Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, P Harikrishna, and K Sasikiran registered wins as India coasted to 3.5-0.5 win over Canada in the third round of the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi,Georgia, on Wednesday.
The women, who were leading the pack after two rounds, would have D Harika to thank as the Grandmaster pulled out a creditable victory after five hours of play to beat Eric Jovana to help the team hold Serbia 2-2. After Koneru Humpy had given India the lead, Eesha Karavade and Padmini Rout suffered defeats to Adela Velekic and Teodora Injac respectively and the fifth seeds were on the verge of suffering their first loss in the competion before Harika turned things around.
The women will now play Poland in the fourth round.
In the open section, veteran Anand, playing black, defeated Grandmaster Eric Hansen in 33-moves, thereby continuing his winning streak in the tournament. India no 2 Harikrishna also completed his win by 33 moves, beating Razvan Pretolu while playing with white pieces. This was the 32-year-old’s third straight win in Batumi.
Anand was in fine form in the second round after he forced GM Markus Ragger to resign in a knight end game after 47 moves in his first game of the tournament during India’s 3.5-0.5 win over Austria.
Sasikiran, who came in place of GM G Adhiban, dispatched Aman Hambleton to give India a 3-0 lead. On the third board, Vidit Gujarati held Evgeny Bareev to a draw in a marathon contest.
The 2014 bronze medallist will now face their first real challenge in the competition as they face top seeds USA in the fourth round.