Chess Olympiad promises plenty of thrills online

On Friday, the top division of the online Olympiad will kick off and India is one of 25 teams seeded directly to the final stage of the tournament.

India chess great Viswanathan Anand will be part of the Chess Olympiad.   -  FILE PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES


Every two years, a large number of chess players, ranging from lower-rated players to World champions, would assemble for the Chess Olympiad. It is the mind sport's answer to tennis's Davis and Fed Cups.

The 44th edition of the Olympiad was scheduled to have been held in Russia around this time, but world chess governing body FIDE has had to postpone it till next year following the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead, an online Olympiad is being organised. Its qualifying event had opened on July 25.

On Friday, the top division of the Olympiad will kick off. India is one of 25 teams seeded directly to the final stage. Fifteen teams have come through the qualifiers.

READ| Humpy: China will pose tough challenge in Chess Olympiad

With a strong, experienced squad comprising Viswanathan Anand, Koneru Humpy, Pendyala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, Dronvalli Harika, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa, R. Vaishali, Arvindh Chithamabram, Bhakti Kulkarni, Divya Deshmukh and Vantika Agrawal, India is among the medal contenders.

The seventh seed though has to first come through from a tough group, in which it is pooled with the likes of China, one of the strong favourites, Iran, Georgia, Germany and Vietnam. Anand said it was going to be a tough Olympiad and had been looking forward to it.

The 40 teams are divided into four pools. The knock-out phase will begin on August 27. The final is scheduled for August 30.

The time control is 15 minutes plus five seconds per move.

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