Indians redeem medal hopes with win over Canada

Indian men outclassed Canada with a crushing 3.5-0.5 victory in the 11th round of 36th Chess Olympiad.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Indian men outclassed Canada with a crushing 3.5-0.5 victory in the 11th round of 36th Chess Olympiad at Gran Casino here. World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand boosted the confidence of a rather struggling Indian team after 10th round loss against Cuba and defeated Pascal Charbonneau quite easily on the top board after Surya Shekhar Ganguly had already given the team an early lead. On the second board, Krishnan Sasikiran was held to a draw by Mark Bluvshtein but Sandipan Chanda gave India a much needed victory on the fourth board against Yan Teplitsky after a hard fought game. Meanwhile at the real top, the equation did not change much as Ukraine yet again strengthened its position with a big 3-1 victory over Cuba and took their tally to 32 points out of a possible 44. Russia remained on the second spot after beating United States 2.5-1.5 and they now trail the leaders by 2.5 points. Armenia kept its third position intact with an easy 2.5-1.5 victory over Switzerland and moved to 29 points while Israel stands sole fourth on 28 after comprehensively beating Azerbaijan 3-1. Aided by the big victory, India jumped to joint fifth spot on 27.5 along with America and yet again there is a realistic chance to be among medals for them. Just three rounds remain in the biggest chess event. Indian men started off as big favourites against Canada and the victory was just an attestation to that. After two straight losses against Russia and Cuba, India desperately needed a big win in this match and fortunately for them not much went wrong even though a 4-0 triumph would have been nicer. Playing white, Anand was sitting pretty with a huge positional advantage when Charbonneau just crumbled under pressure. Starting off with the Petroff defence the Canadian did not face any major surprise in the opening but at the same time his preparation did not prove up to the mark. With excellent deployment of forces Anand ensured that even the exchange of pieces at regular intervals by black was not sufficient to equalise. Charbonneau was shocked to see the final tactical stroke as he went for further simplifications overlooking a rook sacrifice by the Indian ace on the 34th move and resigned immediately upon realising that grave loss of material was inevitable. Just a few minutes before Anand, Ganguly crushed Zugic who employed a side variation in the Sicilian defence as black. Playing his normal attacking chess, Ganguly emerged with a stronghold in the centre after unleashing an early attack against the black and by the 15th move itself his advantage was huge beyond doubt. Not changing his guard one bit, the Indian sacrificed an exchanging on the 17th move to rip open black's king's position and as white forces combined excellently thereafter, Zugic had no clue as to what hit him. Ganguly romped home in just 26 moves. (PTI)