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Chess Olympiad: Indian teams breeze past their opponents



Chess Olympiad

Chennai, Sep 24 (IANS) Resting five times World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, the fifth seeded Indian chess team under the open category breezed past the 94th seeded El Salvador scoring 3.5-05 points at the 43rd World Chess Olympiad held at Batumi, Georgia.

In the open category Indian Grand Masters (GM) P. Harikrishna, Vidit Santhosh Gujrathi and B. Adhiban finished their games quickly while GM K. Sasikiran took 52 moves to draw his game.

Similarly the Indian women’s team seeded fifth defeated 78th seeded New Zealand 4-0, resting one of the top players GM Harika Dronavalli.

GM Koneru Humpy, International Masters (IM) Eesha Karavade and Padmini Rout won against their New Zealand opponents quickly. On the other hand, IM Tania Sachdev had to sit more time before the chess board to wrapping up the game in her favour.

Meanwhile blind chess player Vaishali Narendra Salavkar, the first Indian female to be part of the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) Olympiad team won her game against her opponent from Sierra Leone. The IBCA team won 4-0.

Contrary to the earlier expectation that the players would sit in the descending order of their ELO rating points, the Captain of the Indian team in the open category made a change with regard to the fourth board.

As per the final board order, Anand plays on the first board, Harikrishna Aon the second board and Gujrathi on the third board.

The surprise switch is on the fourth board where Adhiban is playing instead of higher rated Sasikaran.

The fixed board order is the order in which the team players would occupy the playing table. Once it is finalised and submitted to the Olympiad organisors, it could not be changed.

The playing team consists of four players and the fifth player will be the reserve.

“Sasikiran is a solid positional player and is akin to what Rahul Dravid in cricket. But Adhiban is the equivalent of flamboyant cricket opener K. Srikkanth,” a senior chess player and a coach told IANS preferring anonymity.

He said normally the opponents on the lower boards are lower rated and slightly weaker.

“One of the strategies is to have an aggressive player at the lower end than to have a solid player who would play steadily,” he said.

He also said during the initial rounds Anand may be rested as a result the other players would move up on the board order leaving the fourth board for Sasikiran.

“This way there will be a strong Indian team,” he added.

An email to Indian team captain Ramesh on the team’s board order remain unacknowledged.

In the women’s team, the board order has been finalized in the descending order of the player’s rating viz Humpy, Dronavalli, Sachdev, Eesha and Rout.


2nd ODI: Dominant India look to extend winning streak against hapless Windies



India vs west indies 2nd odi

Visakhapatnam, Oct 23: Their batting in red-hot form, hosts India will look to extend their dominance and take a 2-0 lead against the West Indies when the two sides lock horns in the second One-day International (ODI) here on Wednesday.

In the five-match series, Virat Kohli and Co. have won the first ODI in Guwahati with ridiculous ease despite the Windies managing to post a mammoth total of 322/8 thanks to Shimron Hetmyer’s swashbuckling century.

Rohit Sharma (151 not out) and Virat Kohli (140) helped the hosts gun down the target with 47 balls to spare, smashing a few records in the process.

If captain Kohli adds another 81 runs to his already peerless tally, he will become the fastest batsman to 10,000 runs in this format, surpassing batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar took 259 innings to reach the landmark while Kohli has so far batted 204 times.

On a flat deck, Indian bowlers did not fare well but the top order took the game away from their rivals in style.

Under fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni will look to get some runs in the second ODI but against this toothless Windies attack, it is unlikely whether the veteran stumper, who is not in the best of form, will get an opportunity to bat.

India could draft in chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who did not play in the opening game, to replace Khaleel Ahmed, who looked out of sorts against Hetmyer.

For the visitors, the seasoned Marlon Samuels is part of the squad but he perished quickly in the first match.

He would look to make up for his failure, just like India’s Shikhar Dhawan.

Pace spearhead Kemar Roach is back after missing the Test series due to bereavement in the family, but he could not inspire the team first up.

Roach will get another opportunity on Wednesday, and so will the likes of Devendra Bishoo, and skipper Jason Holder himself.


India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul.

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.


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Real Madrid’s Isco backs coach, squad after rocky start to season



Isco Alarcon

Madrid, Oct 22 : Real Madrid midfielder Isco Alarcon on Monday said he has confidence in his coach Julen Lopetegui and the rest of his squad despite the rocky start to the football season.

The Spain international spoke alongside Lopetegui at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Czech club Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League group stage, reports Efe.

“It would seem crazy to throw out Lopetegui,” Isco asserted in a strong defence of his former coach at the Spanish national team.

After winning only five of 12 games since Lopetegui took the helm this season, media speculation has said the Spanish coach’s exit may be imminent, particularly in light of the current five-game winless skid.

“We have to let (him) work, we’ve only had two months. If they throw out the coach, they have to throw us all out because we are the ones on the field, we have to score and defend,” he added.

“We give everything and when we don’t get the result we want, we go away feeling bad. It’s everyone’s responsibility, not just the coach,” Isco asserted.

“It’s not easy to take this many bad results. I’ve been here for six seasons and I’ve also experienced bad times, and we’ve managed to turn things around,” Isco said.

“We have to find the balance to try to correct defensive errors that are costing us games. It’s those details that make the result,” Isco explained.

Asked about the absence of former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco said “We cannot cry over someone who did not want to be here.”

After two matches, Real Madrid is currently third in Champions League Group G with three points, right behind Roma.

The two teams are tied when it comes to points, but the Italian team’s higher number of goals scored gives it an edge in the standings.

CSKA Moscow leads the group with four points, while Viktoria Plzen is at the bottom with one point.

In La Liga, Real Madrid is seventh in the table with 14 points, four points behind league leader Barcelona.

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Punia enters World wrestling semis

In a thrilling quarterfinal, the Indian held the upper hand until the last minute, leading 4-1.



Bajrang Punia

Budapest, Oct 21 : Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia beat Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia 5-3 to enter the semifinals of the men’s 65 kg Freestyle category at the World Wrestling Championships here on Sunday.

In a thrilling quarterfinal, the Indian held the upper hand until the last minute, leading 4-1.

But Punia conceded to his Mongolian opponent three crucial points, including one for the neutral position and two for the takedown within 40-odd seconds, which almost stopped the Indian’s progress.

But luckily, Punia held his nerves and even thwarted a challenge by the Mongolian in the last second, thus earning an additional point for the CWG gold medallist.

The Indian will take on Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba in the semifinals.

Earlier, Punia defeated Roman Asharin 9-4 in the first round and beat Korean Lee Seungchul 4-0 in a bout which saw both grapplers threading cautiously.

After having earned three points in the first period, Punia added just one more in the second even as the Korean was concentrating more on his defence.

In other freestyle bouts of the day, Sandeep Tomar scored an excellent first-round win over his Guatemala opponent Jose Mox Arias with a score of 10-0, six of his points coming in the second period.

He, however, lost the second round to Azerbaijan’s Giorgi Edisherashvili 2-2 — his opponent was declared as the winner because of a warning which the Indian received in the first period.

Sachin Rathi lost his first round 92 kg category bout 1-13 to Mongolian wrestler Unurbat Purevjav, the latter outclassing the Indian in the second period.

On the other hand, Deepak, who received a first-round bye, lost 0-4 to Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine in the second round.

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