Taking stock after four rounds, there are four teams in the Open section and eight among women with a maximum of eight match-points. While it’s wonderful that three Indian teams have the score, there are a lot of other countries that are still doing very well. And inevitably, as teams with perfect scores clash, this will start to resolve itself.
Today, we had some dramatic developments. India 1 faced a very solid French team and drew on all four boards. I mean, the French team also came well prepared. The big surprise, Uzbekistan held favourite USA. In fact, right before Abdusattarov beat Caruana, Vakhidov had the easiest of wins (on the fourth board against Shankland) but missed. So, the USA is, in fact, grateful for this one that they managed to draw 2-2 and salvage one point because they had been busted. Simply very impressive performance by Uzbekistan, which might be the youngest top team in the tournament.
Finally, Azerbaijan drew the match with Turkey. That was a good comeback again, Just like the US, they managed to salvage a point at the end. Turkey holding Azerbaijan is a slight surprise. Israel beating the Netherlands is of course a bigger one. Full marks to Ilia Smirin, the veteran, for beating Erwin L’Ami today. And that obviously made a difference. Anish was held on the top board. Jorden van Foreest, as well. So the Dutch advantage never came into play.
Good that Tania (Sachdev) clinched it for us. It was a crucial win. Solid performances for India 1 teams. Tough day for our third teams in both sections. They have done well for the past three days, but I’m sure, since there are many rounds left, new developments will happen.
And India 2 again is the positive news. Gukesh won and so did Nihal. In fact, Nihal made the margin more comfortable but he was always in control. All credit to Gukesh and Nihal for playing so well.
Praggnanandhaa did press for a win. And Raunak drew today, but you have to give him full marks for his score until now. So all good in the crucial India 2 team. Unfortunately, among the women, in spite of Nandhidhaa’s victory over Nino Batsiashvili, India 3 lost 1-3 to Georgia. I think it is still a good day for India. Again, it shows that the rounds are getting harder, stronger and stronger teams face each other. And this is the time when we just have to be patient. I think even a defeat doesn’t spoil anything. The tournament is still within reach. You can play well, but obviously, it’s nice if you keep scoring. Good news is, obviously, India 2.