Norway's chessmaster Magnus Carlsen competes against Russia's chessmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi during Game 2 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021, at Expo 2020 Dubai
Norway's Magnus Carlsen (left), seen in action during Fide World Chess Championship in Dubai last year, will be in action in Chennai. Image Credit: AFP file

Chennai: Five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen believes that the Indian teams have a strong chance of winning medals at the upcoming 44th Chess Olympiad, to be held in Mamallapurm from July 28 to August 10.

Carlsen is very impressed and vocal about the top two Indian teams in fray at the event, especially the young India Team 2.

“Both Indian teams have a very strong and impressive line of players and I think both have a chance to be amongst the medals,” he said.

The World No. 1 will be in the city as part of Team Norway, which is ranked third amongst 187 registered teams in the open section at the Olympiad. Norway is also a strong contender for one of the three medals at stake.


While expressing his excitement on returning to Chennai- the city where he clinched his first-ever World Chess Championship defeating Viswanathan Anand in 2013, Carlsen further added: “It is going to be awesome to be back in Chennai again as it has been nine years since one of the greatest experiences of my chess career. Those are fantastic memories to revisit and I am looking forward to making new ones.

“Tamil Nadu or say Chennai is the hottest hub of chess in the world now. So just to be there and be a part of the chess celebration is a reason in itself.”

A record total of 30 Indian players across six teams (three in open and three women) will be participating at the Olympiad, each team comprising of five members out of which four will be fielded in each round. The captain of the Team, in most cases non-playing, will decide the team composition. The Olympiad will be a 11-Round Swiss League event. The host countries can field two teams but India could field one additional team in both the categories as the total number of teams were odd.

The three Indian open teams are seeded 2nd, 11th and 17th respectively. The second seeded India-1 Open team consists of Vidit Gujrathi, P.Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, S.L. Narayan and Sasikaran Krishnan. The India-2 Open team members are Nihal Sarin, D.Gukesh, B.Adhiban, R.Praggnanandhaa and Raunak Sadhwani.

The India-3 open team comprises Surya Shekhar Ganguly, S.P. Sethuraman, Abhijeet Gupta, Karthikeyan Murali and Abhimanyu Puranik. Incidentally, all the 15 players in the Open team are Grandmasters.

Women's team top seeds

In the women’s section, India-1 team is top seeded first while India-2 and India-3 team are seeded 11th and 16th, respectively.

Following are the teams: India-1: Koneru Humpy, D.Harika, R.Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni; India-2: Vantika Agrawal, Soumya Swaminathan, Mary Ann Gomes, Padmini Rout and Divya Deshmukh; India-3: Eesha Karavade, Sahithi Varshini, Pratyusha Bodda, Nandhidhaa PV and Vishwa Vasnawala.

In the 2014 Chess Olympiad held at Tromso, Norway India won a bronze medal in the open category and in the 2020 virtual Olympiad, India won the joint gold medal while in the 2021 virtual Olympiad, India finished with a bronze medal.