Indian Men Held by Argentina, Women Lose to Ukraine

Indian men were held to a draw by Argentina on all four boards while the eves suffered a 1.5-2.5 defeat against Ukraine in the ninth round of the ongoing 41st Chess Olympiad here.

It was a day of missed opportunity for in-form S P Sethuraman, who let go of a winning chance against Sandro Mareco on the second board.

For the records, Parimarjan Negi played out a draw on the top board with Fernando Peralta, Krishnan Sasikiran signed peace with Ruben Felgaer while B Adhiban split the point with Diego Flores.

Apart from Sethuraman, Sasikiran also enjoyed a favourable position but Felgaer held on to his own to eek out a draw in the end.

The drawn encounter did not hamper Indian chances much as many of the top matches also ended with similar result. With just two more matches to come, the Indian men inched themselves up to 13 points, two behind co-leaders China and France that clash in the 10th and penultimate round.

The two leaders are followed by Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Azerbaijan and Romania – all on 14 points while the Indian men are currently joint eighth sharing it, among others, with heavyweights like Russia and Armenia.

In the women's section being played simultaneously, it was heartbreak and curtains for the fifth seed Indian eves as they bowed out of contention following a loss against Ukraine.

The trio of D Harika, Mary Ann Gomes and Padmini Rout played out draws with Anna Muzychuk, former world women’s champion Anna Ushenina and Natalia Zhukova respectively but Tania Sachdev went down to Mariya Muzychuk on the second board to end Indian hopes.

The Indian women team slipped to joint 15th spot after the loss and will now hope for a top ten finish by winning the last two rounds. 

Russian women meanwhile continued with their winning ways in this section cruising to 9th victory on the trot. On the receiving end were Armenian ladies who put up a brave front before bowing by a minimal 1.5-2.5 score.

With 18-points in their kitty the Russian women are just one more win away from their back-to-back Olympiad gold. China remained on the second spot demolishing France 3.5-0.5 while Ukraine now stands third with 15 points in their bag.

In the penultimate round, the men have a formidable opposition in Germany while the women will start as a huge favourite against Switzerland.

Indian results: (Men) Fernando Peralta drew with Parimarjan Negi; S P Sethuraman drew with Sandro Mareco; Ruben Felgaer drew with Krishnan Sasikiran; B Adhiban drew with Diego Flores.

Women: D Harika drew with Anna Muzychuk; Mariya Muzychuk beat Tania Sachdev; Eesha Karavade drew with Anna Ushenina; Natalia Zhukova drew with Mary Ann Gomes.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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