Chennai: India ended their World Chess Olympiad campaign in the open section drawing their 11th round match against Norway at Baku, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday.
The team would not figure in the medal list as a result. The honours list would be shared by the USA, Ukraine and Russia.
India had an outside chance to figure in the medal list at the start of the round. India had to win their match against Norway while Russia had to lose against Italy. Both didn’t happen.
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India threw away its outside chance of making it to the medal list early in the game when Grandmaster SP Sethuraman turned adventurous on the 16th move, only to give up his bishop for a pawn with a hope of equalising the piece position a couple of moves later.
Unfortunately for Sethuraman his opponent saw through the move early enough to retain the piece advantage and forced the Indian to resign.
It was a costly loss for India as they had to win the match to stay in contention for a chance to win the bronze medal.
Expecting wins from other Indian players was a tall task at this juncture.
However the day was saved for the Indian team by Grandmaster Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who won against Grandmaster Aryan Tari in 45 moves.
Playing with white pieces, Gujrathi castled on the queen’s side while Tari had castled on his king’s side earlier.
Gradually Gujrathi’s board position improved as the play was mostly focused on the board’s centre with the Indian going in for exchange of queens. After that some precise play by Gujrathi ensured the win.
On the top board, World No.15 and Indian Grandmaster P Harikrishna took on No.1 by ranking and World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.
The game progressed evenly in the Giuoco Piano variation with both the players not giving any space to the other and finally agreed to sign the peace treaty at the end of the 47th move.
On the third board, Indian Grandmaster B Adhiban drew with Jon Ludvig Hammer in 43 moves.
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