Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran lost a crucial match, which resulted in Indian men’s team’s shock defeat at the hands of eighth seeded Armenia in the ninth round of the 43rd Chess Olympiad.

Sasikiran was key to India’s success till this round but he ran out of steam on a day when two main players Viswanthan Anand and P Harikrishna drew their games.

B Adhiban, in the absence of Vidit Gujrathi, played out a draw on board three to reduce the deficit margin to 1.5-2.5.

It turned out to be a bad day from Indian perspective overall as the women team played out a draw with lower-ranked Italian women.

Tania Sachdev, who had started with five victories in her first five games, crashed to her second defeat in a row and the victory by D Harika on second board could only prove to be the leveler once Koneru Humpy and Padmini Rout were held to draws by lower rated opponents.

With 13 points and two more rounds to go, the Indian men now need a miracle to reach the podium, a feat they achieved in 2014 in the absence of two best players Anand and Harikrishna.

In the last edition the Indian men had finished fourth with Harikrishna in the team.

Americans looked like they’d concede the lead to Poland as they were trailing 1-2 to Poland with top player Fabiano Caruana only assured of a draw on the top board.

Indian results (round 9)

Open: India (13) lost to Armenia (15) (V Anand drew with Levon Aronian, Gabriel Sargissian drew with P Harikrishna, B Adhiban drew with Hrant Melkumyan, Haik Martirosyan beat Krishnan Sasikiran).

Women: Italy (12) drew with India (12) (Olga Zimina drew with Koneru Humpy, D Harika beat Elena Sedina, Maria Brunello beat Tania Sachdev, D Movileanu drew with Padmini Rout.