Hosts India now second seeds at Chess Olympiad after Teimour Radjabov opts out of Azerbaijan team

The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10. (Pic credit: AICF)
The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10. (Pic credit: AICF)
Suhas Nayse

India received a shot in the arm on Friday as they moved up to the second seed position for the forthcoming Chess Olympiad.

Host India replaced Azerbaijan as second seeds after their chess star Teimour Radjabov dropped out of their contingent.

The 44th Chess Olympiad, organized by the All India Chess Federation (AICF), under the auspices of FIDE, will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10.

Azerbaijan were second seeds and rated 2,705, but only if Radjabov was playing. Since he opted out, India have climbed to the second spot. Radjabov cites the after-effects of COVID infection as a reason for his withdrawal.

The United States are top seeds and hot favorites, while Magnus Carlsen's Norway are third seeds at the Chess Olympiad.

The USA are regarded as the firm favorites to win the title. Formidable Russia was banned, while China withdrew over pandemic travel issues which put the USA as the front-runner to win the title.

Hosts India have the home advantage, for whatever it's worth in this sport, and can topple the top seeds USA and the equally talented Norway team.

India's main chess team consists of all five senior Grandmasters

The five-member Indian main team consists of all the Grandmasters. Vidit Gujrathi (2,714), Pentala Harikrishna (2,720), Arjun Erigaisi (2,689), SL Narayanan (2,659), and Sasikiran Krishnan (2,638) are together capable of winning the team title.

India will also have two other teams in the fray and experts believe they also have the potential to surprise title-favorites.

Chess Olympiad: Team-Starting Ranking

1. United States of America (Average rating: 2,771); captain: Jon Donaldson

2. India (Average rating: 2,696); captain: Srinath Narayanan

3. Norway (Average rating: 2,692); captain: Jon Kristian Haarr

4. Spain (Average rating: 2,687); captain: Jordi Magem Badals

5. Poland (Average rating: 2,683); captain: Bartosz Socko

6. Azerbaijan (Average rating: 2,680); captain: Nijat Abasov

7. Netherlands (Average rating: 2,672); captain: Jan Smeets

8. Ukraine (Average rating: 2,666); captain: Oleksandr Sulypa

9. Germany (Average rating: 2,664); captain: Jan Gustafsson

10. England (Average rating: 2,662); captain: Malcolm Pein

Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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