Viswanathan Anand will not feature in the 20-member Indian squad chosen for the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad.

All India Chess Federation (AICF) divided the squad into four teams - two in the open section and two in the women's section.

Having chosen not to participate, Anand will mentor the team for the Olympiad which will be held in Chennai for the first time.

“I am playing very few events these days and after playing many Olympiads, I thought it was time for the younger ones to play. India has many talented youngsters like Nihal, Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Arjun and a few more,” Anand said.

READ | India to field 20-member squad for 44th Chess Olympiad, its biggest ever

Grandmaster and coach R.B. Ramesh said in a Twitter Spaces conducted by AICF on Monday, "According to what I understand, the team is chosen based on the average of the previous three months' ratings, and Vishwanathan Anand is the first candidate for the team, so he was given the opportunity to play, but it was his personal choice."

"I may be wrong, but as fans, we have to respect his decision, even though I am a huge fan of Anand myself, and we should not force our views on him, that is my personal opinion."

Selection criteria for FIDE Olympiad

A number of factors have gone into the selection of the squad including average ratings for the months of March, April, and May, a requirement of minimum activity of nine games in the last few months not necessarily in any particular format to name a few.

READ | Viswanathan Anand: USA team is breathtaking, favourites for Chess Olympiad

Updates on Asian Games

While the focus is the Olympiad which gets underway on July 28 and goes on till August 10, preparation for the Asian Games will also be on the to-do list for the contingent.

Rising COVID-19 cases in China have cast a shadow on the 19th edition of the Games scheduled to be held in Hangzhou.

"There hasn't been any particular update so far as I understand the Asian Games will go on as scheduled on the scheduled dates. As far as the team selection for the Asian Games is concerned, I'm not sure if we have an official announcement for that yet," said GM Srinath Narayanan, who will be coaching the Indian teams alongside RB Ramesh for the Olympiad.