Asian Indoor Games: In chess events, Indians eye rich medal haul

Eyeing at least a medal in each of the 10 events in the Asian Indoor Games, a “well-prepared” the Indian chess contingent has reached Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The chess events will commence from Wednesday and end on September 27.   -  Special Arrangement

Eyeing at least a medal in each of the 10 events in the Asian Indoor Games, a “well-prepared” the Indian chess contingent has reached Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The chess events will commence from Wednesday and end on September 27. Two medals will be decided on September 24th and four each on 26th and 27th.

Though some of the higher-rated Indian players are missing from the list in each of the four sections, the presence of K. Sasikiran, Surya Sekhar Ganguly and G. N. Gopal raise hopes of a medal in each of the three events for men.

Similarly, veteran S. Vijayalakshmi, Tania Sachdev and Padmini Rout form a formidable squad in ladies section. In the under-23 section, where competitions will be held separately for men and women in two shorter time formats, two-time reigning National champion M. Karthikeyan represents the best medal hope. Fellow Grandmasters Vaibhav Suri and Diptayan Ghosh can also be among the medals. Should the trio of G. K. Monnisha, P. V. Nandhidhaa and Aakanksha Hagawane punch over their weight, the medals tally could go up.

The six-day preparatory camp, organised in the five-star comforts of capital’s Radisson Blu went off well under the supervision of Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh, without doubt, the best coach in the country. Sasikiran, however, did not attend the camp and reached the venue ahead of the squad.

Ramesh was satisfied with the way the camp progressed. “At this level, there is no ‘coaching’ involved at such camps. The idea is to get the team members together, work on solving various chess problems, ensure that they all jell well and the team spirit is high. The camaraderie in the team was great and I am sure the players could sharpen their skills to meet the challenges.”

Since the camp involved more, in the form of yoga classes apart from psychology sessions (under noted Sports psychologist Dr. Vaibhav Agashe), the players understandably had additional takeaways.

For Ganguly, “it was nice to work on certain (chess) ideas and the going by the involvement and intensity of every member present, makes me believe that if we give our best (at the Games), we should return with a few medals.”

China and Vietnam will the main contenders for the medals. Should India play to its potential, a good medal haul is possible.

“I don’t look at medals,” said Ramesh and elaborated, “for me, the performances matter, in terms of quality. Moreover, if the performances are solid, it gets translated into medals. But I am the not the one to predict medals.”

 

The Indian participants:

Standard team (Men): Surya Shekhar Ganguly and K. Sasikiran. (Women): Tania Sachdev and S. Vijayalakshmi.

Rapid team: Ganguly and G. N. Gopal; (women): Tania and Padmini Rout.

Blitz team: (men): Ganguly and Sasikiran; (women): Tania and Padmini.

Rapid team: Under-23 (men): M. Karthikeyan and Diptayan Ghosh; (women): G. K. Monnisha and Aakanksha Hagawane.

Blitz team: Under-23 (men): Diptayan Ghosh and Vaibhav Suri; (women): P. V. Nandhidhaa and Aakanksha.

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