Indians deny Russia a medal in World Team Chess
Ningbo, China: Grandmasters Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Krishnan Sasikiran showed the way as India beat formidable Russia in the tenth and final round of the World team chess championship that concluded on Tuesday.
The result, apart from being the shocker of the tournament, did not have much impact in the final standings for the Indian men but dented Russia`s chances of a bronze medal which would have been for the taking in case of an opposite result.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly paved the way by crushing highly regarded Peter Svidler on the third board while on the second, Krishnan Sasikiran was lucky to turn the tables on Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi to lead the team to an improbable 2.5-1.5 victory over last edition`s winners.
On the other two boards, P Harikrishna suffered a defeat at the hands of Alexander Grischuk while Parimarjan Negi played out a draw with Nikita Vituigov.
Armenia expectedly won the gold medal by easily drawing on all four boards against Ukraine. The Armenians remained undefeated during the championship and recorded five victories and four draws to tally 14 points in all.
Hosts China got the silver after beating Hungary in the final round with 13 points in their bag while Ukraine on 12 points got the bronze.
Russia finished fourth on best tie-break with 10 points, sharing this position along with Hungary and United States.
Azerbaijan had to be content with seventh spot on nine points while Indians finished eighth on seven points in all.
The ninth spot was taken by Israel on five points while Egypt ended their campaign without a single point in their kitty.
The Indians finished on a high largely because of a spectacular effort from Ganguly who is more famous as the second of Vishy Anand. Peter Svidler was caught off-guard after going for the Pirc defense as black and never recovered.
Ganguly went for the blood right from the word go. The Indian initiated a king side attack very early, castled on the queen side and then came up with excellent calculations to script Svidler`s downfall. Sacrificing a piece, Ganguly won in just 24 moves giving a lot of confidence to his team.
On the fourth board, Parimarjan Negi had an easy draw with Nikita Vituigov but on the top board Harikrishna went down fighting against Alexander Grischuk.
It all boiled down to Sasikiran`s game against Nepomniachtchi in which the Russian could have drawn at many points but wanted to win for the team. Nepomniachtchi came close at one point but after missing that chance it was just a draw. Sasikiran hung on well for the remaining part and patiently waited for the inaccuracies that ensued. The game lasted 74 moves.