India B Team and India ‘A’ Women’s Team have won the bronze medal at the 44th Chess Olympiad held at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
The picturesque Mahabalipuram known for its tourism and historical aspects, was the host for the 44th Chess Olympiad held for the first time in India. After the event was pulled out of Russia due to the Ukraine war, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) won the bid to host the event. Mahabalipuram, situated just 50kms away from the hustle and bustle of Chennai, was predominantly chosen to offer a calmer and peaceful environment to the players. The 12-day event was successfully conducted with almost 2000 players from 187 countries.
As the curtains fell on this grand event, host India ‘B’ team consisting of three 16-year-olds in D Gukesh, R Praggnanandhaa and Raunak Sadhwani and a 18-year-old Nihal Sarin won the bronze in Open Section by defeating Germany 3-1 at their final round match.
Uzbekistan and Armenia prevailed over Netherland and Spain respectively in the final round to tie at 19 match points. However, Uzbekistan edged out Armenia on the basis of a better tie-break score.
Young D Gukesh emerged as the top performer for India who scored 9/11 in the first board in the open section and a performance rating of 2867. His performance fetched him two gold medals. His teammate, GM Nihal Sarin (7.5/10, PR 2774), GM David Howell of England (7.5/8, PR 2898), GM Jakhongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan (6.5/8, PR 2813), and GM Mateusz Bartel of Poland (8.5/10, PR 2778) were the other gold medal winners for the second-reserve boards.
In the Women’s Section, India ‘A’ team comprising of Koneru Humpy, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakthi Kulkarni also won a bronze but lost their chances of winning gold with a defeat to USA in the final round. In the final round of Women’s Section, Ukraine and Georgia triumphed over Poland and Azerbaijan, respectively. Ukraine clinched first place while Georgia finished the event in second.
Legendary GM Pia Cramling of Sweden won the gold medal for the top board prize with a score of 9.5/11 and a performance rating of 2532. GM Nino Batsiasvili of Georgia (7.5/10, PR 2504), WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa of Poland (9.5/11, PR 2565), Bat-Erdene Mungunzul of Mongolia (8.5/10, PR 2460), and WGM Jana Schneider of Germany, (9/10, PR 2414) were the other gold medal winners for the second-reserve boards.