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India B allow China to get back into lead

Jodhpur: China again became sole leaders at the Asian Team Chess Championship here with a 3.5-0.5 demolition of defending champions Uzbekistan in the men’s section after the eighth and penultimate round on Tuesday.

In the women’s section, the Chinese continued their roller-coaster ride to the top and humbled Bangladesh 3-0 to take their tally to 18.5 points.

One-and-a-half point behind them is India A while a distant third is Vietnam on 16 points.

The hopes of India A men to win the title suffered a jolt when they lost 1.5-2.5 to formidable Kazakhstan to slip to joint second position with India C who came up with another excellent performance beating Kyrghyzstan 3-1.

In Wednesday’s last round matches, China (leading with 21 points) play Malaysia and except for a rank bad performance the gold medal looks almost certain for the Chinese.

The two Indian teams follow China on 20 points each. The A team meets Turkmenistan while the C team will have to battle it out against Iran.

Statistically speaking, both have an excellent chance of winning silver but Kazakhstan is breathing down their necks being just a half point behind and facing a lowly rated opponent Sri Lanka in the final round. A 4-0 victory might just propel them over the two Indian teams.

The big surprise of the day was the performance of India B who failed to get the maximum against Sri Lanka scoring 2.5-1.5 win. With a bye in the final round it is almost goodbye to the medal hopes of the only team to have beaten China.

In last round action in the women’s section, China play Turkmenistan, while the India A is pitted against Kazakhstan.

Though a silver medal for India looks on the cards, the gold hope has almost evaporated.

For the India C men’s team, the heroics of International Master Lanka Ravi continued as he chalked out yet another fine victory over A. Shukuraliev of Kyrgyzstan on the third board.

Neelotpal Das played a fine game to beat Turpanov while LIC duo of Sriram Jha and Dinesh Sharma were involved in draws against Imanliev and Umarbekov respectively.

Three of the India A players managed to score a draw against Kazakhstan on board 1, 3 and 4. But the second board defeat of Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly to Pavel Kotsur turned the tide in the Kazakhs’ favour.

ROUND VIII RESULTS

India A (20) lost to Kazakhstan (19.5) 1.5-2.5 (K. Sasikiran drew Darmen Sadvakasov, S.S. Ganguly lost to Pavel Kotsur, P. Hari Krishna drew Peter Kostenko, Abhijit Kunte drew B. Askarov); Uzbekistan (16) lost to China (21) 0.5-3.5 (Rustam Kasimdzhanov lost to Jiang Chuan, Saidali Iuldachev lost to Zhang Zhong, Safin Shukrat drew Xu Jun, Tahir Vakhidov lost to Zhang Pengxiang); Kyrgyzstan (11) lost to India C (20) 1-3 (M. Turpanov lost to Neelotpal Das, T. Imanliev drew Sriram Jha, A. Shukuraliev lost to Lanka Ravi, Aziz Umarbekov drew Dinesh Kumar Sharma); India B (19) beat Sri Lanka (8.5) 2.5-1.5 (Koneru Humpy (19) beat G.L. Wijesuriya, Pravin Thipsay beat C. K. D. Fonseki, R. B. Ramesh lost to G. C. Anuradha, Tejas Bakre drew D.R.N.K.B. Dehigam).

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