The Indian women’s chess team endured mixed fortunes, winning the first two matches before being upstaged by Iran which pushed them to eighth spot after three rounds of the Asian Online Nations (Regions) Cup Team Championship on Sunday.
The team led by Mary Ann Gomes started with a 4-0 rout of Syria before edging Mongolia 2.5-1-5.
In the third round, the top-seeded Indians went down 1.5-2.5 to sixth-ranked Iran despite R Vaishali (Elo rating 2149) winning on the top board against Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, the highest-rated player in the event at 2393.
Bhakti Kulkarni and PV Nandhidhaa lost against Mobina Alinasab while Padmini Rout drew with Anousha Mahdian enabling Iran to pull off an upset.
In the second-round game against Mongolia, Vaishali lost to Batkhuyag Munguntuui while Rout and Gomes won and Kulkarni drew her match as India won narrowly.
With two victories, India have four Match Points (2 for a win and 1 in case of a draw) and lie eighth while third-seeded Kazakhstan are on top with 6 MPs, followed by Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia.
The tournament will resume on October 16 when the men’s matches (rounds four, five and six) will take place while women’s matches (fourth to sixth round) will be held on October 17.
Matches are being played over the weekend. The tournament is being played on a nine-round preliminaries system in both men’s and women’s division with a time control of 15 minutes (plus 5 seconds increment).
The top eight teams will qualify for the knockout stage. Each stage will be a duel of two matches.
Cash prizes worth USD 20,000 and gold, silver and bronze certificates as individual board prizes in the preliminary stages are up for grabs. The finals will be held on October 25.