GUANGZHOU: Despite K Sasikiran’s stalemate with a player ranked far below him, Indian men managed to outsmart Kyrgistan 3.5-0, while their women counterparts defeated Turkmenistan by a similar scoreline, on the opening day of team chess competition in the Asian Games on Thursday.

Sasi, the tournament’s second seed with a rating of 2688, was held by Nurdin Samakov (2380) after P Harikrishna gave India a 1-0 lead by beating Algis Shakuraliev.

G N Gopal and B Adhiban made sure that the early lead was converted into a winning one by getting the better of their respective rivals Nasyr Akylbekov and Semet Tologontegin.

Indian men stood tied in third place with Vietnam after the first-round win, with Iran and Qatar in joint lead with four points each.

Sasi said his opponent defended stoutly to earn a draw. “I could have won, but unfortunately, I didn’t seize the chance. My opponent defended quite well,” he said, adding the target was the team gold after a blank in the individual event.

“We hope we can get to the final. The best (expectation) of course would be to win the gold medal.”

He rated hosts China as the biggest threat. “The biggest (threat) is the Chinese team,” he said. The women, even in the absence of individual silver medallist Dronavalli Harika, were too good, with Tania Sachdev, Meenakshi Subbaraman and Nisha Mohota, winning their ties, while Eesha Karavade was held to a draw by her Turkmenistan rival Mekhri Geldiyeva.

The women were in fifth position with 3.5 points, behind joint leaders Bangladesh, China, Iran and Uzbekistan.

Sixteen teams are in fray for medals in the men’s section, while a dozen women outfits are vying for honours.