The Indian chess team, led by legendary player Vishwanathan Anand will defend its Online Chess Olympiad when their campaign in the top division starts on Wednesday. The team will be playing nine matches in the group stages from September 8-10, featuring in three matches each day.
Problems surfaced in the previous season, when each of the players participated in the Online Chess Olympiad from their domestic spaces, while poor internet connection added to the misery. However, things are going to be different this time, when the Indian team led by the legendary Viswanathan Anand kick-starts the new campaign on Wednesday.
"This is the new AICF. We will do everything to make our players comfortable and competitive. Our next target is a cash-rich chess league and the Chess in School Program of the AICF. This is just the beginning. Many good things are in the pipeline for the chess fraternity of the country," said AICF President Dr. Sanjay Kapoor.
The AICF has arranged to put the entire squad in a five-star hotel in Chennai with top-of-the-line facilities, including a dedicated internet connection. A triumph in the upcoming event will give India its second consecutive gold medal, having already bagged top honours in the meet, last season. Meanwhile, Vishwanathan Anand is pretty confident regarding India’s prospects in the meet.
"We have a good mix of experience and youth. We hope to do well and are fairly confident of our prospects," said the five-time World Champion.
A total of 40 teams will be participating in the tourney, with them divided into four groups of 10 each. The teams will play in a round-robin format, before the top-two placed teams qualifying for the knockout stages that begin after a two-day gap, following the group stage matches. India will play its group stage matches from September 8-10, with them featuring in three matches each day.
"We wanted the players to bond with each other and play as a team. This prompted us to bring them all together here in Chennai. All the players, save three, are comfortably settled in their rooms and are raring to go. We thank our sponsors Microsense for making this happen," stated Honorary Secretary of AICF, Bharat Singh Chauhan.