Olympiad: Anand decides against playing, to mentor teams

The legendary Anand, who decided against playing the upcoming Olympiad, will mentor the four India teams.
Olympiad: Anand decides against playing, to mentor teams
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CHENNAI: India will field two teams each in the Open and Women section at the 44th Chess Olympiad here, for which the host will have the five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand as its chief mentor.

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) on Monday announced the contingent for the showpiece, which will be hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton between July 28 and August 24. Being the host nation, India is entitled to send two teams apiece in each section.

In the Open category, Vidit Gujrathi, who led India to the gold medal at the 2020 Chess Olympiad that was hosted virtually, will be part of the ‘A’ team alongside P Harikrishna and K Sasikiran. Arjun Erigaisi and SL Narayanan are the others members in the ‘A’ team.

The ‘B’ team in the Open section will comprise young talent such as R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh and Raunak Sadhwani. The 29-year-old B Adhiban is the senior-most member of the India ‘B’ team. In the women’s section, the ‘A’ team consists of Koneru Humpy, D Harika, Tania Sachdev, R Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni.

Besides national champions Soumya Swaminathan, Mary Ann Gomes and Padmini Rout, Vantika Agarwal and Divya Deshmukh are part of the ‘B’ team.

The legendary Anand, who decided against playing the upcoming Olympiad, will mentor the four India teams. “I am playing only a few events these days. After playing many Olympiads, I thought it was time for the younger ones to play. India has many talented youngsters like Nihal, Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Arjun and a few more,” said Anand.

Interestingly, Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali will be the second set of siblings to represent the country at the same Olympiad after N Saritha and N Sudhakar Babu, who competed in the 1988 edition which was held in Greece.

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