Chess Olympiad teams will be topless

Vijay Tagore
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 03:26 IST

AICF ‘understands’ Viswanathan Anand’s position but unhappy with Koneru Humpy’s decision to skip the event in Germany in November

MUMBAI: The Indian team for the Chess Olympiad will be topless. Virtually. Both Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy, the best man and woman players in India — and the world too — will not be taking part in the biannual tournament. The Olympiad is scheduled to be held in Dresden, Germany, from November 12 to 25.

Anand, the world champion and world No 1 at Elo 2798, and Humpy, the world No 1 woman player (after Judith Polgar who doesn’t play in the women’s category) at Elo 2622, have conveyed their unavailability to the All India Chess Federation although the AICF is hoping against hope that one of them will make it to the tournament.

Prior to the Olympiad, Anand will have just finished his high-voltage World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn and is expected to miss the Olympiad, irrespective of the result of the contest. The Kramnik match is from October 14 to November 2 and the Indian maestro would be too tired to play another tournament which starts 10 days later.

The AICF confirmed to DNA that Anand has already informed the federation that he would not be playing in the tournament but the federation has given him an option to make a decision after the Bonn match. “We’ve given him the option but we really don’t expect him to turn up. He would be tired by then and he will lose more than gain,” AICF spokesman Arvind Aron said. In the absence of Anand, the team could consist of K Sasikiran (2668), P Harikrishna (2622), GN Gopal (2572), SS Ganguly (2631) and Sandipan Chanda (2588).

Meanwhile, the AICF is peeved with Humpy’s decision to skip the tournament. “It is disappointing she has chosen not to play the Olympiad. We had a certain medal chance in the women’s section. Her presence would have galvanized the tournament,” said Aron.
Added a senior official: “The AICF has always helped her. We can understand Anand’s position.” He also expressed disappointment that her father-cum-coach Koneru Ashok, who was bestowed with the Dronacharya Award last year, did not prevail upon her to play for the country rather than a club tournament in Europe.

Source: DNA India

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