The Indian eves failed at the first major hurdle as they went down 1-3 to Russia in the sixth round of the world women team chess championship in Mardin, Turkey.
After a rocking first half that saw them win four and draw one match, Koneru Humpy-led girls could not hold the nerves together and spoilt what could have been a drawn match.
Tania Sachdev lost on the third board from an advantageous middle game against Valentina Gunina while Soumya Swaminathan misplayed a clearly drawn endgame against Natalia Pogonina to give the Russian an easy victory.
Earlier in the day Koneru Humpy had played out a draw with Tatiana Kosintseva while Nadezhda Kosintseva also split the point with D Harika on the second board.
China meanwhile continued their rampaging act and scored a 3-1 victory over Greece. World women champion Yifan Hou led from the front to give a fine victory against Yelena Dembo and Zhao Xue overpowered Ekaterini Fakhiridou to complete the rituals.
In another match, Ukraine did well to hold Gerogia 2-2 and that proved a good omen for the Indian girls as they remained in sole second position despite the loss. South Africa succumbed to another 0-4 loss against Armenia while Turkey went down 0.5-3.5 to Vietnam.
With just three matches to come China seems to be running away with the title with a perfect 12/12 while India is now second, three points behind.
Georgia and Russia share the third spot with eight points apiece while Ukraine, Armenia and Vietnam share the fifth spot with six points each. Turkey, Greece and South Africa remain far behind on four, one and zero points respectively.
The Indian eves are in a must win situation against Greece in the next round and should that happen, they will need to score at least a draw in the last two matches to ensure a medal.
There is a definite chance of winning the silver still but gold seems out of reach with Chinese on a roller coaster ride.
Results: Round 6: India (9 points) lost to Russia (8) 1-3 (Koneru Humpy drew with Tatiana Kosintseva; Nadezhda Kosintseva drew with D Harika; Tania Sachdev lost to Valentina Gunina; Natalia Pogonina beat Soumya Swaminathan; China (12) beat Greece (1) 3-1; Ukraine (6) drew with Georgia (8) 2-2; Turkey (4) lost to Vietnam (6) 0.5-3.5; South Africa (0) lost to Armenia (6) 0-4.