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Exclusive: India can win historic gold at upcoming Georgia Olympiad - Viswanathan Anand

The 43rd Chess Olympiad is scheduled to be held in Georgia from September 23 - October 6, with both Indian men’s and women’s team expected of putting on a good show.

other-sports Updated: Sep 21, 2018 12:59 IST
Pratik Sagar
Pratik Sagar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File picture of Viswanathan Anand
File picture of Viswanathan Anand(PTI)
         

Legendary India grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has claimed that the Indian team travelling to Georgia for the upcoming Olympiad is well-equipped to clinch the country’s first ever gold medal, on Thursday.

In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, the five-time world champion said that many teams can win the top prize at the Olympiad and India is one of them.

“This team is capable of winning gold, I won’t be surprised if it did,” Anand told Hindustan Times. “But there are many teams in the Olympiad who are capable of winning the top prize. It is not like the gap between the top teams and others is very big. So we have to go there and fight for every point.”

The 43rd Chess Olympiad is scheduled to be held in Georgia from September 23- October 6, with both Indian men’s and women’s team expected of putting on a good show.

India won their first and only medal at the 2014 edition of the Olympiad, when the team clinched the bronze medal in Norway. However boosted by the return of Anand — who will be donning the colors of India after a gap of 12 years — India will look to end their golden drought at the Olympiad this time around.

“I am looking forward to that (getting back with the India team). I know all of them very well. I may not have been part of the Indian team for a while but I have interacted with them at various tournaments, so I am looking forward to playing with team,” Anand said.

“They have set a very high bar and are coming into this tournament on the back of some good results. India was very close to getting a bronze in 2004, at least, and I hope that we all have a good tournament this year as well,” he added.

The Indian men’s team comprises of P Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, B Adhiban and K Sasikaran while the women’s team will be represented by Koneru Humpy Dronavalli Harika, Eesha Karvade, Padmini Rout and Tania Sachdev.

On a lighter note, when asked about whom he has found the most pleasure of playing against over the course of his illustrious career, Anand replied in a rather witty fashion.

“I have found pleasure in playing against those who have lost against me,” he quipped.

Before signing off, Anand heaped praise on young Indian gradmasters like Nihal Sarin and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, saying that he has taken note of their recent achievements and they are surely the one’s to watch out for in the future.

“At the moment, my eyes are focussed on Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin. But there are quite a few others as well whom we should look out for,” Anand signed off.

First Published: Sep 21, 2018 12:41 IST

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