Indian eves tame Ukraine

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy guided Indian eves to a fine 2-1 victory over fifth seed Ukraine in 36th Chess Olympiad.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Grandmaster Koneru Humpy guided Indian eves to a fine 2-1 victory over fifth seed Ukraine in a dramatic 9th round clash The win also elevated the team to joint second spot in the women's section of 36th Chess Olympiad here at Gran Casino. Playing on the top board, Humpy was undeterred by some near ominous defence by Natalia Zhukova and recorded an impressive victory for India. Vijayalakshmi stood worse but her fighting qualities helped her attain a draw with Inna Gaponenko, while Dronavalli Harika did well to hold Kateryna Lahno on the third board to complete the Indian victory. Top spot On the other hand the battle for Gold appears almost over for the other teams as Chinese women again scored a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Lithuania in another one sided contest. With their fourth 3-0 white wash of opposition, China took its tally to 23.5 points. The country has now stretched its lead to a whopping six points over nearest rivals Russia, United States, Hungary and India who all are clubbed together on 17.5 points apiece. Humpy struggles Koneru Humpy struggled for sometime before tightening the noose on Zhukova. It was a Semi Slav game wherein Humpy went for the main variation and was surprised by Zhukova's accurate play till the late middle game stage. "I sacrificed two pawns just to get some attack and it seems to me the position was quite unclear after she defended quite well," Humpy said after she picked up a couple of weak spots in black's position even as Zhukova did not budge under pressure. The end to this well fought game quite abruptly as the Ukrainian missed a simple manoeuvre by the Indian star and found her king under firing line. "It was a clear blunder by her as my Queen got an entry to the eighth rank, thereafter it is impossible to save black," Humpy said after winning in 43 moves. Comeback trail Vijayalakshmi too survived more than a few anxious moments against Gaponenko who played the white side of a Ruy Lopez exchange. Playing true to her strength, Gaponenko had a healthy pawn to boost off in the middle game but Vijayalakshmi fought hard in the ensuing rook and pawns ending to neutralise white's advantage. The game ended after 63 moves when both players were left with just kings on board. Earlier in the day, Dronavalli Harika got an easy draw against Kateryna Lahno. Playing against the Nimzo Indian Harika got a slight initiative in the middle game but Lahno was quite up to the task in maintaining the balance. Harika realised quickly enough that there was no great point in complexities and went for trading of both the rooks to enter a queen and minor piece endgame. The peace was signed through repetition of moves after black's 27th turn. (PTI)