No Surprises in the Women’s Olympiad as fancied teams have an easy ride

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Led by Koneru Humpy on the top board, the top-seeded Indian women’s team asserted their supremacy on the lower-ranked Tajikistan in the first round of the 44th Chess Olympiad that finally got underway on the Chess Board after a glittering opening ceremony on Thursday.

In what turned out to be a short hassle due to huge media present to cover the event, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Mr. Anurag Thakur – The Union Cabinet Minister for the Information and Broadcasting as well as Sports in India, Mr. S Meyyanathan, Sports Minister Tamil Nadu, Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, President AICF made the symbolic first moves on a few boards.

Meanwhile, there were no upsets on the opening day as almost all the seasoned teams scored identical 4-0 victories. Notable among them were second seed Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, France, Azerbaijan and USA. Teams like Germany, Armenia and Kazakhstan also maintained a clean slate winning all the games on all four boards.

The Chess Olympiad is a massive event having the participation of 185 countries in all the open and women’s section.

If the Indian eves were stretched a little by the Tajik women, second seed Ukraine was quite brutal in stamping their authority over South Africa.

Anna Mujychuk disposed of the challenge of Jesse February, a popular steamer and the current African champion, and Anna Ushenine coasted to a crushing victory over Badenhorst.

On the remaining two boards, it was also smooth sailing for the Ukrainian ladies that reminded them of their strong presence here in the absence of Russia and China.

Jesse February (RSA) lost to GM Anna Muzychuk (Ukr)
GM Anna Ushenina (Ukr) beat Badenhorst (RSA)
Selkirk (RSA) lost to N Buksa (Ukr)
Yuliia Osmak (Ukr) beat Denise Bouah

The Chess Olympiad is played under FIDE’s Swiss rules with 11 rounds, and the winner is awarded based on the match points. Each winning team comprising four participating plus one rested player, gets two match points for each win.

In case of a tied result after the end of the event, the game points (the total number of points scored by a team board by board) come into effect. If still tied, the tie is further resolved till a winner can be reached.

The winner of the last Olympiad, China, abstained from the event without assigning many reasons, but a general guess is the impact of Covid that stalled the chess activities and tournament for almost 18-20 months across the globe.

Russian women are the other notable absentees due to the sanctions by FIDE after the war with Ukraine. With China and Russia out of the fray, the focus is on the Indian team that is the top seed for the first time in the event ever. Apart from Humpy, a lot has been spoken about 8-month pregnant Harika, who decided to play.

A real challenge could also come from Georgia team, a former winner with some seasoned campaigners.

“This is the biggest platform in the world for chess players, and it gives me immense pleasure to launch the first move of the event. I have been Chairman of the last FIFA world cup in Russia, but Chess remains my first love. It is indeed a pleasure to see that the organization has made some great efforts to ensure maximum comfort in stay, a fantastic venue and some brilliant facilities”, sa

Tajikistan 0 – 4 India
Antonova Nadezhda 0 – 1 Koneru Humpy
Abrorova Sabrina 0 – 1 Vaishali R
Saidova Rukhshona 0 – 1 Tania Sachdev
Hotami Mutriba 0 – 1 Kulkarni Bhakti
2Ukraine 4 – 0 South Africa
Muzychuk Anna 1 – 0 February Jesse Nikki
Ushenina Anna 1 – 0 Badenhorst Chloe
Buksa Nataliya 1 – 0 Selkirk Rebecca
Osmak Yuliia 1 – 0 Bouah Denise
3Iraq 0 – 4 Georgia
Sara Masood Abdullah 0 – 1 Batsiashvili Nino
A-Ali Sali Abbas Abdulzahra 0 – 1 Javakhishvili Lela
Tiba Mahdi Attiyah 0 – 1 Melia Salome
Al-Fayyadh Yamama Asif Abdula 0 – 1 Arabidze Meri
4Poland 4 – 0 Syria
Socko Monika 1 – 0 Mahmoud Ola
Kiolbasa Oliwia 1 – 0 Ahmad Murad Fatema Alzahraa
Malicka Maria 1 – 0 Mahmoud Roula
Rudzinska Michalina 1 – 0 Khalil Manar
5Monaco 0 – 4 France
Dubois Martine 0 – 1 Guichard Pauline
Jose de Ribbegren Kenia 0 – 1 Milliet Sophie
Berezovska Svetlana 0 – 1 Savina Anastasia
Lebel-Arias Julia 0 – 1 Navrotescu Andreea
6Azerbaijan 4 – 0 United Arab Emirates
Balajayeva Khanim 1 – 0 Al Mansouri Moza
Beydullayeva Govhar 1 – 0 Al Maamari Wafia Darwish
Mammadova Gulnar 1 – 0 Almaini Aishah Sarhan
Fataliyeva Ulviyya 1 – 0 Rouda Essa Alserkal
7Puerto Rico 0 – 4 United States of America
Morales Santos Natasha 0 – 1 Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim
Vega Jimenez Keyshla M. 0 – 1 Krush Irina
Comas Colon Rinelly M. 0 – 1 Zatonskih Anna
Alvarado Perez Coralys M. 0 – 1 Abrahamyan Tatev
8Germany 4 – 0 Zambia
Paehtz Elisabeth 1 – 0 Mwango Lorita
Klek Hanna Marie 1 – 0 Bwalya Mulwale Lubuuto
Wagner Dinara 1 – 0 Mbatha Constance
Schneider Jana 1 – 0 Phiri Bertha
9Botswana 0 – 4 Armenia
Besa Masaiti 0 – 1 Danielian Elina
Marape Naledi 0 – 1 Sargsyan Anna M.
Banda Natalie Katlo 0 – 1 Mkrtchyan Mariam
Otisitswe Ruth 0 – 1 Gaboyan Susanna
10Kazakhstan 4 – 0 Guatemala
Abdumalik Zhansaya 1 – 0 Mazariegos Silvia Carolina
Assaubayeva Bibisara 1 – 0 Juarez Garcia Daniela
Balabayeva Xeniya 1 – 0 Natareno Elvia
Nakhbayeva Guliskhan 1 – 0 Lopez L. Dairyn D.