India overcame Ukraine 5-1 in the blitz tiebreaker to enter the semifinals of the Fide Online Chess Olympiad on Monday.
After winning the first set 4-2, India let Ukraine make a comeback from 0.5-2.5 in the second to win the last three games (Vidit Gujrathi, R. Vaishali and Koneru Humpy) to force a tiebreaker, played under the time-control of three minutes for each player and a two-second increment per move. India dominated it with ease after resting Viswanathan Anand, Pentala Harikrishna on the top two boards.
Also Read | East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Indian Football’s Corporate Woes
Nihal Sarin, who received a 12-minute advantage on the clock after Platon Galperin reported late in the first set, won against the same rival when the Ukrainian’s internet connection dropped.
Vidit drew with Vassily Ivanchuk and Harika scored her third victory of the day, against Nataliya Buska. Vaishali won as well, before Humpy drew to complete India’s triumph.
“Relieved”, said Anand was quoted as saying by The Hindu. “Obviously disappointed not to score in the second game, which would have clinched it (for India). When I made the draw, I thought we had clinched it anyway. I looked at the three (ongoing) games and thought on at least two, we were safe. Then a dramatic turnaround happened after which India did extremely well in the blitz.”
Also Read | Durand Cup 2021: Adrian Luna Scores as Kerala Blasters Edge Past Indian Navy
Another positive from the quarterfinals was Dronavalli Harika getting her form back. Recovering from a viral infection during the league phase which saw her draw three consecutive games, Harika won against in-form Nataliya Buska and Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine.
India will take on the USA in the semifinals. The Americans also needed blitz games to make the final four. The other semifinal will be played between Russia and China.
The results (quarterfinals)
Set I: Ukraine lost to India 2-4 (Vassily Ivanchuk drew with Viswanathan Anand; Kirill Shevchenko drew with P. Harikrishna; Iulija Osmak drew with K. Humpy; Nataliya Buska lost to D. Harika; Platon Galperin lost to Nihal Sarin; Mariia Berdnyk drew with R. Vaishali).
Set II: India lost to Ukraine 2.5-3.5 (Anand drew with Ivanchuk; Vidit lost to Kirill Shevchenko; Humpy lost to Osmak; Harika bt Natalia Zhukova; R. Praggnanandhaa bt Galperin; Vaishali lost to Berdnyk).
Blitz tiebreaker: Ukraine lost to India 1-5 (Ivanchuk drew with Vidit; Shevchenko lost to B. Adhiban; Osmak drew with Humpy; Buksa lost to Harika; Galperin lost to Sarin; Berdnyk lost to Vaishali).
Read more sports stories from Newsclick