Sri Lankan women continue to impress

Ukraine seeded 5th beat top seed Russia 2.5-1.5 in the Open Section of the 42nd Chess Olympiad currently under way in Baku, Azerbaijan. The fourth round encounter featured top grandmasters from both teams, with the Russians fielding a team that was stronger one-on-one across all boards, at least on paper. Rusian Ponomariov and Andrei Volokitin beat Evgeny Tomashevsky and Alexander Grischuk respectively, both winners playing with the black pieces interestingly. Russian Ian Nepomniachtichi beat Anton Korobo while former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik was held to a draw by GM Pavel Eljanov.
In other results at the top of the draw, India beat Cuba (2.5-1.5) while second seed USA was held to a 2-2 draw by 17th seed Czech Republic. China beat Italy 3-1 while in a minor upset England, seeded 6th, went down to the 11th seed Netherlands 3-1.

The Sri Lankan men’s team held higher ranked Malta to a 2-2 draw. Awhile Kavinda and Rajeendra Kalugampitiya drew their games while Yasas Lamawansa won his second game in consecutive rounds.

At the end of 4 rounds only 6 teams remain unbeaten: China, Azerbaijan 1, Netherlands, India, Belarus and Ukraine.

Russia beat Hungary, Serbia beat Sweden and Ukraine beat France as expected following rating strengths while 31st seed Kazakhstan upset 12th ranked Lithuania.

Ukraine, Serbia, Russia and Kazakhstan are the only unbeaten teams in the Women’s Section at the end of the 4th round.
In the women’s section, Sri Lanka continued the dream run, drawing with Bolivia, ranked 39 places higher. Thirteen year old Tharushi Niklesha won her second game in a row, defeating Woman International Master Nataly Monroy who had a 500 plus point ELO advantage over her. Dasuni Mendis fought hard to convert a sight endgame advantage into a win while Ishini Wickramasinghe and Zainab Saumy lost their games.

Malinda Seneviratne reporting from Baku

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