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World Team Chess: SL Narayanan wins bronze even as India finish fourth
SL Narayanan won an individual bronze medal even as India went down against Spain in the third-place playoff at the 2022 World Team Chess Championships.
India lost 1-3 to Spain in the blitz tie-break after the two-round bronze medal play-off ended in a tie at the FIDE World Team chess Championship on Saturday.
In both the rounds, the teams played out 2-2 draws. But Jaime Santos Latasa and David Anton Guijarro defeated Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Nihal Sarin respectively in the blitz tie-break to give Spain the advantage.
S L Narayanan drew with Alexei Shirov and Abhijeet Gupta held Miguel Santos Ruiz in the other games. This gave Spain victory by a 3-1 margin early on Saturday.
In the first round, Gujrathi, playing with black, drew Santos Latasa while Sarin signed peace with Guijarro in the last game of that match. The two other games Narayanan vs Daniil Yuffa and Gupta against Santos Ruiz too ended in draws.
The pattern was repeated in the second round too as games on all the four boards involving the same players ended in draws.
Spain took the tie-break for a 4-2 victory and win its first-ever medal in a team competition.
SL Narayanan wins individual bronze
The loss notwithstanding, India did have something to cheer for on the final day of the global event as GM SL Narayanan bagged the individual bronze for his exploits.
Plying his trade on the third board, Narayanan performed at an average rating of 2716 - a number much higher than his current FIDE rating of 2588 in rapid chess. Out of the 10 rapid games he played, Narayanan finished with 5 wins, 4 draws and a solitary loss in the tournament.
He also won a blitz game in the tiebreak against France during the quarterfinals, while also drawing the blitz tiebreak against Spain the bronze-medal match.