, Indian will have to go all out in the remaining matches.
India`s next match is against Israel.