Anand replaces Vidit as captain of Indian chess Olympiad team

Chennai, Jul 31 (IANS): Five-time chess world champion Viswanathan Anand will lead the Indian team in the second online chess Olympiad to be held from September 8 to 15, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) said.

Anand replaces Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who had led the gold medal winning Indian team last year. India had won the gold jointly with Russia.

According to AICF, for the first time the Indian team has got a corporate sponsor in the form of city-based internet major Microsense Group, promoted by S. Kailasanathan, who himself is a former Tamil Nadu state chess champion.

The Indian team comprises Anand, Gujrathi, P. Harikrishna, Nihal Sarin, R. Pragganandhaa, Koneru Humpy, D. Harika, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, R. Vaishali and B. Savitha Shri, with Abhijit Kunte as the non-playing vice-captain.

The Indian team will be hosted in a five-star hotel here, from where they will play the matches.

In order to avoid costly disruption in internet connectivity as had happened during the last Olympiad, the AICF said a three-tier connection along with support from two Grandmasters -- D. Gukesh and N. Srinath -- has been organised.

The first leg is scheduled to have 10 teams, from which two will qualify and thereafter a knockout format has been decided by the FIDE, the apex chess body.

All the games will be available live for chess buffs.

"To bring the team together in one place is a dream come true in present times. We do not give any pressure, our aim is to have a healthy atmosphere where the team get along well," AICF President Sanjay Kapoor said about providing the extra facility.

"This is only the beginning of many more good things to come for Indian chess. We are working in several departments to bring the benefits of the game and our aim is simple -- to make India the number one chess playing nation in the world," said AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.



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