Indian men beat Slovenia, women top Armenia

Istanbul: Grandmasters P Harikrihsna and Abhijeet Gupta played in copy book style to give Indian men their third victory in a row in the 40th Chess Olympiad here.

Harikrishna defeated former world championship candidate Alexander Beliavsky, while Gupta accounted for Malej Sebenik to ensure a 3-1 victory for the team while the other two games ended in draws.

For the third day running the Indian eves matched their male counterparts. Former Asian queen Tania Sachdev turned out to be the Indian ace here as she scored a much needed victory over Lilit Galojan, while three boards ended in truce.

Thanks to the third victory in as many matches, the Indian men and women find themselves on the top board in the fourth round in respective sections.

This is inspirational given the fact that both teams are without their best players – world champion Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy.

For the records, it`s a 13-way lead in the open section and Indian men take on higher ranked United States in the next round.

The other leaders are, Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Germany, France, England, Philippines, Armenia, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary who all have an identical six match points from a possible three matches.

In the women`s section it has now boiled down to a eight-way lead and giving Indian eves company are Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, France Argentina and Serbia.

In the next round the Indian women will be up against Serbia and given the form they have displayed so far, another victory looks well on cards.

The day belonged to two of the three world junior champions hailing from India. P Harikrishna was the first to conquer the crown after Anand and the Gupta had repeated the feat some years later. On this day, they came together in style.

Harikrishna outwitted Beliavsky from the white side of a Marshall Gambit while Gupta only had to keep himself in high spirits against Malej Sebenik to provide the winning blow.

Sasikiran played out a draw as black against Luka Lenic on the top board while it did not matter when Gopal signed truce with Jure Skoberne on the fourth board.

Armenians have been tough opponents for the Indian eves in the past but for once the ghost was put to rest as Tania Sachdev found her form at the right time.

With three draws by D Harika, Eesha Karavade and national women`s champion Mary Ann Gomes coming in, it was enough to remain in the forefront. There are still seven rounds to go.