India face a tough task in World team chess C`ship

Ningbo: Languishing at the ninth position in a 10-team competition, the Indian men`s team face an uphill task if they still want to compete for a medal in the World team chess championship.

The last edition`s bronze medal winners could earn only three points after the first five rounds of the premier team event.

With just four more rounds to go, the Indians will have to bank on top two players -- P Harikrishna and K Sasikiran -- to deliver the goods.

Post the half-way stage in the ten-team round-robin event, Armenia has emerged as the leaders, tallying eight points after conceding two draws so far against Russia and United States respectively.

For each win, even by the narrowest of margin, two points are rewarded while in case of a draw the teams share a point each.

Russia and Hungary follow the Armenians, a full point behind. It was a smooth sailing for the Russians in the early part of the tournament before they were jolted by Azerbaijan to slip to the joint second spot.

Hungary had started off with a draw against India but have done well since then to put themselves in contention for a podium finish.

Much was expected from Ukraine but so far it has been a mixed performance by them. They are at fourth spot with six points.