44th Chess Olympiad draws record number registrations

Chennai, May 28: A record number of 343 teams from 187 countries will take part in the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held here from July 28 to August 10. The Olympiad, the biggest ever global chess meet hosted by India has two specific categories – Open Section and women’s section.
According to All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, the Event Director, “We have a record-breaking 187 countries registered with 189 teams in the open section and 154 in the women’s section.”
Previously, the Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, held in 2018, had set a record with 184 and 150 teams in the open and women’s sections respectively from 179 countries.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the highest ever rated player on the planet, will be the star attraction after he confirmed his participation in the mega event.
India, as the host country, is eligible to field an extra team in both sections and has an opportunity to field a third team in case of odd number of entries, the release said.
It has already announced two teams each in the Open and women’s sections with the likes of Vidit Gujrathi, Nihal Sarin, P Harikrishna, teenaged sensations R Praggnanandhaa and D Gukesh along with women stars Koneru Humpy, D Harika and R Vaishali being included in the squads.
Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand will be the mentor for the Indian squads. A preparatory camp was recently held for the players under the guidance of Anand and coach GM Boris Gelfand.
Meanwhile, AICF president Sanjay Kapoor said, “Right from the time the Olympiad was awarded to us, we have been relentlessly working with a single-minded focus, keeping the Olympic motto ‘faster, higher, stronger’ in mind with regards to organisational aspects also.”
Chess has travelled a long way and FIDE – the world chess body, which started the first official Olympiad in 1927 in London with 16 countries in fray, too has reasons to celebrate after reposing faith in AICF to pull off this event in just about four months. (PTI)

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