Chess Olympiad: Indian men lose to Armenia; women held by Italy

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India men’s team’s medal chances took a hit as Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran lost a crucial match which resulted in Indian men’s team shock defeat at the hands of eighth-seeded Armenia in the ninth round of the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi (Georgia).

Sasikiran was key to India’s success till this round but he ran out of steam on a day when two main players – Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna signed peace early. B Adhiban, in the absence of Vidit Gujrathi, played out a draw on board three to reduce the deficit margin to 1.5-2.5.

It turned out to be a bad day from Indian perspective overall as the women team played out a draw with lower-ranked Italian women. Tania Sachdev, who had started with five victories in her first five games, crashed to her second defeat in a row and the victory by D Harika on second board could only prove to be the leveler once Koneru Humpy and Padmini Rout were held to draws by lower rated opponents.