Indian eves hold United States

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Indian eves held third seed United States to a creditable draw in the seventh round of the Women's section of 36th Chess Olympiad.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Indian eves held third seed United States to a creditable draw in the seventh round of the Women's section of 36th Chess Olympiad at Gran Casino here. It turned out to be an all-drawn encounter for the Indian girls as all three - Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, S Vijayalakshmi and Dronavalli Harika settled for truce with GM Zsuzsa Polgar, IM Irina Krush and WGN Anna Zatonskih without any real troubles. China surged ahead again after drubbing France by a 2.5-0.5 points. The as-yet-unstoppable team was aided by two fine victories by Xu Yuhua and Zhao Xue on the last two boards over Marie Sebag and Silvia Collas respectively while on the top board former World Women Champion Xie Jun settled for a draw with Moldovan turned French Almira Skripchenko. China took its tally to an enviable 18.5 points and now has a four point lead over Poland and Lithuania who both scored identical 3-0 victories over Cuba and Germany respectively. English women moved ahead in their quest for medal with a thumping 3-0 victory over Spain 'B' and are now joint fourth along with Hungary on 14 points. The Indian girls next in the standing list along with United States, Russia, France, Ukraine, Sweden, Bulgaria, Armenia and Kazakhstan who all have 13.5 points. Seven more rounds remain in the Olympiad. Amongst the Indian girls Harika was the first to sign peace against Zatonskih from the white side of a Slav defence game. Playing according to some match plan, Harika drew her game in just 9 moves that surprised quite a few. The next to agree to the draw was Humpy who failed to impress Polgar. Up against the Queen's Gambit declined as white, Humpy tried some positional tricks in the middle game but found Polgar absolutely alert. As many as three minor pieces changed hands quickly and after trading of the Queens there was nothing that either player could hope for. The game lasted 20 moves. "It was always equal," Humpy said. Vijayalakshmi's game was more interestingly poised in the middle game against Irina Krush. Starting from a less-played variation against the Nimzo Indian, Krush, white, had Vijayalakshmi under some troubles in the middle game wherein all minor pieces got exchanged very quickly. The ensuing heavy pieces endgame was slightly better for Krush but Vijayalakshmi generated enough counter play on the Queen side to keep herself going. Not wanting to take any undue risk, Krush proposed the draw after the 31st move that was accepted by Vijayalakshmi after consultation with the team coach Ruslan Scherbakov. "It is a good result given the fact that last time we had lost to US", said Vijayalakshmi on the team performance. About her own game the Indian was not too pleased, "I think I was worse in the middle game but then in the final position I feel I got enough play". (PTI)

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