The India Women A Team victory march was halted with a 2-2 draw against second seed Ukraine, the squad boasting of two former Women World Champions, Mariya Muzychuk and Anna Ushenina. All the four encounters ended in deadlock, and India A continues to be in charge of the sole lead with 15 points while Georgia has inched closer, sitting on 14 points.
Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are bunched together in the third spot with 13 points each.
Just like Gukesh D in the open section, WIM Oliwia Kiolbasa (pictured below) of Poland also scored a fantastic 8/8 in the Women's competition.
The encounter between former Women's World Chess Champion Mariya Muzychuk and Humpy Koneru was much-awaited, and the former opted for the Nimzo Indian defence. After the massive exchanges, the opponents ended up in a rook and four pawns each drawish ending and signed peace on move 40.
Anna Muzychuk unleashed the prehistoric Italian Greco gambit against Harika Dronavalli on the second board. Harika played sensibly to complete development and quickly extinguished White's initiative. She had a good chance for advantage in the ending, but Anna found a way out in a pawn down opposite colour bishop ending and forced a draw on the move 49.
Vaishali R countered the Petroff Defence by Anna Ushenina with the Nimzowitsh attack but failed to gain any initiative. She slipped to a slightly inferior ending after simplifications and had to demonstrate good calculation and understanding of Rook endings to hold off Anna. Tania Sachdev and Nataliya Buksa played out a Ruy Lopez, which also failed to excite the spectators. The game petered out to a draw by repetition after massive exchanges on the queenside.
India C Team, seeded 16th, were no match for fourth-seeded Poland and went down 1-3. India B team seeded 11th, defeated Croatia 3.5-0.5, with Vantika Agrawal, Padmini Rout and Divya Deshmukh scoring victories and Mary Ann Gomes conceding a draw.
Complete results for round 8 can be found at the official website for the Olympiad, https://chessolympiad.fide.com/women-results.
Standings after round 8 can be found at https://chessolympiad.fide.com/women-standings
Photo: Photo: Lennart Ootes, Mark Livshitz and Stev Bonhage