25 Oct. 2004
Chess: India lose to Russia at Mallorca
India suffered a 1.5-2.5 defeat against top seeds and defending
champions Russia in the ninth round of the 36th Chess Olympiad here at
the Gran Casino.
Viswanathan Anand gave India an early lead but his effort went in vain.
Leading from the front, Anand crashed through the defences of
Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich.
Krishnan Sasikiran also did well on the second board in getting an easy
draw as black against Russian champion Peter Svidler.
Leading the downfall
But the remaining two boards saw the Indian downfall as Surya Shekhar
Ganguly was outdone from a complicated position by Vadim Zvjaginsev.
Harikrishna missed out on a simple winning manoeuvre against Alexey
Dreev before he was eventually tamed.
In hindsight, it could have been 3-1 in India’s favour but in the end
the six-time winners proved superior.
Top of the table
Leaders Ukraine, who settled for a 2-2 draw with fourth seeds Armenians
on the top table, maintained a 2.5 advantage over Russia (24.5).
With just five more rounds remaining, USA was the biggest gainer of the
day as they moved to sole third spot on 24 points after drubbing Spain
Armenia and third seed Israel were in joint fourth spot on 23 points
while the Indians shared the sixth spot on 22.5 along with Switzerland,
Bulgaria, France, Slovenia, Azerbaijan and Cuba.
Poland and Moldova were next in line on 22 points each. More
For Ukraine, Andrei Volokitin delivered the goods against Smbat Lputian
on the third board while veteran Rafael Vaganian put it across former
World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov to level scores for Armenia.
As the other two boards were drawn, Ukraine maintained their no-loss
record and took their tally to 27 points out of a possible 36.
Victory in vain
Anand was brilliance personified as he outplayed Morozevich in an
extremely complicated game arising out of a Sicilian defence and
leading to a Hedgehog setup.
“I think I was winning after the opening itself, it looks to me like he
was two tempis (moves) down but then the nature of the position is such
that black can make some complications and Morozevich succeeded in
doing that,” said Anand about the opening after the match.
In the middle game, for quite sometime, Morozevich’s trademark
complications were quite visible as he had Anand looking out for best
manoeuvres to maintain the upper hand.
The Russian finally faltered when he fell way behind on the clock and
sacrificed an exchange, missing Anand’s bait that left him tottering on
move 37. Anand finally netted the full point in 45 moves.
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran also came out with flying colours on
board two for India as he held Svidler to a creditable draw with black