KATHMANDU, Sept 14: Nepal’s hope of winning medal in the men’s section of the ongoing 42th Chess Olympiad received a big jolt after losing to Iraq in the final round of the tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday.
Nepali men’s team, which was in the second position in Group D, would have won medal had it collected a point out of four points available in the last two rounds. However, Team Nepal faced defeat in both rounds.
Keshav Shrestha and Sajin Maharjan both faced defeats in the 11th round matches against Iraqu opponents. Keshav, who is rated 2099, lost to 2161-rated Namir Mohammed Ismael while 2034-rated Sajin was beaten by 2251-rated Mohammed Zozek Salah Mohammed. Kshitiz Bhandari, rated 2013, was the only Nepali player to register victory as he defeated 2361-rated Al-Saffar Araz Basim Mohammed. Likewise, Bilam Lal Shrestha, rated 2017, shared points with 2236-rated Abdulwahhab Ahmed Abdulsattar after playing a draw.
In the overall tournament, Nepali men’s team registered wins against Jamaica, Malta, Jersey and the US Virgin Islands and played draw against South Korea. With four wins in the Olympiad, Nepal has improved its ranking from 127 to 120.
In the men’s section, two players Sajin and Kshitiz won the Candidate Master title and improved their ratings by 13 and 52 points respectively. Sajin had collected four points from 10 boards while Kshitiz earned five points.
Meanwhile, Nepali women’s team was held to a 2-2 draw by Aruba. Two Nepali players Sindira Joshi and Sujana Lohani recorded victories and other two players Ashmita Adhikari and Monalisa Khamboo faced defeats.
Sindira, who is rated 1574, overcame 1605-rated Caton Stacey and 1488-rated Sujana beat 1679-rated Jacobs Annelaine. In the same section, 1632-rated Ashmita faced defeat against 1928-rated Diaz Maria MA while 1740-rated Monalisa Khamboo was beaten by 1535-rated Arbona Avila Zaily.
Sujana Lohani became the first Nepali woman FIDE Master collecting seven personal points which is highest points collected by a Nepali chess player in the Olympiad.
USA claimed the first position in the men’s section while Ukraine and Russia remained in the second and third positions respectively. China grabbed first position in the women’s section while second and third places went to Poland and Ukraine respectively.