Chess Olympiad: P Harikrishna backs young guns to fill the Viswanathan Anand void

July 27, 2022

ChessChess Olympiad


With the legendary Viswanathan Anand absent from the Indian team, India’s top-ranked chess player P Harikrishna today backed the youngsters to shine at this year’s Chess Olympiad.

Five-time world champion Anand decided not to participate this time but he will be guiding the Indian team at the showpiece event, to be held from July 28 to August 10.

“India has a very good team this time around. Obviously, not having (Viswanathan) Anand is going to make a big difference. That said, this side has a perfect mix of young and experienced players and we are capable of doing really well,” said Harikrishna during a virtual press conference.

The 36-year-old, who is currently in the form of his life, having emphatically won the Prague Chess Masters last month, said that win will hold him in good stead going into Olympiad.

“The win at the Prague Masters could not have come at a better time. I hope to continue the same form and emulate my performances for India this time and contribute to the team’s success,” he said.

“This will be my 10th Chess Olympiad appearance since 2000. As a senior player, I have a big responsibility and, as always, I am geared up to give my best for my country,” he added.

India is hosting the event, which features as many as 343 teams from 187 countries, for the first time.

Harikrishna said while there are high hopes from the team, the contingent is not under any pressure.

“There is no such pressure at all. We are confident of bettering our performance than what achieved in the last Olympiad,” Harikrishna said.

Not overthinking

Second seed India will be fielding a record total of 30 players across six teams (three in the open category, three in women’s division) for the first time and all the 15 players in the open category are Grandmasters.

However, Harikrishna said despite the potential of the players to make it big this time, the contingent is not thinking too much about medals.

“There are 10-15 top countries and we are aware of that. Right now, we are fully focused on playing well as a team. Frankly, if we do not play well, we would not be able to win any medal. So, we are not thinking about the medal chances,” he said. — PTI

India have strong chance: Carlsen

Chennai: Reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen said that hosts India stand a strong chance of winning medals at the upcoming 44th Chess Olympiad. India will be hosting the showpiece event for the first time in the prestigious tournament’s history from July 28 to August 10. With no China or Russia taking part at the Olympiad, the India ‘A’ team is seeded second behind the formidable USA. The second team, India ‘B’, is seeded 11th. “Both Indian teams have a very strong and impressive line of players and I think both have a chance to be amongst the medals,” Carlsen said. The five-time world champion is part of Team Norway, which is ranked third.

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