India defeated France in a thrilling tie-breaker to enter the semi-finals of the FIDE World Team Chess Championship in Jerusalem. After the two sets of games were split by the teams by a 3-1 margin, the Indians won the blitz tie-break 2.5-0.1.5. Nihal Sarin and SL Narayanan did the star early on Thursday with wins over Jules Moussard and Laurent Fressinet respectively. India’s best player Vidit Gujrathi held top French star Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to a draw in 45 moves while veteran K Sasikiran was beaten by Maxime Lagarde in 55 moves, but Sarin and Narayanan’s wins sufficed.
India will face Uzbekistan in the semifinals on Thursday evening.
Earlier in the first of the two matches, Gujrathi recorded a victory over Lagrave, defeating Narayanan Fressinet. Draws for Sarin and Sasikiran ensured a comprehensive 3-1 victory.
France turned the tables in the second match, with Lagrave beating Gujrathi and Fressinet beating Naryanan. Sarin and Sasikiran tied their higher-rated opponents, Moussard and Tigran Gharamian. The two wins and the 3-1 win helped the Frenchman tie the quarter-final.
Uzbekistan won the first game 3-1 against Ukraine and took the next 2.5-1.5 to march into the semi-finals.
Spain and Azerbaijan tied their first game 2-2 and matches on all four boards ended in draws before the first claimed the second 2.5-1.5 to set up a semi-final against China, a winner of Poland.
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