India grabbed the top position in Group B at the Fide Online chess Olympiad after winning three matches in the Top Division on Thursday. The team led by former world champion Viswanathan Anand edged Belarus 3.5-2.5 after outclassing Shenzhen China 5-1 and Azerbaijan 4-2. India, joint winner of the title in 2020, lead the points table at the end of six rounds with 11 points ahead of Hungary, also on 11 on the basis of a better tie-break-2 score.
India have won five matches and drawn one so far.
France trails in third place with eight points while Azerbaijan is fourth with seven points.
A team gets two points for a win and one for a draw. The top two teams from the group advance to the play-offs.
In the match against Belarus, skipper Anand got the team off to a good start, beating Aleksej Aleksandrov taking advantage of an early blunder by his opponent.
Bhakti Kulkarni played a key role, posting a win over Kseniya Norman.
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Tania Sachdev drew their games while R Praggnanandhaa went down to Denis Lazavik. R Vaishali stole a draw in the final match against Kseniya Zelintsova to help India win 3.5-2.5.
Earlier in the fifth round, Anand was held to a draw by Teimour Radjabov and Vidit Gujrathi shared honours with higher-rated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov before Koneru Humpy scored over Gunay Mammadzada.
Young GM Nihal Sarin recorded an important victory, getting the better of Vugar Asadli while D Harika and R Vaishali secured draws.
The strong Indian team had started the day with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Shenzhen China with Humpy’s loss at the hands of Xue Zhao being the setback.
There were wins for P Harikrishna on the top board, B Adhiban, Bhakti Kulkarni, Nihal Sarin and Vaishali.
Sixth round: Beat Belarus 3.5-2.5 (V Anand beat Aleksej Alexsandrov, Vidit Gujrathi drew Alexei Fedorov, Tania Sachdev drew Aliaksandra Tarasenka, Bhakti Kulkarni beat Kseniya Norman, R Praggnanandhaa lost to Denis Lazavik, Vaishali drew with Kseniya Zeliantsova).
Fifth round: Beat Azerbaijan 4-2 (Anand drew Radjabov, Vidit Gujrathi drew Mamedyarov, Humpy bt Gunay Mammadzada, Harika drew Guinar Mammadova, Sarin beat Vugar Asadli, Vaishali drew Khanim Balajayeva).
Fourth round: Beat Shenzhen China 5-1 (Harikrishna beat Zeng Chongsheng, Adhiban beat Yu Ruiyan, Humpy lost to Xue Zhao, Bhakti Kulkarni beat Xu Tong, Sarin beat Xue Haowen, Vaishali beat Lin Xinyu).