Chennai hosts the 2022 Chess Olympiad
Chennai is one of the prime metropolitan cities in India and the state capital of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural seat of South India where several interesting events take place. It is also fondly called ‘Mecca of Chess’ due to the huge popularity of this game here. This city has produced over 12 thousand chess players from different chess academies, rightly earning the title of Chess Capital in India. Now, Chennai is getting ready to host the 2022 Chess Olympiad which is an international event and highly challenging competition for all chess players.
Hosts 44th Chess Olympiad in late July and Early August 2022
Chennai will be hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad in 2022. It is confirmed by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.K. Stalin in a tweet on his Twitter page. He expressed his delight in hosting this prestigious event and welcomed all global chess masters to join this competition in Chennai. All India Chess Federation also declared this event to be hosted in Chennai. Hence, there was a huge demand for the tickets of Dubai to Chennai flights at that time.
Originally granted to Belarus, moved to Russia and due to war moved to India
The 44th Chess Olympiad was initially supposed to be held in Belarus, which was later shifted to Russia. Moscow was supposed to host this event from July 26 to August 8. When Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine, FIDE canceled this event to protest this war and handed this event to India.
Government guaranteed funding
Tamil Nadu government has funded $10 million (76 crores) as a guarantee to host Chess Olympiad 2022. Apart from this amount, the government will also fund the accommodation of all participants and the rent of the chosen venue. Pictures of 23 hotels with 2000 sea-facing rooms have been submitted to FIDE by the state government.
Famous chess players from Chennai
Vishwanathan Anand or fondly called Vishy Anand is old the foremost name among the two dozen grandmasters produced by Tamil Nadu. 16-year Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, nicknamed Pragg is another chess grandmaster who recently made the headlines due to his amazing success in this field. Manuel Aaron was the first Indian chess master who won the national championship 9 times and he was also from Chennai.
Chennai has previously hosted World Championship
Chennai was the seat of the World Chess Championship in 2013. It was played between Vishwanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen and the latter won the title defeating Anand.
Venue for the event – first time held in India
The venue for the Chess Olympiad 2022 is Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort & Convention Center. It is in Mamallapuram, which is a UNESCO Heritage site and located 60 Km to the south of Chennai.
First time held in India
The Chess Olympiad is going to be held in India for the first time. This competition started in 1927 in London and after that, it mostly occurred in different European cities. It is organized by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) at an interval of 2 years. But it has never been organized in India before. It will be held in Asia after 30 years since it was last organized in the Philippines in 1992.
China won the 43rd Olympiad in open and women’s
China won the bidding to be the host of the Chess Olympiad in 2021. But it was a virtual game where all participants joined online for this tournament due to COVID-19. Russia was the Gold winner of this virtual chess competition while the USA and India secured the 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
Event is held every 2 years since 1972
Initially, Chess Olympiad was held every year or after every 2 years. It became more irregular due to World War II. In 1950, this international tournament was held in Dubrovnik, a prominent tourist destination by the Mediterranean Sea that was a part of Yugoslavia at that time. From this time, FIDE decided to organize this event bi-annually or at a gap of 2 years. Yugoslavia again hosted Chess Olympiad in 1972, in the city of Skopje that was also a part of this country till the early 1990s.
Due to the pandemic, online Olympiad was held
The pandemic of COVID-19 stalled all events worldwide for the last 2 years. Likewise, Chess Olympiad also could not be attended by players in person because of the high risk of infection. Hence, it was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, India and Russia were the joint winners of this virtual competition while the USA got the bronze medal.
2nd online Olympiad was held in 2021
China was the organizer of this virtual chess championship in 2021 where Russia won the 1st rank. The United States became 2nd while India and China jointly won the 3rd position in this tournament. This was the second online chess tournament in the history of the Chess Olympiad. It was held from August 20 to September 15, 2021. All participants entered the server of Chess.com, which is a popular chess server and social networking site. 153 teams participated in this tournament, including 2 teams from the host country China.
India is ranked 4th among the chess federation
The foremost team of India designated to participate in the upcoming Chess Olympiad now ranks 4th among the players enlisted by the International Chess Federation. This team has the top-rated chess players Pentala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, S.L. Narayanan, and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi. The former grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand did not want to participate in this tournament. All India Chess Federation (AICF) has declared to send 4 teams to this tournament, 2 teams will be playing in the open category and 2 teams are designated for the women’s category.
What AICF secretary, Bharat Singh Chauhan said
Bharat Singh Chauhan, the AICF Secretary, said that the chance to host the 44th Chess Olympiad was a historic step and it will take Indian chess to a great height. He played a vital role in bagging this rare chance of hosting such a prestigious international event. He immediately grabbed the opportunity of bidding when Russia was denied to host this event due to the Ukraine War.
Therefore, the 44th Chess Olympiad is going to be a historic event for Indians from July 28 to August 10, 2022, to which all Indians are looking forward enthusiastically.