Led by International Master R Vaishali on the third board, top-seeded Indian eves won their sixth straight match, defeating former champions Georgia in the sixth round of the 44th chess Olympiad here at the Four Points by Sheraton.
The early indications gave an even fight between the two teams but Vaishali proved to be the key factor as she cruised to a fine victory at the expense of experienced International Master Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia.
The Berlin defence has a solid reputation, but on this day, Vaishali was well-prepared to punish it. The symmetrical set-up by the Indian gave her a tiny but lasting advantage in the middle game, and the Georgian felt the heat as her pieces gasped for breath. Finding some solace in an exchange that cost her two pieces for a rook, Javakhishvili fought on, but Vaishali was relentless and romped home in 36 moves.
Grandmaster D Harika played out an easy draw with Nino Batsiashvili on the second board. The mother-to-be Indian kept things under check right from the word go with black pieces, and routine exchange of pieces led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame where neither player had any hesitation in signing the peace treaty.
On the top board, Indian ace Koneru Humpy had things under control and the consistent threat of pawn promotion from the advanced passer on the queenside forced nana to resign on the move 42. The win will bolster Indian chances as well as confidence in the rounds to come. In the other for the Indian A team, Tania Sachdev was held her forte quite nicely against Salome Melia and the game was agreed a draw on the 35th move. On the second board underdog and outperformed 20th seed Romania took on the second-seeded Ukraine and settled for a 2-2 draw in the end.
Irina Bulmaga playing against GM and former women’s world champion Mariya Muzychuk played innovative and fearless attacking chess from the word go. Irina sacrificed an exchange to break through the centre on move 27 and had winning chances in the ensuing ending. Mariya had to summon all her defensive skills to draw the inferior ending.
Sandu Mihaela faced the elder of the Muzychuk sisters on the second board. Anna, only the fourth woman in chess history to attain a FIDE rating of at least 2600, played an aggressive game pushing pawns on the kingside from the white side in a Ruy Lopez and achieved a lasting initiative against the black king and forced resignation before the first time control.
Romania holds the mighty Ukraine to a 2-2 score and remains in the hunt for a podium finish.
In a high stake clash, top teams Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan resulted in a 3-1 triumph for the former after the top two boards ended in draws.
On the third board, Gulnar Mammodova held her nerves for the Azerbaijanis and came out on top against Zeniya Balabayeva in a complex French defence game where the latter played black. On the fourth board, Fataliyeva Ulviyyan outwitted Nakhbayeva Guliskhan to hand the match 3-1 in favour of Azerbaijan.
With five rounds still to come in the biggest chess extravaganza on the planet India A on 12 match points, has a full point lead over Romania and Azerbaijan, who both have 11 match points. The battle now resumes after the lone rest day that will be preceded by the famous Bermuda party for the players and enthusiasts on late Wednesday night.
Complete results for round 6 can be found at the official website for the Olympiad, https://chessolympiad.fide.com/women-results.
Standings after round 6 can be found at