Former world champion Viswanathan Anand made a winning return to the FIDE Chess Olympiad after a gap of 12 years as he led India to a 3.5-0.5 win over Austria in the second round in Batumi, Georgia, on Tuesday.

Anand forced GM Markus Ragger to resign in a knight end game after 47 moves after Vidit Gujrathi had registered the team’s first full point by beating GM Andreas Diermair in just 32 moves.

With the tie already in India’s favour after B Adhiban split the point against IM Peter Schreiner, P Harikrishna, playing black on second board, came out triumph in a five-hour long battle against GM Valentin Dragnev to take India’s tally to 7 points from a possible eight and place them in 22nd position in the overall standings, one point adrift of the leading group.

The men’s team will now take on Cananda, who currently has a total of 5.5 points after two rounds.

While the men have dropped half a point each in the first two rounds, the women’s team continued their march as they blanked Venezuela 4-0 to stay in joint top spot with seven others.

Eesha Karvade started India’s dominance with a quick win over Tairu Manuela Rovira Contreras in 49 moves and then D Harika, Tania Sachdev and Padmini Rout also registered comfortable wins to complete the rout.

The Indian women, seeded fifth, will now face 23rd ranked Serbia (7 points) in what could be there first real test in the competition.