India Close In On Asian Nations Cup

India Close In On Asian Nations Cup
By Arvind Aaron

India closed in on winning the Asian Nations Cup by defeating Uzbekistan 2.5-1.5 in the eighth and penultimate round in the United Arab Emirates on April 4, 2016.

Riding on the back of Baskaran Adhiban’s 21-move brevity over Marat Dzhumaev in a Slav defence, Exchange variation, India extracted maximum two match points from this round.

Vidit, Sasikiran and Deep Sengupta drew to make India’s 2.5-1.5 victory certain in this match. However, the Chinese dominated the Mongolians 3.5-0.5 to prevent India from winning with a round to spare.

India leads with 15 points and China are on 13 in clear second place. Kazakhstan are in third place with 12 points. India needs a 2-2 draw in the final round against Vietnam to win this prestigious team event. India plays black in the top and third board in the final round.

Adhiban’s knight shot on move 20 helped him win black’s queen pawn in a tactic. Dzhumaev blundered a rook and Adhiban finished off with a brilliant bishop sacrifice also in the very next move to pilot India’s seventh win in eight matches.

India blanked UAE-2 in the women’s round eight pairing with Harika, Tania, Soumya and Bhakti winning. Padmini was rested. Top seed China moved into lead beating Vietnam 3.5-0.5. China has to thank Kazakhstan for beating leaders Uzbekistan 3-1. China leads with 13, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan are on 12 points, and India are on 11 points.

India has a chance of making it to the podium if they beat Iran in the final round. They have to rely heavily on Vietnam to defeat Kazakhstan.