India added a third women's team on Thursday to make it an even number of entries in the Chess Olympiad beginning at Mahabalipuram on July 28.
The members of India C team are, Eesha Karavade, M Varshini Sahiti, Pratyusha Bodda, P V Nandhidhaa and Varsha Vasnawala. Grandmaster Shyam Sundar could be the coach.
Meanwhile, the seeding in the open section saw a change when India replaced Azerbaijan as the second seed behind favourite USA.
The change in seeding was forced following the withdrawal of Azerbaijani strongman Teimour Radjabov.
As a result of the average rating of Azerbaijan placing it sixth on the seeding list, Norway, Spain and Poland now occupy third to fifth places.
Chess Olympiad bound WGM B. Pratyusha and Sahithi Varshini weigh in about the tournament
“It is a dream come true for me having played my only Olympiad in 2016 in Baku. I am excited at being part of this really tough championship,” 25-year-old WGM B. Pratyusha, who was one of the two Telugu-speaking girls (the other being Sahithi Varshini from Visakhapatnam) picked to represent India C in the Chess Olympiad in Mahabalipuram from July 28.
“The Olympiad should motivate me further to work hard. There is no better joy than representing your country in any event,” City-based Pratyusha said in a chat with ‘The Hindu’ on Friday
“Because of my coaching and professional commitments I had a break in the competitive circuit. But, this huge opportunity should also help me make a critical assessment of where I stand,” she said.
“My strong point is I am less stressed due to previous experience. And, having started Pratyusha International Chess Academy here teaching kids, my overall game has really improved and also the way I look at the game and strategies now,” Pratyusha said“I am not sure about the prospects as there will be very strong teams in the fray. But, you still never know, there can be surprises,” she said.
“Yes, having said that, honestly this opportunity has come as a huge surprise and I have only a few days left to interact with my teammates in Team C,” Pratyusha said. “But, the senior men’s and women’s teams
chances of winning are very bright because of the high standards set by them,” she said.
For her part, 14-year-old WIM Sahithi Varshini said it was great to get the chance to play for India and at home.
“It is a great motivation to play in an event which features two of the best women players Humpy and Harika and other big names from abroad,” she said
“I look at this as a huge honour and also an opportunity to move closer to realising my goal of becoming a GM,” Sahiti said. “Yes, definitely, the senior men’s and women’s teams are strong medal contenders for sure while it is a platform for us to master some of the finer aspects of the game,” she concluded.