Vidit Gujrathi: India among favourites in FIDE Online Olympiad

Seventh seed India will join the action in the inaugural FIDE Online Olympiad between August 21 and 23, almost a month after its commencement.

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi at the Tata Steel Chess India Tour-Rapid & Blitz tournament in Kolkata in 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/RAJEEV BHATT

 

Seventh seed India will join the action in the inaugural FIDE Online Olympiad between August 21 and 23, almost a month after its commencement.

The first-of-its kind team event, with 161 participating countries, started on Wednesday. The winner will be decided on August 30.

Speaking to Sportstar on Wednesday, the Indian team captain Vidit Gujrathi admitted he was still unclear about the format once India finishes with its engagements in the 25-team top division.

“When I checked on Tuesday, there were 40 teams in the top division, divided into four groups of 10 each. Now I discover the number of countries stands reduced to 25. As per the email from FIDE, the timings of the final phase of matches will be decided after ascertaining the time zones of the qualified teams," he said.

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Getting to lead the Indian team that includes his seniors like Viswanathan Anand, P. Harikrishna, K. Humpy and D. Harika is an honour for Vidit. It is also an opportunity to return with a medal.

“Without doubt, we are among the favourites. Our juniors are most talented and grossly under-rated (as per rapid ratings). The average rating of the team (2419) does not reflect our true playing strength. With Anand around, it will be a big plus for India.

“Since this is the first tournament of its kind (with each six-member team including men, women and juniors), still a lot of clarity is needed for every team before starting its campaign. All I know is, the time-control is 15 minutes on the clock for each player and five-second increment per move.

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“With Anand busy playing in the Legends of Chess, Hari away in Biel while Humpy and Harika are involved in speed chess, I am in touch with the junior members of the team.”

Talking about R. Vaishali, elevated as a reserve to Humpy and Harika after initially being considered as a junior playing-member, Vidit said, “she is obviously among the strongest junior girls in the game. As per the tournament rules, a junior member of the team can play as a senior, too. But the reverse is not permissible.”

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