Asian Indoor Games: Sasikiran, Harika lead India to chess gold


Macau : The Indian chess quartet outclassed all opposition for an unblemished record and earned their country the first gold medal of the second Asian Indoor Games here Saturday.

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India had a spotless record with six wins in six games. The Indian team comprising Krishnan Sasikiran and Surya Sekhar Ganguly and World No. 2 woman Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won all their matches to secure 12 points, with two points being given for each win.

With this gold medal, India completed a chess double at Asian Games and Asian Indoor Games. The Indian team had won the gold medal at Doha Asian Games last December. Sasikiran and Humpy have been part of both teams.

India’s stars were Sasikiran and Harika. Sasi won five of his six games and lost only one to 22-year-old Bu Xianghi of China. Among the women, Harika totalled five points with four wins and two draws and was the only unbeaten Indian player.

Humpy had four wins, one draw and one unexpected loss to Catherine Perena of the Philippines. Ganguly totalled 3.5 points from six games with three wins, one draw and two losses.

The top four scorers in both men’s and women’s section advance to the semi-finals of the individual competition and Indians have both Humpy and Harika in the last four among women, while Sasikiran will be the country’s big hope among men.

The team competition was mixed with two men and two women and India won each of their matches Friday, the first day of the Games, and then added two more wins over Kazhakhstan (2.5-1.5) and Indonesia (3.5-0.5) Saturday.

On Friday India beat Pakistan 4-0. Pakistan did not field any women players and so Humpy and Harika got walkovers. Then India beat Philippines 3-1 and Vietnam 2.5-1.5 before their crucial clash with China. Though Sasikiran lost to Bu Xianghi on the first board, the Indians won the remaining three matches to close a 3-1 win.

Once India beat China the gold medal seemed to be in the bag barring any surprise losses. China, however, crumbled further and later lost to Vietnam in the sixth game.

The win over China proved valuable to Vietnam, who won four matches and drew one with Iran to bag the silver. Vietnam’s only loss came to India. Iran also had four wins, one draw and one loss, but they won fewer games than Vietnam and had to be content with a bronze.

The men’s and women’s individual competition will also be decided on Saturday and Indians are once again expected to dominate.

Results of team competition:

Round 1

India beat Pakistan 4-0

K. Sasikiran beat Tanveer Gillani
Surya Sekhar Ganguly beat Mohd. Lodhi
Koneru Humpy w/o
Dronavalli Harika w/o

Other major results:
China beat Singapore 3-1; Vietnam beat Jordan 4-0; Iran beat Nepal 4-0

Round 2

India beat Philippines 3-1

K. Sasikiran beat Antonio Rogelio Jr
Surya Sekhar Ganguly beat Rolando Nolte
Koneru Humpy lost to Catherine Perena
Dronavalli Harika beat Sherly Cua

Other major results:
Vietnam beat Qatar 4-0; China beat Iran 2.5-1.5

Round 3

India beat Vietnam 2.5-1.5

K. Sasikiran beat Liem Le Quang
Surya Sekhar Ganguly lost to Nguyen Ngoc Trong Son
Koneru Humpy beat Hoang thi Bao Tram
Dronavalli Harika drew with Nguyen Thi Thanh An

Other major results:
China beat Kazhakhstan 2.5-1.5; Iran beat Indonesia 3-1

Round 4

India beat China 3-1

K. Sasikiran lost to Bu Xianghi
Surya Sekhar Ganguly beat Wang Hao
Koneru Humpy drew with Hou Yifan
Dronavalli Harika beat Ruan Lufei

Other major results:
Vietnam beat Japan 4-0; Kazhakhstan beat Philippines 2.5-1.5; Iran beat Mongolia 3.5-0.5

Round 5

India beat Kazhakhstan 2.5-1.5

K. Sasikiran beat Murtas Kazhgaleeyev
Surya Sekhar Ganguly lost to Anuar Ismagamebetov
Koneru Humpy beat Gulmira Dauletova
Dronavalli Harika drew with Mariya Sergeyeva

Othet major results:
China beat Qatar 3-1; Vietnam drew with Iran 2-2

Round 6

India beat Indonesia 3.5-0.5

K. Sasikiran beat Susanto Magranto
Surya Sekhar Ganguly drew with Utut Adianto
Koneru Humpy beat Irine Kharisma Sukandar
Dronavalli Harika beat Evi Lindiwata

Other major results
Vietnam beat China 3-1; Iran beat Kazhakstan 2.5-1.5