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Online Chess Olympiad: India edges out Ukraine in tie-break to reach semi-final

India held off a fighting Ukraine via the tie-breaker to enter the semi-finals of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad with B Adhiban, D Harika, and Nihal Sarin playing key roles.

India held off a fighting Ukraine via the tie-breaker to enter the semi-finals of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on Monday with B Adhiban, D Harika, and Nihal Sarin playing key roles.

The blitz tie-break saw India outclass its opponent 5-1 thanks to wins for Adhiban, Harika, Sarin, and R Vaishali storm into the last four.

India’s top woman player Koneru Humpy drew her game against Iulija Osmak while Vidit Gujrathi, playing on top board instead of the rested former world champion Viswanathan Anand, shared honours with veteran Vasyl Ivanchuk.

In the blitz tie-break, Adhiban broke the resistance of Kirill Shevchenko in 36 moves in a Larsen Indian variation game.

The Ukraine player had in the two regular games held his own, drawing against P Harikrishna and beating Vidit Gujrathi.

Ukraine bounced back after losing the first round 2-4 by trumping India 3.5-2.5 in the second to force the blitz tie-breaks.

In the second round, R Praggnanandhaa, playing in place of Nihal Sarin, posted the first win for India, beating Platon Galperin with white pieces. The young GM underlined his superiority, securing victory in just 20 moves in a Sicilian variation game.

Harika extended India’s lead by getting the better of Natalia Zhukova in 32 moves with white pieces. She had in the first game of the quarterfinal beaten her opponent.

While Anand drew a second straight game against long-time rival Ivanchuk, Vidit Gujrathi who came in for P Harikrishna lost to Kirill Shevchenko.

However, the defeat of Humpy at the hands of IM Iulija Osmak in a marathon 114-move game secured a win for Ukraine.

In the first set of matches, Anand and Ivanchuck played out a draw while Harikrishna, Humpy and Vaishali also shared honours with their respective opponents. Harika and Sarin scored important wins over Natalia Buksa and Platon Galperin.

India awaits the winner of the USA-Kazakhstan quarterfinal to be played later tonight in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Results: Quarterfinals: Round 1: India beat Ukraine 4-2 (Anand drew with Ivanchuk, Harikrishna drew with Shevchenko, Humpy drew Osmak, Harika beat Buksa, Sarin beat Galperin, Vaishali beat Mariia Berdnyk). Round 2: India lost to Ukraine 2.5-3.5 (Anand drew Ivanchuk, Vidit Gujrathi lost to Shevchenko, Humpy lost to Osmak, Harika beat Natalia Zhukova, Pragganandhaa beat Galperin, Vaishali lost to Berdnyk). Tie-break: India beat Ukraine 5-1 (Vidit Gujrathi drew Ivanchuk, B Adhiban beat Shevchenko, Humpy drew Osmak, Harika beat Buksa, Sarin beat Galperin, Vaishali beat Berdnyk).

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