India defeated France 3-1 in the fifth and final round, riding on wins from Bhakti Kulkarni and Mary Ann Gomes, to finish second in Pool A and qualify for the quarterfinals of the FIDE World Women's Team Chess Championship here on Wednesday. (More Sports News)
India will take on Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. The India-France match saw Kulkarni get the better of Natacha Benmesbah in a 51-move encounter while Woman Grandmaster Gomes defeated IM Silvia Alexieva, also in 51 moves.
GM D Harika, the top Indian player, shared honours with Marie Sebag in a 45-move game while Tania Sachdev drew with Andreea Navrotescu in 34 moves.
The other last eight matches are: Russia vs Americas, Ukraine vs Armenia and Georgia vs Azerbaijan. Earlier in the fourth round, India lost 1-3 to the top-seeded Russia late on Tuesday.
Harika held Aleksandra Goryachkina to a draw as did Mary Ann Gomes against Polina Shuvalova but Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali suffered defeats. In the third round, the Indian women had beaten a strong Armenia 2.5-1.5.
India finished the league phase with three wins, a draw and a loss.