Grandmaster K Sasikiran showed the way as Indian men cruised to a 3-1 victory over Turkish 2016 team in the second round of the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.
The Indian women also had an easy day against much lower ranked Australia [ Images ] and even as they dropped half a point, the victory on the top three boards was good enough for the eves as they remained in the leading pack on four points, matching the men in the other section.
Match points being the consideration here, the Indian men remained in joint lead with four points from two matches along with 32 other teams.
A record 158 nations are taking part in this year's Olympiad. The standings are decided on the basis of match points and in case of level score, the game points come in to consideration. For every win two points are awarded.
In the women's event being held simultaneously, the Indian eves maintained their top position on four points. There are 26 leaders in this section including fancied China, Russia [ Images ] and Georgia.
Shocking results continued on the second day as well and topping the list was top tables' first board itself as highly regarded Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk lost to Al-Modaihki Mohamad of Qatar. Ukraine, however, won on the remaining boards to register a 3-1 victory.
After dropping half a point on the opening day, top seed Russia again had to concede two draws before they could win 3-1 against a spirited Greece. For India [ Images ], Sasikiran had to work hard but in the end brought home the full point showing excellent technique. Burak Firat was outdone in the endgame.
On the second board, Parimarjan Negi slipped from a promising position as black against Cemil Can Marandi out of a Sicilian Alapin. The Turk soon fought back to draw level in the ensuing rook and pawns endgame.
Abhijeet Gupta was the pick of the Indians as he cruised to an easy 26-move victory against Vahap Sanal but on the fourth board Muhammed Batuhan Dastan held G N Gopal to an easy draw. Grandmaster P Harikrishna was rested.
Among the Indian eves, Eesha Karavade defeated Arianne Caoili on the top board where the Indian played as white. Tania Sachdev played her second game with enthusiasm to beat Yu Sally and national champion Mary Ann Gomes defeated Giang Nguyen. On the fourth board, Biljana Novakovic-Dekic held former world junior champion Soumya Swaminathan to a draw.
It has been a good start to India's campaign with nine rounds still to come in the biggest chess show on the planet. The matches will now start to get tougher. In the next round the men will meet Slovenia while the women will be up against Armenia.
Important results round 2 (Match points in bracket):
Qatar (2) lost to Ukraine (4) 1-3; USA (4) beat Lithuania (2) 3.5-0.5; Azerbaijan (4) beat Ireland (2) 3.5-0.5; Peru (2) lost to France [ Images ] (4) 0.5-3.5; India (4) beat Turkey 2016 (2) 3-1; Cuba (4) beat ICSC (2) 3.5-0.5; Costa Rica (2) lost to Poland (4) 0-4; Greece (2) lost to Russia (4) 1-3; China (4) beat Italy [ Images ] (2) 3.5-0.5; England [ Images ] (4) beat Brazil [ Images ] (2) 2.5-1.5; Germany [ Images ] (4) beat Georgia (2) 2.5-1.5.
Women: Sweden (2) lost to China (4) 0-4; Russia (4) beat Brazil (2) 3.5-0.5; Belgium (2) lost to Georgia (4) 0-4; Estonia (2) lost to USA (4) 0.5-3.5; India (4) beat Australia (2) 3.5-0.5; Venezuela (2) lost to Poland (4) 0-4; Indonesia (3) drew with Bulgaria (3) 2-2; France (4) beat Chile (2) 4-0; ICSC (3) drew with Cuba (3) 2-2; Slovenia (4) beat Philippines (2) 2.5-1.5.
Indian individual results (Men): Krishnan Sasikiran beat Burak Firat; Cemil Can Marandi drew with Parimarjan Negi; Abhijeet Gupta beat Vahap Sanal; Muhammed Batuhan Dastan drew with G N Gopal.
Women: Eesha Karavade beat Arianne Caoili; Yu Sally lost to Tania Sachdev; Mary Ann Gomes beat Giang Nguyen; Biljana Novakovic-Dekic drew with Soumya Swaminathan.