‘It is better if we do not let expectations get ahead of us’
Led by five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand, the Indian chess team appeared in high spirits ahead of the second World online chess Olympiad here. The Olympiad will be held from September 8 to 15.
Winner of the last online edition, the 12-member Indian side (barring P. Harikrishna, who is in Prague, K. Humpy, and D. Harika (who are in their respective cities, Vijayawada and Hyderabad) has been put up in a city hotel and will play the tournament from the hotel.
“I found it difficult playing at home last time. This time we are all together on the same floor [of the hotel] and the atmosphere is very positive,” said Anand, at a press conference here on Monday.
On India’s chances in Group-B, with countries such as France, Belarus, Moldova, Slovenia, Egypt, Sweden and Hungary, China and Azerbaijan in the fray, Anand said: “It is better if we do not let expectations get ahead of us. All teams are strong. We have to be on guard,” he said.
There are forty teams in the Top Division and the top two teams from four groups will make it to the play-off stage (quarterfinals).
Humpy, India’s top woman player, said after having won the tournament (along with Russia) last time, “there are a lot of expectations from us. We have to start from the beginning and enjoy the game. I am sure we will achieve success.”
According to All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, there were quite a few internet issues in the first online World Olympiad last year. “This time, Microsense being the best in the business is providing the facilities. Internet will not be an issue here,” he said.
AICF president Sanjay Kapoor said he is determined to “change the profile of chess through our various programs. COVID-19 came in between, but nothing can stop us,” he said.
Microsense managing director S. Kailasanathan said: “Hopefully things would turn out to be the best for us.”
The Indian team: Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujarati, P. Harikrishna, B. Adhiban, Nihal Sarin, K. Humpy, D. Harika, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, R. Vaishali, R. Praggnandhaa & Savitha Shri.
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