Khanty Mansiysk: The Indian men`s
team, sans world champion Viswanathan Anand, was on Sunday seeded
17th while the women`s team has been seeded eighth in the 29th
Chess Olympiad here.
The women team without Koneru Humpy, who is the second
highest ranked woman player in the world.
Russia have been given the top billing in both open and
After a brilliant third place finish in the world team
championship earlier this year, the Indian men`s team has
reasons to be optimistic about a good performance here but it
will take a herculean task if they are to finish among medals.
Over the 11-rounds, the Indian team will have to rely
mostly on the top three board wherein Krishnan Sasikiran, P
Harikrishna and Surya Shekhar Ganguly will take charge.
The other two are young guns G N Gopal and B Adhiban and
in all important clashes only one of these two is likely to
D Harika will have to do most of the hard work on the top
board for the women team and Tania Sachdev, Eesha Karavade, S
Meenakshi and Nisha Mohota would support her.
Prior to the Olympiad, both the teams had a training
session. While the men team have retained Israeli Grandmaster
Lev Psakhis as trainer for the event, Ukrainian Oleg
Romanishin is a new inclusion as coach of the women’ team.
"The session was simply wonderful and all our players
have done a good job, we are hoping for a good performance
from them," Bharat Singh Chauhan, Treasurer AICF, who is also
the captain of the men`s team said.
All India Chess Federation Secretary D V Sundar said all
the players will be paid for participation in the Olympiad.
"They will be paid based on their ratings," Sundar said.
The presence of Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk,
Peter Svidler, Vladimir Malakhov and Sergey Karjakin make the
hosts Russia a formidable team but the likes of Armenia,
Ukraine and China can all give the rating-favourties a run for
Armenia, the winner on last two occasions will again be
led by stalwart Levon Aronian on the top board and with their
remarkable team spirit, absolutely necessary in Olympiad, they
have it in them again to be amongst the front runners.
Amongst the women, the Russian eves are amongst the top
team and their top billing is largely due to immense
improvement in the ratings of Kosintseva sisters - Tatiana and
Nadezhda who are ranked fourth and fifth in the world
China remains a major threat to all teams especially in
women competition. With Grandmaster Yifan Hao on the top
board, the Chinese team is quite balanced.