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The 44th International Chess Olympiad will start today and go till August 10 at Poonjeri Village in Mamallapuram, a UNESCO heritage site. Poonjeri Village is located about 50 kilometers from Chennai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the event which will be attended by several dignitaries and chess champions from 187 countries. Around 350 total teams in Open and Women Section will participate- 188 in Open and 162 in Women.

This edition is the first in Asia in 30 years and the event will mark the highest number of countries participating in the Chess Olympiad.

The event was originally scheduled in Russia but as the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, the International Chess Federation decided to look for new locations. As India emerged as the host country, the Central Government gave Tamil Nadu the hosting rights to host the high-profile Chess event.

Tamil Nadu Government announced holidays for schools, colleges and non-essential government offices in four districts to view the opening of the event which is expecting 2000 participants from 187 countries.

The Indian team will consist of 30 players across six teams. The Open and Women section will have three Indian teams each. Each round will be played by 4 participants from a Team of 5. Team composition will be decided by the captain of the team who in most cases will be the non-playing participant.

The Olympiad will be a Swiss League competition with 11 rounds. The host countries are allowed to field two teams, however India was allowed to field a third team in both categories because there were an odd number of teams overall.

The teams are coached by five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, and are led by a group of accomplished trainers, and feature some of the most interesting players in the entire world.

India has thus far taken home three medals from the Chess Olympiad: a bronze in the Open division at Tromso 2014, a gold in 2020 (shared with Russia), and a bronze for the women's team in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the last two events online.

 

 

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