Uzbek chess coach reveals secrets of Olympic gold

Last week, the Uzbek Olympiad winning team returned to Tashkent from Chennai at 3am and were greeted by a crowd of cheering fans. The Uzbek government, which already invests $4 million a year in chess, announced that the five team members would each receive a car and a cash bonus of $55,000.

One of the secrets of their success was the leading role of their coach Ivan Sokolov. The Dutch-Bosnian grandmaster, world number 12 in his prime, was already respected due to his previous work with Iranian talent and his prediction several years ago that Alireza Firouzja could become world champion.

Sokolov has now revealed details of his successful campaign in a long and informative interview for chess.com. It is full of fascinating material.

Back in India, disappointing team medals behind Uzbekistan and Armenia were offset by the individual top tips list, which showed new national hero Gukesh D with gold ahead of Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov, with silver and, above all, the world champion Magnus Carlsen with only bronze.

Almost all of the world’s top 20 players on the ranking list dropped points in Chennai, with Americans Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian having the most shreds. This immediately puts pressure on the two major chess tours, the Meltwater Online Tour and the St Louis-based Grand Tour, to find places for new teenage stars.

This weekend, the British Championship reaches its final stages in Torquay. The matches (start 2:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.) are live and free to watch on chess24.com.

Puzzle 2482
Gawain Jones versus Lei Tingjie, Charity Cup 2022. White out. What was the English grandmaster’s winning move?

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