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Madagascar first to arrive as teams start to trickle in for 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai

The 44th Chess Olympiad will begin on July 28 in Chennai and will conclude on August 10. (Pic credit: AICF)
The 44th Chess Olympiad will begin on July 28 in Chennai and will conclude on August 10. (Pic credit: AICF)

The 44th Chess Olympiad, which will begin on July 28 and conclude on August 10, is the biggest ever sporting extravaganza to be held on Indian soil. The tournament, with a record 187 countries in the fray, and close to 1800 players, will be the cynosure of all eyes for the next fortnight.

Mamallapuram in Chennai is all geared up to greet and host the participants of the Chess Olympiad. Virtual chants of 'Namaste World' and ‘Welcome to Chennai’ resonate on the internet, even as Chennai wears a checkered look.

Bridges have been painted in black and white squares, chess boards have been displayed in metros, and giant cut-outs of mascot ‘Thambi’ have been placed at strategic points to welcome participants and officials.

Four Points by Sheraton and other hotels in the vicinity have been booked by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to accommodate all the participants and officials.

Teams have already started to trickle in, with Madagascar being the first team to arrive for the Olympiad. The team, rated 104th with an average rating of Elo 2143 has 22-year-old International Master (IM) Antenaina Fy Rakotomaharo rated Elo 2490 playing on the top board.

CM Heritiana Andrianiaina (2095) is second on the board, followed by Toavina Razanad Rakotarisoa (2039), Charly Mahanihaja Rajerison (1912) and Dylan Rakotomaharo, respectively. The team captain is Andrianantenaina Ramalanjaona.

The team was received by volunteers from the Olympiad and escorted to their hotels in the busses specially designed for the Olympiad.

``We are fully geared up to receive the arriving teams,” said Olympiad Director Bharat Singh Chauhan.

Madagascar was the first team to arrive in Chennai for the Olympiad. (Pic credit: AICF)
Madagascar was the first team to arrive in Chennai for the Olympiad. (Pic credit: AICF)

Most teams will arrive in Chennai for the Chess Olympiad on Wednesday

Most teams are expected to arrive on July 27 but those with not-so-frequent flight options may arrive earlier.

The Tamil Nadu Minister for Public Works Department and Highways, EV Velu, announced on Monday that four districts will be given a holiday on the occasion of the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, and Chengalpattu will be given a local holiday so that they can witness the grand inauguration of the Olympiad.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, reviewed the preparatory work undertaken for the Olympiad. AICF officials are working hard to make the tournament a grand success.

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Edited by Steffi
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