The world’s biggest team Chess championship was declared open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.
The 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad is being held in India for the first time ever, after being moved out of Russia following the Russia-Ukraine crisis. With a record 187 countries taking part, this Olympiad will witness the highest ever participation. There are 188 teams in the Open section and 162 in the Women’s section. A record total of 30 Indian players will be participating in the Olympiad. There are six teams- three in open and three in women.
The second-seeded India-1 Open team consists of Vidit Gujrathi, P Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, S.L. Narayan and Sasikaran Krishnan. The India-2 Open team members are Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh, B Adhiban, R Praggnanandhaa and Raunak Sadhwani while Surya Shekhar Ganguly, S.P. Sethuraman, Abhijeet Gupta, Karthikeyan Murali and Abhimanyu Puranik are representing the India-3 open team.
In the women’s section, the India-1 team is seeded first and consists of Koneru Humpy, D Harika, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni. The India-2 team members are Vantika Agrawal, Soumya Swaminathan, Mary Ann Gomes, Padmini Rout and Divya Deshmukh. The India-3 women’s team comprises Eesha Karavade, Sahithi Varshini, Pratyusha Bodda, Nandhidhaa PV and Vishwa Vasnawala.
The Olympiad will be an eleven-round Swiss League event. The host countries can field two teams but India could field one additional team in both categories as the total number of teams were odd.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared open the 44th FIDE Chess in the opening ceremony held at Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. In his speech the Prime Minister said this is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being held in the place of origin of chess, India.
Delivering his address at the opening ceremony, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said about 36% of Indian Grandmasters are from Tamil Nadu. Therefore, Chennai can be rightly called the ‘Chess Capital of India’.
The opening ceremony was a glittering affair with lights and sounds. With an orchestra playing pulsating music, teams from Japan, China, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Austria, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, and Barbados were welcomed in the stadium. With an orchestra playing pulsating music, teams from dozens of countries including Japan, China, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Austria, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, and Barbados were welcomed to applause in the stadium.