Bled (Slovenia): The Indian men’s team started its campaign in style defeating Wales 3.5-0.5, while the women dropped half a point on its way to a 2.5-0.5 win over Turkey in the first round of the 35th chess Olympiad on Saturday (as reported in Sunday’s Late City edition).
Fourteen-year-old IM Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica draw with Russia’s world No. 10 Alexander Morozevich whose lean patch was extended after a dismal performance in the just concluded World Cup in Hyderabad.
Russia, who rested Garri Kasparov, the world’s highest-rated player, and Evgeny Bareev, swept the remaining boards easily for a 3.5-0.5 triumph.
In another flutter during the opening round, GM Shravadorj Dasheveg saved Mongolia from a complete wipe-out against a formidable Ukraine, seeded third, by holding world championship finalist Vassily Ivanchuk to a draw. Like Russia, Ukraine had an easy time on the remaining boards despite world champion Ruslan Ponomariov sitting out.
In the men’s section as many as 39 countries maintained a clean slate with a perfect 4-0 score while 16 won 3.5-0.5.
Prominent among the 4-0 victors were second seeds Hungary, US, France, Poland, Romania, Georgia, Cuba, Slovakia, Croatia, Denmark and Macedonia.
In their quest for third straight women’s title, top seeds China scored a 3-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Besides China, 20 others got off to a flier with 3-0 washouts of their rivals.
Sasikiran, Surya rested
The Indian men’s team rested GM K. Sasikiran and double GM-norm holder Surya Shekhar Ganguly against Wales.
Playing in his second Olympiad, 16-year-old GM P. Harikrishna drew with Leighton Williams with white pieces on the top board. Leighton, a Fide Master, played some fine positional moves in the middle game and steered the game to a peace result.
On the second board, GM Abhijit Kunte outclassed Richard Dineley with black. Having played the opening well, Dineley was caught off guard in a positional skirmish and had to pay a heavy price. IM R.B. Ramesh and GM Pravin Thipsay ensured a superlative result with crushing victories over Richard S. Jones and Sven Zeidler, respectively.
WGM S. Vijayalakshmi had it easy against Yildiz Betul Cemre of Turkey with white on the top board in the women’s section.
Rated more than 250 points below her opponent, Cemre got into opening troubles and did not recover. Former world under-18 girls champion Aarthie Ramaswamy defeated Cinar Nilufer, the only titled player on the Turkish team. Vijayalakshmi’s younger sister Meenakshi, however, had to be content with a draw against Byrak Asli.
The Indian women will now meet Mongolia in the second round while the men will have to battle it out against Colombia. (PTI)