Medal hopes evaporate as Indian men held, eves lose

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Dresden, Germany, Nov 22 (UNI) India's hopes of a medal in the 32nd Chess Olympiad virtually evaporated after the men were held to a 2-2 draw by Slovenia, while their female compatriots went down 1.5-2.5 to Serbia in the eighth round here.

Grandmaster P Harikrishna overpowered Dusko Pavasovic but on the fourth board Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda lost with white pieces against Jure Borisec in the men's section.

The other two boards ended in draws with Krishnan Sasikiran signing peace with veteran Alexander Beliavsky and G N Gopal achieving the same result against Lenik Luca on the third board.

The Indian men slipped to joint 14th spot in the standings on 11 points out of a possible 16 and now face an uphill task to keep their medal hopes alive.

D Harika struck hard on the top board for the eves to defeat Alisa Maric but Tania Sachdev and Mary Ann Gomes lost their respective games.

Tania went down to Natasa Bojkovic, while Mary Ann found her nemesis in Irina Chelushkina although the game between Swati Ghate and Andjelija Stojanovic ended in a draw.

The Indian eves slipped to joint 10th spot after the debacle against Serbia and they too will need excellent score in the remaining matches to come within striking distance of a medal.

Armenia remained in sole lead in the open section with a 3.5-0.5 win over France and took their tally to 15 points.

Israel follow the leader closely on 14 points with a fine 2.5-1.5 victory over Germany while Russia and Ukraine are now joint third on 13 points each with just three rounds remaining in the biggest chess event.

Chinese ladies played out a draw with Ukraine on the top table and remained in sole lead on 14 points here. The four-way tie for the second spot is currently shared by United States, Serbia, Poland and Ukraine, who all have 13 points apiece.

Harikrishna outplayed Pavasovic from the white side of a Reti Opening. The middle game saw the Indian initiating an attack through the center and everything fell in place thereafter. Harikrishna wrapped the issue in 53 moves.

Sandipan Chanda squandered a few chances against Jure Borisec in a Ruy Lopez game. Playing white, the Indian sacrificed a Bishop in the middle game and gave up the game after 54 moves.


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