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Koneru Humpy and others set to learn from Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand as AICF declares preparatory camp ahead of Chess Olympiad

Koneru Humpy is excited to have both Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand for the coaching camp. (Pic credit: AICF)
Koneru Humpy is excited to have both Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand for the coaching camp. (Pic credit: AICF)
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Suhas Nayse

Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand will work in tandem to guide the Indian chess players ahead of the 44th Chess Olympiad.

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has brought the two legends together for the home team’s first coaching camp with the aim of enhancing medal chances at the prestigious event.

Five-time world champions Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand will boost the morale of the Indian players for the mega event.

A six-time World Championship Candidate from Israel, Gelfand has been roped in as the coach by the AICF alongside mentor Viswanathan Anand.

Members of the first teams in both the open as well as women’s section will take part in the camp. The 11-day long camp will take place at Hotel Leela in Chennai from May 7 to May 17.

Apart from winning the World Cup in 2009, Gelfand has competed in 11 Chess Olympiads. He was ranked in the top-30 in FIDE rankings from 1990 to 2017 during his 27-year long astonishing career. The 52-year-old has also trained some of the top international players in the past, helping them succeed in big events.

AICF President Sanjay Kapoor elaborated on the intent behind getting Gelfand and Anand on board.

“We want to ensure that the Indian teams have the best of everything, be it good staying facilities and the best of coaches. We want to create an atmosphere which is conducive to give them their best."
Viswanathan Anand will be the mentor of the Indian chess team. (Pic credit: AICF)
Viswanathan Anand will be the mentor of the Indian chess team. (Pic credit: AICF)

Koneru Humpy excited about learning from Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand

Koneru Humpy, a former world champion in rapid chess, believes the decision to appoint Boris Gelfand, in addition to mentor Viswanathan Anand, will motivate the players ahead of the Olympiad. The mega event will be conducted in India for the first-time ever, beginning in Chennai on July 28.

“Well, I don’t often participate in coaching camps in general. This time, having Gelfand and Anand as coaches and mentors will definitely motivate the team, and for sure, there will be a lot to learn from their experience."

The author of numerous popular books like ’Dynamic Decision Making in Chess’, ‘Technical Decision Making in Chess’ and ‘Positional Decision Making in Chess’, Gelfand will use his in-depth knowledge to help Indian players.

The Israeli former World Champion's technical as well as strategic knowledge might prove quite handy while training the players in the camp. That's what AICF Secretary Bharat Singh is hoping for.

“With the numerous decision-making books authored by Gelfand, we hope that our decision to rope in Gelfand pays off."

Members of the first team in the open section and the players of the first team in the women’s section will be accompanied by their respective coaches Srinath Narayanan and Abhijit Kunte.

Vidit Gujrathi, Pantala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, SL Narayanan, and Krishnan Sasikiran are part of the men’s team. The women’s side consists of Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev, and Bhakti Kulkarni.

Arjun and Sasikiran, who are currently playing tournaments in Europe, will join the camp in a couple of days. Sasikiran, a member of the bronze-winning team at Tromso in 2014, who had also won an individual silver medal at the same Olympiad, is excited to work with Gelfand.

“I am a big fan of his and this is the first time that I will be training with such a strong player even though we have played a few games against each other."

Harikrishna, who will be playing his 10th Olympiad in Chennai, echoed similar sentiments.

“It is great to have him (Gelfand) as a coach. His experience and knowledge will immensely help the Indian team.”

The 11-day coaching camp will be intense and grueling with players involved in six to seven hours of rigorous training a day. Coach Srinath believes that it would also allow the squad to bond together.

“I am really looking forward to it. The facilities will be excellent, and it will be a very important platform for the team to get together and bond before the Olympiad."

Players will also have a regular routine of yoga and meditation to enhance their mental will power along with physical strength training.


Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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