Magnus Carlsen leads star-cast for Chess Olympiad

Carlsen, Mamedyarov, Giri among those confirmed for Olympiad; USA, China, France, and a few other participating teams are yet to submit their final lists.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen has regularly spearheaded Norway in the Chess Olympiad.   -  Getty Images

As widely anticipated, World champion Magnus Carlsen will lead the star cast of the world’s elite players when the Chess Olympiad takes place at Mahabalipuram, near Chennai, from July 28.

Carlsen, who has regularly spearheaded Norway in the world’s premier team event, Shakhariyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Anish Giri, Jorden van Foreest (Netherlands), Pavel Uljanov (Ukraine) and Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia) are among the confirmed names for the mega team competition.

With a week to go for the entries to close, about 158 nations in the Open section and 130 in the women’s category have communicated with the Organising Committee for the login details to register their teams. Entries received after May 27 and before June 27 attract a late-fee charge of EUR 100 per person.

Strong chess-playing countries like the USA, China, France and a few more are yet to submit their final lists. With Russia facing sanctions, Russian players could play under the FIDE flag.

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So far, besides India, teams from Norway and Netherlands look very formidable. Carlsen-led Norway comprises Aryan Tari and Jon Ludvig Hammer, both rated over 2600, while Johan-Sebastian Christiansen is just under 2600 and Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal is over 2550.

Netherlands, under Giri, will have the services of Foreest, Erwin L’Ami, Benjamin Bok and Max Warmerdam.

Armenia, without Levon Aronian who has moved to the USA, also looks very challenging with Sargissian, Hrant Melkumyan, Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and Manual Petrosyan.

Going by the average rating of the squads, Ukraine (2657), Georgia (2527) Armenia (2498) and the Netherlands (2482) could be considered tough opposition for the more serious title-aspirants in the Open section.

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