Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Chennai will host the 44th Chess Olympiad in July this year.
The World Chess Federation (FIDE), awarded the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to host the biggest chess spectacle in the world, with likely participation of over 150 Countries .
AICF, with Tamil Nadu Govt. has decided to host the event near Mahabalipuram in Chennai to ensure a picturesque sight and great facilities for the participating countries.
The Olympiad, originally scheduled to be held in Moscow, Russia at the same time had to be shifted by FIDE due to the current political situation.
As FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich started looking for possible venues, India was amongst the first to propose to host the event and it was granted in a special meeting held by FIDE on last evening.
In the last edition at Batumi in Georgia in 2018, there were 185 participating countries. FIDE has increased membership since then and there is every chance that we will beat the Batumi record by a few more countries participating.
It may be recalled that the biennial event could not be held in 2020 due to Covid-19 and it was organized online.
“It’s a matter of great pride and responsibility that we are entrusted with and we are committed to make it a grand success. The entire Chess fraternity of the country is ready to come together for this. This event is here because of our chess family. Let’s celebrate this together”, said AICF President Sanjay Kapoor.
“All the countries of the world now have this great opportunity to come under one roof in the country where Chess was born “ added AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan
The event is held over 11 rounds in both open and Women category with likely participation of over 2000 players. This is a team event with five players and one trainer allowed per team in both the sections.
The participants list in a virtual who’s who of the chess world in the Olympiad. World Champion Magnus Carlsen has often turned out to play for Norway and almost every top player of the world is present in this event to represent their country.
Team India was the joint winner of the Gold medal in the last Olympiad that was organized online. This time the team will be led by Viswanathan Anand who will have the support of P Harikrishna and Vidit Gujarathi for sure.
The other two members are still unclear but young guns like Arjun Erigaise, Nihal Sarin and some truly special players like B Adhiban, Sasikiran and few others have a strong case.
In the women’s section too Indian eves will be amongst the front runners with Koneru Humpy on the top and D Harika, and R Vaishali as nearly confirmed participants. The other two places up for grabs have Tania Sachdev as a strong candidate while Bhakti Kulkarni and few others will try to be part of the team.
As host, India is entitled to field an additional team and this could likely go to Indian juniors or the India ‘B’ team in both sections. The final decision will be taken by AICF on May 1, in this regard.
The final decision for the team selection in open will be taken on May 1, 2022 as per AICF rules