Tromso, Norway: Led by Parimarjan Negi's fine victory on the top board, the Indian men cruised to a 3.5-0.5 victory over Canada in the second round of the 41st Chess Olympiad.
Negi defeated Anton Kovalyov from the white side of a Sicilian Taimanov. After enjoying an opening advantage, the Indian opened up the centre for complications and benefitted when Kovalyov blundered a piece to go down.
While Krishnan Sasikiran also used his white pieces to perfection against Leonid Gerzhoy on the third board, scoring a fine attacking victory against the King's Indian defence, B Adhiban came up with a sterling effort to beat Bator Sambuev who played the white side of a Sicilian Grand Prix attack.
Grandmaster SP Sethuraman was in a spot of bother and then stood better on the second board and eventually held his forte together to get a draw and ensured India won with a massive margin.
As if taking a cue from the men, the Indian eves followed suit in a 3.5-0.5 demolition of Denmark in the women's Olympiad, which is being held simultaneously.
Grandmaster and highest rated Indian girl D Harika defeated Sandra De Blecourt on the top board, while Eesha Karavade and Mary Ann Gomes also pitched in with fine victories over Miriam Olsen and Thomine Stolberg-Rohr, respectively.
Esmat Guindy proved to be the saving grace for the Danish women as she held Tania Sachdev to a creditable draw.
The two victories in the first two rounds put the Indian men and women team among leaders in their respective sections with four points each.
The Olympiad is being played under FIDE's Swiss rules with two match points awarded for each win by a team and one in case of a draw.
The first big upset was recorded by none other than Norway '2', the second team from the hosts, who held Ukraine to a 2-2 draw. The biggest upset of the event thus far was recorded by Frode Urkedal of Norway '2' who defeated Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine on the top board.
It was thanks to a lucky win by Sergei Movsesian on the fourth board against young Tari that Ukraine managed to draw the match.
The next round for the Indian teams is much tougher as they meet Italy. Among the men, Parimarjan Negi will have his task cut out against Fabiano Caruana, the world number three who recently entered the elite 2800 rating club. On other boards, the Indians enjoy higher rating than their counterparts but it will be a stiff challenge.
The women will take on Kazakhstan, which consist of a talented bunch of players. Extra effort will be needed from Tania Sachdev on the second board against Dinara Saduakassova. The Indian women team has rested Mary Ann Gomes for the contest and Padmini Rout would be back in the team.
Important results round 2 (match points in bracket, final score in the end) Russia (4) beat Qatar (2) 3.5-0.5; Norway 2 (3) drew with Ukraine (3) 2-2; Finland (3) drew with Norway (3) 2-2; France (4) beat Mongolia (2) 4-0; Australia (2) lost to Armenia (4) 1-3; Hungary (4) beat Venezuela (2) 2.5-1.5; Colombia (2) lost to United States of America (4) 1-3; China (4) beat Albania (2) 3.5-0.5; Scotland (2) lost to Azerbaijan (4) 0.5-3.5; India (4) beat Canada (2) 3.5-0.5. (Parimarjan Negi beat Anton Kovalyov; Eric Hansen drew with S P Sethuraman; Krishnan Sasikiran beat Leonid Gerzhoy; Bator Sambuev lost to B Adhiban.
Women: China (4) beat Venezuela (2) 4-0; Ecuador (2) lost to Norway (4) 0-4; Brazil (2) lost to Russia (4) 0-4; Ukraine (4) beat Australia (2) 3-1; Montenegro (2) lost to Georgia (4) 1-3; India (4) beat Denmark (2) 3.5-0.5 (D Harika beat Sandra De Blecourt; Esmat Guindy drew with Tania Sachdev; Eesha Karavade beat Miriam Olsen; Thomine Stolberg-Rohr lost to Mary Ann Gomes); United States of America (4) beat Belgium (2) 3-1; Bangladesh (2) lost to Armenia (4) 0-4; Egypt (2) lost to Germany (4) 1.5-2.5; Hungary (4) beat Lebanon (2) 4-0.