India slipped to the second position in Pool A on the second day of the online Chess Olympiad on Saturday. The seventh seed is on 11 points, one behind China, the second seed and one of the strong favourites.
India had begun the day fairly well, with a 4.5-1.5 win over Indonesia, despite two of its strongest players, Viswanathan Anand and Dronavalli Harika being held to draws by their lower-rated rivals. Wins by captain Vidit Gujrathi and R. Praggnandhaa and Bhakti Kulkarni ensured the team the two match points.
The fifth round, against Iran, saw Anand continuing his indifferent form, as he was shocked by Parham Maghsoodloo. India’s best female player Koneru Humpy was held to a draw by Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, as was teen sensation Nihal Sarin by Aryan Gholami. But Pendyala Harikrishna, Harika and Vantika Agrawal posted victories to help the team take the match 4-2.
India, however, was surprised in the sixth round by Mongolia, which forced a 3-3 draw. There were defeats for Gujrathi, Humpy and Vaishali, but Arvindh Chithambaram, Praggnandhaa and Divya Deshmukh saved the blushes.
Fourth round: India beat Indonesia 4.5-1.5 (Viswanathan Anand drew with Susanto Megaranto; Vidit S. Gujrathi beat Farid Firman Syah; D. Harika drew with Irine Kharisma Sukandar; Bhakti Kulkarni beat Medina Warda Aulia; R. Praggnanandhaa beat Gilbert Elroy Tarigan; Vantika Agrawal drew Ummi Fisabilillah).
Fifth round: India beat Iran 4-2 (Viswanathan Anand lost to Parham Maghsoodloo; P. Harikrishna beat M. Amin Tabatbaei; Koneru Humpy drew with Sarasdat Khademalsharieh; D. Harika beat Anousha Mahdian; Nihal Sarin drew with Aryan Gholami; Vantika Agrwal beat Anahita Zahedifar).
Sixth round: India drew Mongolia 3-3 (Vidit Gujrathi lost to Sumiya Bilguun; Aravindh Chithambaram beat Gombosuren Munkghal; K Humpy lost to Bathkuyag Muguntuul; R. Vaishali to Tuvshintugs Batchimeg; R. Praggnanandhaa beat Dambasuren Batsuren; Divya Deshmukh beat Davaakhuu Munkzhul).