Parimarjan Negi held, but Indians off to a good start in Olympiad

Tromso, Norway: Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi was held to a draw by little known Basher Iyti but the Indian team coasted off to a 3.5-0.5 victory over Syria in the 41st Chess Olympiad here Sunday.

On what turned out to be an indifferent start from Negi, the Indian was staring at a shocking loss in the first round but survived, thanks to Iyti missing out on some simple winning moves. The Indian, however, sensed that he had no chances just in time and his peace offer was something that Iyti could not refuse after 44 moves.

On the remaining three boards, the Indian men scored victories. S P Sethuraman used his white pieces to beat Hasan Omrani, Akhras Khaled proved no match for B Adhiban, while M R Lalith Babu had it easy against Ward Al-Tarbosh to complete the Indian triumph.

Highest rated Indian, Krishnan Sasikiran was rested in the opener.

There were no surprises in the opening round and fancied teams scored easy victories. Match point being the case here, each of the winning team got two points apiece.

In the Women`s Olympiad, which is being held simultaneously, the Indian eves had little problems in outwitting New Zealand 4-0.

Led by Tania Sachdev on the top board, it was an expected whitewash.

Sachdev defeated Helen Miligen on the top board as D Harika dropped herself in the first round. Eesha Karavade put it across Marani Meyer, while Mary Ann Gomes and Padmini Rout accounted for Judy Gao and Nicole Tsoi to ensure a perfect score.

With 10 rounds still to go, heavyweights like Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, United States, France and China all scored an identical 4-0 win in the opening round in the open section. In the women`s section too, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and China had similar result.

Indian men are pitted against Canada, while eves will take on Denmark in the second round.

The Chess Olympiad is the biggest chess event. This time there are 171 countries on open section. There are 11 rounds in all in both open and women`s section.

Indian results round 1: Basher Iyti drew with Parimarjan Negi; S P Sethuraman beat Hasan Omrani; Khaled Akhras lost to B Adhiban; M R Lalith Babu beat Ward Al-Tarbosh.

Women: Helen Milligan lost to Tania Sachdev; Eesha Karavade beat Marani Meyer; Judy Gao lost to Mary Ann Gomes; Padmini Rout beat Nicole Tsoi.

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