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Ahead of Chess Olympiad, 11-day camp to begin in Chennai from Saturday

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Both the open and women’s first teams will have an 11-day camp from May 7 in Chennai ahead of the Chess Olympiad.

The camp will have both Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand to guide the squad. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has roped in Gelfand, a two-time medallist at the Olympiad (2008 and 2010), specifically for the event, slated to be held in Mahabalipuram in July-August.

The decision to rope in Gelfand to guide the Indian team has pleased Koneru Humpy, a vital cog in the wheel of the women’s first team.

“Well, I don’t often participate in the coaching camps in general. This time having Gelfand and Anand as coach and mentor will definitely motivate the team and for sure there will be a lot to learn from their experience,” she was quoted as saying in a press release.

The camp will see everyday training sessions apart from yoga and meditation.

Pentala Harikrishna, who will assume a lead role in the open team, sang from the same hymn sheet. “I am a big fan of him and this is the first time that I would be training with such a strong player though we have played a few games against each other,” he said.

“It is great to have him (Gelfand) as a coach. His experience and knowledge will immensely help the Indian team,” he added. Harikrishna and Krishnan Sasikiran, who are currently playing in tournaments in Europe, will join the camp a few days late.

Coach Srinath Narayanan said the camp will act as an important platform to prepare before the Olympiad.

“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.”

Squad At Camp:

Open: Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, SL Narayanan and Krishnan Sasikiran

Women: Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni

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