The US team fought back brilliantly after being trounced in Round 1 by India to win the second and the Blitz tie-break 4.5-1.5, emerging victorious in an exciting semi-final in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on Tuesday.
The Americans bounced back strongly after being outclassed in Round 1 by winning the second 4-2 to force a Blitz tie-break to decide the winner.
In the tie-break, Jeffrey Xiong, Ray Robson, Irina Krush and Thalia Cervantes Landeiro registered wins to set up a stunning 4.5-1.5 win for the US.
Harikrishna, playing on the top board in place of Viswanathan Anand, went down in 35 moves to Xiong, who had earlier shocked India’s No 1 (Anand) in round 2.
B Adhiban, who had done the star turn in India’s tie-break win over Ukraine on Monday, had no such luck on Tuesday as he was beaten by Robson.
Vaishali could not make much of an impression and went down to Cervantes Landeiro, while the country’s top woman player Koneru Humpy’s defeat at the hands of Krush crushed India’s hopes.
Harika won all her three matches on Tuesday but it could not help India advance to the summit clash.
In round 2, Xiong was the star for the US as he shocked former world champion Viswanathan Anand, while Robson Ray pulled off an important win over Vidit Gujrathi, playing on the second board in place of P Harikrishna.
Awonder Liong secured a crucial point by getting the better of Praggnanandhaa. D Harika continued her good run by beating Nazi Palkidze, while Koneru Humpy and R Vaishali drew against Irina Krush and Thaila Cervantes Landeiro, respectively.
Riding on Vaishali’s victory to open the scoring, Anand-led India romped to a 5-1 win in the first round.
After Vaishali gave India the first point beating Landeiro in 38 moves, Anand, Harikrishna and Harika added to the points posting wins over Jeffrey Xiong, Dairusz Swiercz and Anna Zatonskih, respectively.
In the Harika-Zatonskih match, the Indian player defended a difficult position before cashing in on an error by her opponent.
Konery Humpy drew with Irina Krush, while the young Nihal Sarin held Awonder Liang to a draw.
The US will face Russia who got the better of China in Wednesday’s finale.
Round 1: India beat US 5-1 (Anand beat Xiong, Harikrishna beat Swiercz, Humpy drew Krush, Harika beat Zatonskih, Sarin drew Liang, Vaishali beat Cervantes).
Round 2: India lost to US 2-4 (Anand lost to Xiong, Vidit Gujrathi lost to Robson, Humpy drew Krush, Harika beat Paikidze, Praggnanandhaa lost to Awonder Liang, Vaishali dew Cervantes Landeiro).
Blitz tie-break: India lost to US 1.5-4.5 (Harikrishna lost to Xiong, Adhiban lost to Robson, Humpy lost to Krush, Harika beat Paikidze, Sarin drew with Awonder Liang, Vaishali lost to Cervantes Landeiro).
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