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World Chess: Indian women eye podium finish

December 24, 2011 17:20 IST

Having done all the hard work with spectacular results, Indian players would look to hold their nerves in the final dash to finish at the podium in the World Women Chess Team Championships, in Mardin, Turkey.

Led by Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, the team has fared spectacularly well, winning four and drawing one match in the five rounds played so far. The other members of the team are Dronavalli Harika, Tania Sachdev, Padmini Rout and Soumya Swaminathan.

Here, as a last minute entrant due to withdrawal of some teams, there was hardly any time for the Indian players to prepare and in spite of that the results have been astonishing.

Starting with a draw against Ukraine that did dampen the spirit a bit, the next two victories against Turkey and South Africa laid the platform and two more wins against Armenia and Vietnam have put India in a commanding second position on match points with four rounds still to go.

India meet Russia in the next round and the think tank has decided to rest Padmini Rout for this all-important tie. The Russians have surprisingly rested former women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk and it is clear that they have lacked the momentum so far.

The Indians play Greece, Georgia and China in the last three rounds and two victories in these matches would ensure them a medal. If things go well against Russia, the thought of hitting at gold will be just around the corner too.

China has been the best team so far with all wins and disciplined play has been their hallmark. World champion Yifan

Hou has been in top form and they thrashed Russia 4-0.

Georgia holds the third spot on seven points and Russia fourth with a point behind. Other countries don't seem to have a chance for a podium finish.

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