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Indian eves hold United States
October 23, 2004 14:20 IST
The Indian eves held third seeds United States to a creditable draw in the seventh round of the women's section of the 36th Chess Olympiad at Gran Casino in Mallorca, Spain.
It turned out to be an all-drawn encounter for the Indian girls as all three -- Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, S Vijayalakshmi and Dronavalli Harika -- settled for truce with GM Zsuzsa Polgar, IM Irina Krush and WGM Anna Zatonskih without any real troubles.
China surged ahead again after drubbing France by a 2.5-0.5 points. The Chinese team were aided by two fine victories by Xu Yuhua and Zhao Xue on the last two boards over Marie Sebag and Silvia Collas respectively while on the top board former world women's champion Xie Jun settled for a draw with Moldovan turned French Almira Skripchenko.
China took its tally to an enviable 18.5 points and now has a four point lead over Poland and Lithuania who both scored identical 3-0 victories over Cuba and Germany respectively.
The English women moved ahead in their quest for medal with a thumping 3-0 victory over Spain 'B' and are now joint fourth along with Hungary on 14 points.
The Indian girls are next in the standing list along with United States, Russia, France, Ukraine, Sweden, Bulgaria, Armenia and Kazakhstan who all have 13.5 points. Seven more rounds remain in the Olympiad.
Amongst the Indian girls Harika was the first to sign peace against Zatonskih from the white side of a Slav defence game. Playing according to some match plan, Harika drew her game in just 9 moves that surprised quite a few.
The next to agree to the draw was Humpy who failed to impress Polgar. Up against the Queen's Gambit declined as white, Humpy tried some positional tricks in the middle game but found Polgar absolutely alert. As many as three minor pieces changed hands quickly and after trading of the Queens there was nothing that either player could hope for. The game lasted 20 moves.
Vijayalakshmi's game was more interestingly poised in the middle game against Irina Krush. Starting from a less-played variation against the Nimzo Indian, Krush, white, had Vijayalakshmi under some troubles in the middle game where all minor pieces got exchanged very quickly.
The ensuing heavy pieces endgame was slightly better for Krush but Vijayalakshmi generated enough counter play on the Queen side to keep herself going. Not wanting to take any undue risk, Krush proposed the draw after the 31st move that was accepted by Vijayalakshmi after consultation with the team coach Ruslan Scherbakov.
"It is a good result given the fact that last time we had lost to US", said Vijayalakshmi on the team performance. About her own game the Indian was not too pleased, "I think I was worse in the middle game but then in the final position I feel I got enough play".
China is riding high thanks to some very consistent play by all the four players. The top seeded team rested Huang Qian after six straight games and brought back Zhao Xue who delivered the goods on the third board against Collas.
Getting a small but lasting advantage after her queen pawn opening as white, Xue trapped her opponent's Bishop in a tactical melee and won in 55 moves. Also coming out good for China was Xu Yuhua whose superior opening preparation and better tactical judgement proved the decisive factor against Marie Sebag.
In other important matches, Bulgaria held Russia to a draw even after its top player women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova suffered a setback going down to glam girl Alexandra Kosteniuk. With Margarita Voiska doing the trick against Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, the Bulgarian dames ensured that nothing went much wrong and a draw on the last table gave them the respectable result.
Important results round 7:
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