Nepali teams fail to win trophies, return empty-handed from Azerbaijan

Kathmandu, September 14

The Nepali teams returned empty handed despite coming close of winning maiden medal in the 42nd Chess Olympiad held in Baku, Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

The men’s team failed to collect one point in the last two rounds. Nepal faced defeats against Chinese Taipei in the 10th round and lost to Iraq in the 11th, informed Nepal Chess Association General Secretary Herakaji Maharjan.

In the last match, Nepal faced a 2.5-1.5 defeat against Iraq. Kshitiz Bhandari beat International Master Araz Basim Mohammed, while Fide Master Bilam Lal Shrestha played a draw against FM Ahmed Abdulsattar.

Candidate Master Keshav Shrestha lost to CM Namir Mohammed Ismael and Sajin Maharjan suffered defeat against Zozek Salah Mohammed. The men’s team beat US Virgin Isles, Malta, Jersey and Jamaica, while it played a draw against South Korea. The results meant Nepal moved to 120th from 127th in the world ranking.

In Individual section, Sajin Maharjan and Kshitiz Bhandari earned titles of Candidate Master. Maharjan collected four points in 10 matches, while Bhandari earned 5.5 points in nine matches. Likewise, FM Bilam Lal Shrestha won six matches and shared points in a match.

In women’s team event, Nepal played a 2-2 draw against Aruba in the last match and finished on the sixth position in Group E. Sindira Joshi edged past Stacey Caton and Sujana Lohani saw off WCM Annelaine Jacobs. Ashmita Adhikari went down to WFM Maria Diaz and WCM Monalisa Khamboo lost to WCM Avila Zaily Arbona.

The women’s team beat Swaziland and Losotho and played 2-2 draws against Botswana, Guam, Pakistan and Aruba.

In Individual section, Lohani was the best performer as she became Nepal’s first Women FIDE Master. She collected seven points in nine matches. Lohani also became the Nepali player with highest point in the Olympiad. Previously, Manish Hamal had collected 6.5 points while earning the FM title at the 38th Chess Olympiad in Germany in 2008.