Chess: USA Olympiad favorites as India challenge England and England aim for top 6
The Biennial Chess Olympiad begins in Chennai on Friday (10.30am BST start, viewable live and free online) with 188 teams expected in the open event and 162 in the women’s tournament. The United States, led by the world’s top 10 trio of Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Wesley So, have every chance of reclaiming the trophy in the absence of Russia (banned) and China (Covid concerns) .
India1 is the second seed, but India2, with four rapidly growing teenagers, could be even stronger. No.3 seeds Norway are led by Magnus Carlsen in the No.1’s first classic test since announcing he would not defend his world crown in 2023.
England’s last Olympic medal was in 1990, they are ranked 10th and their target is the top six. In recent years the team have been fifth in the 2018 Olympiad and second to Russia in the 2019 World Teams, while a few weeks ago England 50+ and 65+ both won gold at the Championships of the senior world.
India and Ukraine are the women’s top seeds, with England 21st. Improvement will occur. The ECF has programs for talented women and girls, while She plays to win offers free training and events for girls new to chess.
Away from the Olympiad, there was a significant result when top English junior Shreyas Royal, 13, beat a German grandmaster in style at the Open Spark Crate in Dortmund.
Danyyil Dvirnyy vs Judit Polgar, Yerevan 2014. Black moves and wins. How did the #1 woman of all time exploit White’s exposed king?
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*Correction: The article originally stated that the Olympiad would start on Friday at 12:30 BST. Exact time is 10:30 BST