Chess Olympiad 2021: India will clash against Ukraine in quarter finals
Looking to continue their winning streak, India will clash against Ukraine in the quarters and an exciting Vishy Anand-Vassily Ivanchuk face-off is on the cards.
India will look to continue their undefeated streak at the Online FIDE Chess Olympiad 2021 as they contest the quarter-finals against Ukraine. Having drawn on the top half of Pool B alongside Slovenia, the Indian team has set up a mouth-watering clash that will have an all-exciting clash between Vishwanathan Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk, fetching the maximum eyeballs.
Displaying an invincible front in the group matches, the third-seeded Indian team went past Hungary 4-2, dominated Moldova 5-1 before going really tight with Slovenia at 3-3, but was enough to bring them 16 points to end up on the top place as the undefeated team.
In the earlier rounds, India's performance was spotless as well as they crushed Egypt 6-0, Sweden 4-2, tied with France 3-3 and overcame Shenzen China 5-1, Azerbaijan 4-2 and Belarus 3.5-2.5.
Only in the tie against Moldova was Anand and Harika rested but other than that, they have added to the winning streak.
Anand kept his nose ahead with 3 match wins and 2 draws in the five he has played so far, Vidit Gujrathi followed a close second (3.5/5), P Harikrishna (2.5/4), B Adhiban (3.5/4), K Humpy (3/5), D Harika (1.5/3), Tania Sachdev (3.5/5), Bhakti Kulkarni (4/5), Nihal Sarin (4/4), R Praggnanandhaa 3/5), R Vaishali (4.5/6) and Savitha Shri (0.5/3), stayed in tow.
Finishing second behind India with a 15 points gap, Hungary has also made it to the quarter finals. However, the Indian team will have a clear upper hand heading into the knockout stages of the tournaments as they clash against Ukraine.
"Oh… the entire team is upbeat about the knockouts. We have a good team and have highly rated players on all the boards and we're all looking forward to it," said GM Srinath Narayanan, the non-playing captain of the Indian team, to the Indian Express.
In the India-Ukraine last eight face-off, the main attraction will definitely be the Vishwanathan Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk square off. The 51-year-old former World Champion, Anand boasts of a healthy head-to-head edge over Vassily, with 13 wins while Ivanchuk has 6, in 43 draws.
Before the quarters will be contested today, the Indian team had a two-day break to ready their minds for the clash.
Most Chennai-based players decided to pay their homes a quick visit, including Anand. "All were relaxing while there were a lot of preparations including working outs and readying for the competition," the 27-year-old Srinath who is also the personal coach of Grandmaster Nihal Sarin told Indian Express on Sunday.
This interim period must have helped the team to recharge and rejuvenate themselves before they go all-in against Ukraine for a place in the last four. The finals of the event will take place on Wednesday.