India will host the 44th Chess Olympiad for the first time , which runs from July 28 to August 10. The top-seeded USA and third-placed Norway, led by Carlsen, are anticipated to pose a serious challenge to India, who are seeded second in the open division and field six teams—three in each of the men’s and women’s sections. Meanwhile, Pakistan pulled out the championship.
However, the gold that India and Russia shared in the last edition has given them hope that they may win the Olympiad at home.
With a thriving chess culture and history, it is undeniable that Chennai has produced more Grandmasters than any other city in the nation: 24 out of 73, excluding seven Women Grandmasters; 34 International Masters; 10,000+ registered players. But the game really is not as mainstream as it is hyped up to be. The Chess Olympiad aims to close this gap between the mainstream and the specialised.
From Napier Bridge to Guindy, from Adyar to Tambaram, the chess buzz has never enveloped Chennai as it has now. The grand old International Master Manuel Aaron, who began the city’s first chess club in 1972 at the Soviet Centre for Culture Studies, where Anand polished his game, feels his life is fulfilled. “I have never seen the city celebrating chess as passionately as they have now. I feel very fortunate that I could in some way contribute to the game’s following and popularity in the city. The popularity of the game will soar even further,” he said.
On Thursday, the 72-year-old superstar shared an old picture of him playing chess. He could be seen engrossed in the game, plotting his next move in a pensive state.
Super Star Rajinikanth says Chess his most loved indoor game
“#ChessOlympiad2022 An indoor game I love the most … wishing all the chess minds the very best .. god bless,” Rajinikanth tweeted.
Rajinikanth’s tweet comes on the heels of the opening of India’s first chess Chess Olympiad in Chennai. The city and the top stars of Tamil cinema have added to the excitement around the game by actively promoting it across platforms. Earlier, Oscar-winner AR Rahman had composed and performed a song titled Vanakkam Chennai (Hello Chennai).
Meanwhile,ndia on Thursday criticised Pakistan for pulling out of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Tamil Nadu and said it is “highly unfortunate” that Islamabad has “politicised” the prestigious international event.
Reacting to Pakistan’s decision, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said it was surprising that Pakistan has suddenly taken the decision not to participate in the event.
It is highly unfortunate that Pakistan has politicised the prestigious international event by making such statements and withdrawing its participation after its team has already reached India, he said.
Mr Bagchi was responding to questions on Pakistan’s decision to pull out from the Olympiad, citing the torch relay of the event passing through Jammu and Kashmir.