India to take on China in online chess battle

India will take on China on the chessboard when the two sides clash at the Chess Olympiad on August 23.

Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy, two of the greatest players the game has seen, are the pillars of the Indian side participating at the Chess Olympiad.   -  FILE PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Come August 23, India and China will square off on the chessboard online. The match between the two Asian giants could produce some intense battles at the Chess Olympiad, which opens on Friday.

With the qualification phase coming to an end, the draw for the final phase has been made. India, which is directly seeded into the top division, finds itself in a tough group.

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China, the winner of both the open and women's sections at the 2018 Olympiad at Batumi (Georgia), may be the only side stronger on paper than India in Group A, but teams like Iran, Georgia and Germany are also fierce competitors.

This time around there is no separate competition for women. The teams, in fact, also have junior players.

Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy, two of the greatest players the game has seen, are the pillars of this strong Indian side. Skipper Vidit Gujrathi, P. Harikrishna, Dronavalli Harika, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa, Aravindh Chithambaram, R. Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni, Divya Deshmukh and Vantika Agrawal complete the squad.

Forty teams will play in the Olympiad's top division, which will go on till August 30. As many as 163 countries were in the fray when the qualifying rounds got underway on July 25.

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The 40 teams are split into four pools in the top division. Twenty five of them, like India, are seeded. Among them are the main contenders United States, China, Russia and Ukraine.

The top teams from each group will qualify straight for the quarterfinals, while those finishing second and third will battle in in playoffs for a place in the last eight. The semifinals will be played on August 29 and the final on the following day.

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