Adhiban: 'A team medal would have been the icing on the cake'

India lost to Russia in the final round to finish fourth overall in the World Team chess championship on Thursday. But B. Adhiban and Surya Shekhar Ganguly won the individual gold medals for securing the highest points aggregate on their respective boards.

B. Adhiban crossed 2,700 Elo rating points.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

India lost to Russia in the final round to finish fourth overall in the World Team chess championship on Thursday. But B. Adhiban and Surya Shekhar Ganguly won the individual gold medals for securing the highest points aggregate on their respective boards.

“That’s why it’s a pity. The medals show that we’ve done well on two boards, yet we still could not win a medal. It's just that the majority of the players in the four-player team couldn’t win on the same day,” Adhiban said on Saturday.

“Also, we weren’t sure when to field the reserve player Arvind Chidambaram. Like, we didn’t have the clarity on when he is to be fielded. You may say that limited us (our chaces),” he added.

He had also crossed 2,700 Elo rating points. “So, it’s double delight for me. A team medal would’ve been the icing on the cake.”

READ: Indian men slip at final hurdle, finish fourth

“We mostly falter in the penultimate and final rounds since we start thinking too much. We focus on getting a medal then, and the pressure gets to us. It happened even in the 2016 and 2018 Olympiads. The last time we won a team medal was in the 2014 Olympiad - a bronze. Before that, a bronze again in the 2010 World teams.”

He said it was disappointing that the team couldn’t manage even a draw (for the bronze medal) against Russia in the final round. The 26-year-old, however, hopes to get invited to top-level tournaments featuring top-ranked opponents. “Now, in those kind of tournaments, it becomes very challenging from the beginning itself. In the open tournaments, it generally becomes tough only after, say, three rounds.”

He is excited to see Chess being included in the 2022 Asian Games. “Chess is not in the Olympics. It’s good that it’s now there in the Asian Games. Playing in those kind of events, gets you more publicity.”