Koneru Humpy leads India to FIDE Online Chess Olympiad final with Armageddon win

Koneru Humpy, seen in action during the Asian Indoor Games in Macau in 2007, made a comeback to chess after her maternity leave only in September 2018. AFP PHOTO/Ted ALJIBE

Koneru Humpy beat Monika Socko in a nervy tie-break to help India pip Poland in the semifinals and reach the final of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on Saturday. This is the first time India have made the final of the Olympiad. India's previous best finish at the tournament was a bronze medal in 2014.

After the two teams won one round each in regular play, world rapid champion Humpy was pitted against Socko for the Armageddon (a tie-break), and the Indian beat her rival in style with black pieces to clinch a spot in the final for her side.

India will play the winner of the other semifinal between Russia and the USA, in the summit clash on Sunday.

It was, however, not an easy job for the Indian team as it lost the first round 2-4 before bouncing back strongly in the second with a crushing 4.5-1.5 win. Humpy did the rest in the match-deciding tie-break.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand got a much-needed win over Jan-Krzystof Duda in 78 moves in the second round after losing to his opponent in the first round.

Captain Vidit Gujrathi led the way with a win over Gzegorz Gajeswki while Humpy and D Harika also posted victories. Young prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, who replaced Nihal Sarin, was beaten by Igor Janik while Vantika Agrawal drew with Alicja Silwicka.

In the first round, Anand was tamed by Duda while Gujrathi lost to Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Divya Deshmukh was beaten by Alicja Silwicka.

Humpy and Harika drew against Socko and Karina Cyfika respectively while Sarin posted the only win for India, beating Igor Janik, in the first round.