India, as host of the 44th Chess OIympiad at Chennai later this year, is expected to field a third team in both the Open and Women’s sections as the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is expecting the mega event to have the best-ever participation for the event which is equivalent to the Olympics in chess.
FIDE, the sport’s world governing body, has a membership of 201 and the AICF is expecting most of them to participate in the upcoming Olympiad which is being held in physical form for the first time after a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10, 2022.
Bharat Singh Chouhan, secretary-general of AICF, said they are expecting to get permission to field a third team soon.
“We are expecting the 44th Chess Olympiad to be the best-ever and preparations are in advanced stages for the event,” he said that they will create a temporary structure in an area of around 50,000 square feet for the huge number of players that are expected to participate in the event.
“Most of the top players will be there, Magnus Carlsen will be there and though Viswanathan Anand is not playing, the other top players will be,” Chauhan said during an online press conference cum get together by AICF for young Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa for finishing runner-up in the Chessable Masters late on Thursday night.
Chauhan, who congratulated Pragg on behalf of AICF, said a player himself he was happy to see the quality of play produced by Pragg in the Chessable Masters. “As an administrator, of course, I am elated, It is good for the Indian team at the Olympiad as a top member of the second team is in good form,” said Chouhan.
Chouhan said winning the bid for the Olympiad is much more difficult than organising the event and added that now that they have won the bid they won’t leave any stone unturned in making it a grand success.
He said initially they had considered organising it at Delhi and the state government too had shown interest but then they took into consideration the weather conditions which will be very difficult in Delhi during the July-August period as compared to Chennai.
“Also, Chennai has a better chess c culture than Delhi and there is lot of support from the state government which had put in around $10 million in funding. Around 70 senior IAS officers have been pressed into action for the Olympiad,” he said.