The 44th edition of the World Chess Olympiad is in full swing in the Indian city of Chennai. This year, both the men’s and the women’s chess squads are brimming with talent, and the chess Olympiad is the perfect platform for these rising talents to showcase their prowess.
Even when the cream of the Indian chess brigade is fighting it out amongst the best players from around the world, a significant part of the attention is gravitating toward the latest Indian chess sensation – Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa.
According to the coach of the Indian men’s contingent’s ‘B’ team, Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh, the players forming the group are looking sharper than ever. They are set to challenge any opposition for the top prize. Competing in the ‘Open’ tournament category, the B team is led by teen chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa.
The Indian men’s B team boasts the likes of Nihal Sarin, D. Gukesh, B. Adhiban, Raunak Sadhwani, and most importantly, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa. It is pertinent to note here that all five contestants are certified grandmasters. With such a highly talented team at his disposal, coach R. B. Ramesh is naturally optimistic about the group’s chances of finishing on the podium.
The players of the B team are slated to begin their battles on July 28 in Mamallapuram. They have been seeded by the tournament’s organisers at 11th position and must go through 11 tough rounds before tasting glory. Their coach believes that if they keep their focus intact for the entirety of the tournament, they will go on to win the top prize.
The B team looks inexperienced from the outside, with only B. Adhiban being the only non-teenager in the group. But despite being a young team, the players have enough combined experience to take on the world’s best players.
Even more, what has set the expectations from the B team is that former five-time chess world champion, India’s very own Vishwanathan Anand, has given plaudits to Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa in a recent media interaction. Anand has said that the next generation of Indian chess players led by Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa can dominate the world stage soon.
Vishwanathan Anand was seen talking to all the B team players before the contest’s onset, which boosted the group’s confidence. With Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa being in good form and a recent winner of a chess meet in Serbia, the rest of the team can look up to its captain to set up the winning momentum.
Not far on the radar lies Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa’s teammate D. Gukesh, who has already won four different chess competitions in Spain and has broken the 2700 points hurdle in the Elo rating chart.
To sum up, in the words of India’s team B coach and former Commonwealth chess champion Mr. R. B. Ramesh, the players contesting from his team have all the skills to cause an upset in the ongoing tournament. All that he needs to make sure is that the players maintain their positive frame of mind.