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India’s Rich Medal Haul, Arjun Erigaisi Among Talking Points From 44th Chess Olympiad

This is first time India hosted a chess Olympiad. GM Arjun Erigaisi became the seventh Indian to cross the 2700 ELO rating.

Members of India 'B' Team in the Open Section during the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai.
Members of India 'B' Team in the Open Section during the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai. PTI

The India ‘B’ team settled for a bronze medal in the Open section while the India ‘A’ women's side also finished third as the 44th Chess Olympiad concluded in Mamallapuram on Tuesday. India ‘B’ defeated Germany 3-1 in their final round match to end at third position in the Open event. (More Sports News)

Hosting the Chess Olympiad for the first time in India, local talents like D Gukesh, Nihal Sarin and others fared well. It was a memorable event for Indian GM Arjun Erigaisi as well as the Uzbekistan team that won gold.

Here are some of highlights from the 44th Chess Olympiad.   

Historic Bronze    

India capped of their campaign at the 44th Chess Olympiad on a historic note as both men’s and women’s teams won bronze medals. While India ‘B’ team (D Gukesh, R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Raunak Sadhwani and B Adhiban, missed on a golden opportunity after losing to Uzbekistan, the top-seeded India ‘A’ women’s team crashed to a 1-3 defeat in the 11th and final round to USA to see it's gold medal hopes evaporate. The Koneru Humpy-led team finished third. It was India's first-ever medal at the Olympiad in the women's section.

Medals Galore For India

Besides medals in the team events, it rained medals for India in individual section with as many as seven Indians winning medals -- two gold, one silver and four bronze. D Gukesh and Nihal Sarin won gold on top and second board respectively while Arjun Erigaisi secured silver medal on third board. R Praggnanandhaa (third board), R Vaishali (third board), Tania Sachdev (third board) and Divya Deshmukh (reserve board) claimed individual bronze medals. India also won the prestigious Gaprindashvili Cup. It is given to the nation for their collective performance in both open and women's sections. It was also for the first time India hosted the world’s biggest chess tournament.

Arjun Erigaisi Crosses 2700 ELO Rating

Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi became the seventh Indian to cross the 2700 ELO rating. The 18-year-old achieved the feat when he defeated GM Dominguez Perez in India 'A's clash against USA in the final round. Playing with the white pieces, Erigiasi made quick work of Perez with white pieces to take his live rating to 2702.2

Uzbekistan’s Independence Day Gift

According to coach Ivan Sokolov, Uzbekistan’s team gold ahead of Netherlands and Armenia is an Independence Day gift to the country. Uzbekistan sprung a surprise by winning the top prize with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands ahead of a strong Armenian team, which beat Spain 2.5-1.5 in the final round, in the Open section. “The victory would be the most historic day in Uzbekistan chess. It’s our Independence Day gift to the people of the republic, and hopefully they would inspire thousands of kids to take up the sport,” said Sokolov.

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