Chess Olympiad: Indian men lose to Israel

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Indian men succumbed to a 1.5-2.5 loss against third seed Israel in the 12th round of the 36th Chess Olympiad.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Indian men succumbed to a 1.5-2.5 loss against third seed Israel in the 12th round of the 36th Chess Olympiad. World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand and his boys simply failed to impress Israel and after the Indian mainstay had drawn quickly with Boris Gelfand on board one, Krishnan Sasikrian and Surya Shekhar Ganguly followed suit with Emil Sutovsky and Michael Roiz respectively while P Harikrishna was outwitted by Boris Avrukh. Unstoppable-as-yet, Ukraine made another stride forward towards what would be their maiden Olympiad triumph and defeated Poland 2.5-1.5. For the winners youngest ever Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin and Pavel Eljanov came good with crushing victories, Vassily Ivanchuk got an easy draw and Andrei Volokitin's loss did not matter. Ninth victory With their 9th victory in the event, Ukraine moved to 34.5 points and stretched its lead to 3.5 points over Russia and Armenia. Of the two the former suffered a shocking 1.5-2.5 defeat at the hands of Georgia while the latter drew with the United States. Israel took the sole fourth spot after beating Indians on 30.5 while Cuba scored a miraculous 4-0 victory over Slovenia to move to fifth spot. The US is the next team in line on 29.5 while the Indian men were pushed to joint 7th spot to share it with Georgia. Need for win It is important for India to win all the remaining matches with huge margins to be in medal contention in the biggest chess event. While Ukraine is running away with the honours, it seems that Russia and Armenia are firmly on ground for the remaining two medals and what remains to be seen is whether the Indians can make a difference at this stage. The requirements are two landslide victories. Not easy at this stage of Olympiad. Business-like approach While most of the games were still in progress, Anand was quite business-like in his approach and quickly equalised with pieces against Gelfand who employed the Catalan opening. As an exponent of the system, some had expected Gelfand to try harder but as Anand completely neutralised white's slight initiative after his queen side break through, the Israeli knew what was coming. The first game to end in the top few boards lasted just 18 moves. Sasikiran could not do anything better than getting a good advantage against Sutovsky from the white side of a Grunfeld. As Sutovsky garnered sufficient counter play, Sasikiran fell short of time and blew away what could have been a full point. Top form On board three Harikrishna was simply not up to the task in handling Avrukh. The Israeli was in top form right till the very end in the other Grunfeld defence game of the day and romped home with some inspirational play on the king side. Surya Shekhar Ganguly also could not do much on board four as Michael Roiz was armed in the Sicilian Nazdorf and the game petered out be a draw after regulation exchanges to mark the Indian downfall. (AP)

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