The ongoing battle between India’s Vishakhapatnam and Russia’s Sochi has taken another twist with the return of their Indian opponents for their second round match.
The two-time Olympic champions lost their opening game to India 2-1 in Sochi, and the Russians then lost their final game to Ukraine 3-1.
However, in a move that could prove a huge boost for India, the pair played on Friday for the first time since the Sochi debacle, losing 2-0 in the second round.
Both India and the Russian federation are desperate to secure a place at the next Olympics in 2020, but a win over the likes of the likes.
Russia’s Igor Yevtushenko is the most experienced player in the two-man draw, having won the World Championship in 2011 and 2012, and is expected to make the squad.
The winner will have a spot in the Olympics, although India will also have to qualify for the World Chess Championship in 2019.
While the Indian team is now playing on its home turf, the Russians have made the most of their two-match break, winning both of their matches on the road.
The loss of their Russian opponent was a blow to their chances, with both players losing to world champions, Wesley So in the opening game and Sergey Karjakin in the final.
However the players who lost in Sochi did not suffer any ill effects from their break, as Vishakhaps players played well in their second match on Thursday.
In the first match, Sergey Karje won a game 1-0, but he was beaten 1-2 by Anish Giri.
In their second game, Vishakhpats Anand and Anil Giri lost to each other in a 1-1 draw, and both players played poorly in their final games.
The Russian players who were unable to get through to the second game were Nadezhda Grigorenko, who won a match 2-3, and Anish Mishra, who lost 2-2.
The latter player also lost to Anish in their third match, but lost 1-3.
The Russian team has played three games in one day in Sochi.
The Indian players have already started preparing for their next game, and have already been given the green light to go on to the next round.