On rest day, chess officials, players turn to football

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) on Thursday organised a friendly football tournament, supported by Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
Viswanathan Anand at the six-team friendly football tournament
Viswanathan Anand at the six-team friendly football tournamentJustin

CHENNAI: The International Chess Federation (FIDE) on Thursday organised a friendly football tournament, supported by Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

With Thursday being a rest day, a few Chess Olympiad competitors combined forces with officials from various countries to participate in the six-team event. The teams – FIDE, All India Chess Federation (AICF), Africa, America, Europe and Asia – were divided into two groups of three each. Incumbent FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich and five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, running for the vice-president’s post in the upcoming FIDE elections, had their moments on the pitch.

Matches lasted for 13 minutes, with four minutes of break in between the two halves. Each squad comprised 10 outfield players and a goalkeeper. While a few players made the trip to the Nehru Stadium to showcase their football skills, many decided to go around Mahabalipuram, which is hosting the ongoing Olympiad.

It is learnt that the Tourism Department arranged special buses for players, who wished to visit spots in Chennai. As six rounds are done at the Olympiad, five remain, with the second phase of the global event beginning on Friday.

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