Mamallapuram, July 27
Chess Olympiad fever peaks here with the Indian teams appearing primed for glory in the 44th edition of the prestigious event which starts tomorrow.
With powerhouses Russia and China not participating, India will be fielding three teams each in the open and women’s sections, respectively. The upcoming edition has attracted a record 188 teams in the open section and 162 in the women’s.
Though the five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand has chosen not to play and donned the mentor’s hat this time, the Indians, nonetheless, wear a formidable look. The Indian A team, seeded second behind the star-studded USA, is likely to be among the main challengers for the top prize along with Magnus Carlsen-led Norway and Azerbaijan. The youthful India B squad, coached by RB Ramesh, is seeded 11th and can be counted among the dark horses.
A big chance
The absence of both Russia and China has opened the door for other nations to go for glory.
For instance, the Americans boast a line-up that includes the likes of Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Levon Aronian, Sam Shankland and Leinier Dominguez with an average ELO rating of 2,771 should be considered the hot favourite simply on the basis of the gulf (in average rating).
However, in a team event, especially the Olympiad, teamwork is key apart from the form of the players.
India secured bronze in the last edition. This time the they have a huge opportunity to claim gold. — PTI
They are playing for:
Vera Menchik Cup
Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy
Number of teams: Open: 188, women: 162
Format of the event: Classical Swiss league
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