India has entered the semifinal of the 2021 Online Chess Olympiad, defeating Ukraine 4-2 in the quarters. Grand Master Harika Dronavalli starred for India winning all her three games of the day to ensure that India moves into the semifinal.
While Harika Dronavalli and Nihal Sarin scored crucial wins for India in the first round, all the others drew their respective games to help India to a comfortable start in the quarterfinal. The much-awaited clash of Titans between Viswanathan Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk too ended in a draw with the Indian deciding to settle for a draw even with a slightly better position.
Having spent the first round on the sideline, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa registered a clinical victory on the junior board to start off the proceedings for India in the second round. The youngster was followed by Harika Dronavalli, who won her second game of the day, while Anand drew his second game of the day with Ivanchuk.
Just when it looked as if India would cruise into the semifinal, R. Vaishali and Vidit Gujarathi lost their respective games as Ukraine sensed a comeback into the contest. While for India all rested on the shoulders of GM Koneru Humpy on the board number 3.
The equation was simple. Either a win or draw for Humpy meant India would enter the semifinal, while a loss for the veteran would push the match into a 3+2 Blitz tiebreak.
Humpy tried her best to hold a pawn down queen endgame, but the relentless Osmak Iulija maintained her composure to clinch the game and force the match into a tiebreak.
The tiebreak, however, had India written all over it. India did not lose a single game as Adhiban Baskaran, Harika Dronavalli, Nihal Sarin, Vaishali registered easy wins, while Vidit Gujarathi and Koneru Humpy drew their respective matches to ensure a safe passage to the semifinal for India.
India will now face either Kazakhstan or the USA in the semifinal.