Istanbul (Turkey): International Master Tania Sachdev led the charge as the Indian women`s team crashed through the defenses of Israel and romped to a huge 3.5-0.5 victory in the 10th and penultimate round of the Chess Olympiad here.
Having lost to Russia in the previous round, this was a much needed victory for the Indians and it elevated them to the joint fourth spot with just one round to go in the biggest chess spectacle.
This is the first time that the Indian eves have come so close to attaining a medal.
At the top of the tables, China was held to a 2-2 draw by Kazakhstan with both teams exchanging one victory besides two draws.
The Russian eves caught up with China in lead on 17 points after drubbing Armenia 3.5-0.5. In third spot is Ukraine on 16 points and Indian girls stand joint fourth on 15 points along with Germany, France and Kazakhstan.
The Indian girls are now in an enviable position and what remains to be seen is who they play in the next round. The likely opponent is Ukraine and if that happens a victory gives them every chance for a podium finish.
The results of the Indian women`s team have depended on the success of Tania and the Delhi-based player has not disappointed. She scored a convincing victory at the expense of Marsel Efroimski of Israel on the second board.
The Indian think tank decided to rest Eesha Karavade in this round and the strategy came good as reserved player Soumya Swaminathan came up with an impressive victory on board four against Yuliya Shvayger.
D Harika completed a regulation victory on the top board against Maya Porat and it could have been a whitewash had Mary Ann Gomes held on to her winning advantage against Masha Klinova.
In the open section, the Indian men yet again fumbled and could only manage a 2-2 draw with Cuba after looking good for a victory for the major part of the match.
Young Grandmasters Abhijeet Gupta and Parimajan Negi gave a head-start with victories on the third and fourth board against Yuniesky Quezada Perez and Yusnel Bacallao Alonso respectively.
The Indians looked for an easy win but for some blunders by Sasikiran after Harikrishna went into a lost position against Bruzon Lazaro.
Sasikiran got several winning chances and this is certainly turning out to be a nightmare for the second highest rated Indian after Viswanathan Anand.
After missing chances to force a victory, Sasikiran missed a draw and found himself in a lost endgame to let Cubans draw parity.
China, Russia and Armenia remained at the helm in this section with victories over USA, Argentina and Holland respectively. The three leaders have an identical 17 points and the 40th edition seems like heading towards a nail-biting finish.
After their seventh draw on the trot, following victories in the first three rounds, the Indian men have just one hope -- an individual medal for top performer Abhijeet Gupta which seems much on cards.
Among the eves, Tania is also in similar situation with her individual brilliance.
Important results penultimate round open: China (17) beat USA (15) 2.5-1.5; Argentina (14) lost to Russia (17) 1.5-2.5; Netherlands (14) lost to Armenia (17) 1-3; Azerbaijan (13) lost to Ukraine (16) 1.5-2.5; Czech Republic (13) lost to Poland (15) 1-3; Denmark (13) lost to Hungary (15) 0-4; Belarus (13) lost to Germany (15) 1.5-2.5: Philippines (14) drew with Vietnam (14) 2-2; India (13) drew with Cuba (13) 2-2 (K Sasikiran lost to Lenier Dominguez Perez; Bruzon Lazaro beat P Harikrishna; Parimarjan Negi beat Yuniesky Quezada Perez; Yusnel Bacallao Alonso lost to Abhijeet Gupta); Israel (13) drew with Georgia (13) 2-2; Uzbekistan (14) beat Bulgaria (12) 3-1; Romania (14) beat France (12) 2.5-1.5; Greece (13) drew with Spain (13) 2-2; Slovenia (14) beat Croatia (12) 2.5-1.5.
Women: China (17) drew with Kazakhstan (15) 2-2; Armenia (14) lost to Russia (17) 0.5-3.5; Ukraine (16) beat Poland (14) 2.5-1.5; Azerbaijan (13) lost to France (15) 1.5-2.5; India (15) beat Israel (3.5-0.5) D Harika beat Maya Porat; Marsel Efroimski lost to Tania Sachdev; Mary Ann Gomes drew with Masha Klinova; Yuliya Shvayger lost to Soumya Swaminathan); Germany (15) beat Spain (13) 3-1; Uzbekistan (14) drew with Italy (14) 2-2; Peru (14) beat Slovenia (12) 2.5-1.5; Hungary (12) lost to Bulgaria (14) 1-3; Romania (14) beat Netherlands (12) 3.5-0.5.