2021 Online Chess Olympiad | Favourites India crash out after semi-final loss to USA
Viswanathan Anand won his first match but lost the other one in the semi-final|
Defending champions and favourites to win the match, India, crashed out of the Online Chess Olympiad after suffering a loss to the USA in the tie-breaker of the semi-final clash, on Tuesday. The USA will be up against Russia, the runners-up from the last edition, in the final of the ongoing event.
The Viswanathan Anand-led Indian team were outright favourites to win the semi-final against the USA and even started with a bang, having claimed the first rapid chess round 5-1. Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Dronavalli Harika, and R Vaishali all won their respective game, with Koneru Humpy drawing with Irina Kush as well as Nihal Sarin sharing the spoils with Awonder Liang.
However, the next round proved to be a miserable one for the Indian side as Viswanathan Anand lost to Jeffery Xiong on the top board, after committing mistakes against some top moves by the USA player. On the other hand, Ray Robson defeated Vidit Santosh Gujrathi on the second board, while R Praggnanandhaa's lost against Liang to put India in danger.
Humpy played out a draw against Krush, with Harika winning her game. But Vaishali’s draw against Thalia Cervantes Landeiro meant that India lost the round 2-4. In the tie-breaker, the Indian were totally outclassed by their USA counterparts, with them winning the blitz games by 4.5-1.5 to enter the summit clash. The only silver lining in the tie-break was Harika’s win over Nazi Paikidze, while the rest of the players failed to make a mark.