There are no physical sports going on in India at the moment due to COVID-19. However, the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad is currently taking place and a number of countries have been battling it out in their respective groups to see who will make it to the playoffs.
Olympiad Moves Online
The Olympiad which is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of chess decided that due to COVID-19, it would host an online edition. The structure for the FIDE online edition would see teams comprise of 6 players each and 2 of those players had to be female players.
India went into the tournaments as the 7th seeds with an average rating of 2419. Some of the members of the Indian team include legendary grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, Vidit S Gujrathi, Bhakti Kulkarni, R Praggnanandhaa ,Vantika Agrawal and P Harikrishna.
India Puts Up Dominant Performance
India has played very well so far in the group stages. They took on Indonesia in the fourth round and won with a score of 4.5 to 1.5. The team played well with most of the players winning except for V Anand and Vantika Agrawal who secured a draw.
Team India took on Iran in the 5th round and put in yet another strong performance to finish with a 4-2 score. V Anand did not have a great run in round 5 and ended up losing to Parham Maghsoodloo. However, the other players put up a strong performance and took India to the 6th round.
India played Mongolia in the 6th round and ended up with a 3-3 scoreline. They were expected to defeat Mongolia comfortably but the Indian team faced some drama during this round which led to their captain Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Koneru Humpy – the world rapid champion losing their games. This was because both these players faced a power shutdown in India and they lost internet connectivity.
India moved on the 7th round where they took down Georgia 4-2. V Anand was unable to find his groove yet again and ended up drawing his game. Koneru Humpy also ended up with a draw. India had a tough test before them in the 8th round as they took on a strong German team.
However, they put up a great performance and defeated Germany 4.5 to 1.5. This set up an exciting clash in the 9th round against China who were heavy favorites to top Group A.
India Defeat China To Move to Q/F
Given the on-going tensions between India and China, the chess match between the two countries caught the attention of millions of chess fans and non-chess fans. The Indian team had a lot of support behind them going into this match against China and they did not let their supporters down.
India ended up putting in another strong performance against China to finish with a 4-2 scoreline. Special credit must be given to the young 15 year old R Praggnanandhaa who went on to beat Yan Liu. With this win against China, India now sit on top of the Pool A table with 17 points while China takes second place with 16 points. Germany is in third place with 11 points.
Since India topped the group, they can down directly advance to the quarter-finals. They will play a yet to be named opponent on August 28. The second and third placed teams from each of the four pools will enter a preliminary phase of a knockout tournament.
The current leader in Pool B is Azerbaijan with 14 points, Russia leads Pool C with 18 points and the leaders of Pool D is the United States with 15 points.