Sasikiran keeps India in hunt for historic podium finish
Tromso (Norway): Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran guided Indian men to a creditable 2.5-1.5 victory over Germany in the 10th and penultimate round to stay in contention for a podium finish at the 41st Chess Olympiad here.
Sasikiran’s 48-moves win against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu not only raised visions of a best-ever Indian finish but also set the tone for what could be the first ever Olympiad medal for India.
Nisipeanu, an import from Romania in to the German team, was at sea with white pieces. Playing the Grunfeld, Sasikiran patiently outplayed his higher-rated opponent. It was a Bishop and pawn endgame wherein an extra pawn help the Indian garner full point.
At the top of the table, Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi held GM Arkadij Naiditsch to a draw with black pieces.
Negi was slightly off colour for major part of the game but continued to fight till he achieved what was the most important half point for India.
Playing the tournament of his life, Sethuraman held Georg Meier to a draw while on the fourth board, B Adhiban kept things under control before signing peace treaty with David Baramidze to complete the Indian victory.
With just one round to go, the Indian men find themselves elevated to a never-before joint third spot and the icing on the cake could be the fact that they are meeting Uzbekistan – a very beatable team – in the final round.
China, meanwhile, accounted for overnight joint leader France to regain the sole lead with 17 points.