Tromso (Norway): India witnessed a bad day in office as the men`s team suffered a 2.5-1.5 defeat at the hands of 12th seed Cuba, while their fifth seeded female counterparts were shocked by Serbia by similar margin in the fourth round of the 41st Chess Olympiad here.
The top boards for the Indian men again delivered the goods despite the absence of Parimarjan Negi, who was rested for this match. S P Sethuraman donned the top board for the first time and put up a sterling show to draw with Leinier Dominguez Perez, winner of one of the Grand Prix last year.
Krishnan Sasikiran yet again tried but the end result was a draw with Lazaro Bruzon Batista, while on the third board too B Adhiban held his fort together with a fighting draw against Yuniesky Quesada Perez. However a disappointing loss for M R Lalith Babu against Isan Reynoldo Oritz Suarez paved the way for a Cuban victory by a minimal margin. The loss proved costly for the Indian men as they slipped way down in standings from an overnight joint 12th place and remained on five match points out of a possible eight.
There were heartbreaks for the Indian girls as well. D Harika did her bit on the top board accounting for Jovana Vojinovic but Tania Sachdev and Mary Ann Gomes suffered defeats at the hands of Andjelija Stojanovic and Marija Rakic respectively. On the last board Padmini Rout signed peace with Adela Velikic to keep the damage minimum. With seven rounds still to come, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Serbia lead the open section with a perfect eight points coming from four victories. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov led from the front for Azerbaijan and outplayed Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France to ensure a 2.5-1.5 victory for her team as other games were drawn.
Serbia defeated Czech Republic 2.5-1.5, while Bulgaria won by the same margin against Romania to find themselves at the top of the tables. Top seed Russian men`s team conceded their first match point when they played out a 2-2 draw against China to hang on to joint fourth spot. China, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran and Russia share the lead on eight points in the women`s section. Among these, Iran and Indonesia are turning in to new Asian powerhouse in women`s chess. The Iranian eves have thus far dropped just a half point out of a possible sixteen games.
The weather in Tromso has also changed. There were heavy rains yesterday followed by a cloudy sky predicted for today. The Arctic Sun ensures the nights are not dark which is turning out to be some problem for the Indian ladies especially. Important results after Round 4 Open: France (6) lost to Azerbaijan (8) 1.5-2.5; Serbia (8) beat Czech Republic (6) 2.5-1.5; Russia (7) drew with China (7) 2-2; The Netherlands (7) drew with Israel (7) 2-2; Bulgaria (8) beat Romania (6) 2.5-1.5; Uzbekistan (7) drew with Germany (7) 2-2; Turkey (7) beat Italy (5) 3.5-0.5; Georgia (7) beat Mexico (5) 2.5-1.5; Belgium (5) lost to Switzerland (7) 1.5-2.5; Kazakhstan (7) beat Moldova (5) 2.5-1.5; Cuba (7) beat India (5) 2.5-1.5 (Leinier Dominguez Perez drew with S P Sethuraman, Lazaro Bruzon Batista drew with K Sasikiran, Yuniesky Quesada Perez drew with B Adhiban, bt M R Lalith Babu).
Women: Iran (8) beat Slovakia (6) 3.5-0.5; China (8) beat Azerbaijan (6) 3.5-0.5; Indonesia (8) beat Armenia (6) 3.5-0.5; Germany (6) lost to Russia (8) 1.5-2.5; The Netherlands (7) drew with Georgia (7) 2-2; Hungary (8) beat Cuba (6) 2.5-1.5; Philippines (5) lost to Spain (7) 1-3; Colombia (5) lost to Kazakhstan (7) 1-3; India (5) lost to Serbia (7) 1.5-2.5 (D Harika bt Jovana Vojinovic, Tania Sachdev lost to Andjelija Stojanovic, Mary Ann Gomes lost to Marija Rakic, Padmini Rout drew with Adela Velikic).