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The 44th World Chess Olympiad in the Indian city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is witnessing a good run of shows by the Indian men’s and women’s teams. Both sides started their accounts with easy wins over their opponents on Friday, July 29. The good news is that the Indian star-studded women’s team is on its way to achieving laurels for the country.

The men and women contingents have been divided into three teams, with the three men’s teams playing in the Open division and the three women’s teams competing in the separate women’s event. It has come as good news to chess lovers across the country that all six Indian teams have gotten the better of their rivals with a score of 4-0 in the tournament’s first round.

The Indian women’s brigade is being led this year by the highest-rated Indian woman chess player, Ms. Koneru Humpy. Apart from Ms. Humpy, the other star women chess players of the country, such as Tania Sachdev, R. Vaishali, and Bhakti Kulkarni, all secured first-round victories over their respective opponents.

Representing the women’s team ‘India A’, Ms. Koneru Humpy, often termed as the ‘Judith Polgar of India’ for being the most outstanding female Indian chess player of all time, outwitted her adversary, Ms. Nedezha Antonova, and won her game in 41 moves while playing with black chess pieces.

Likewise, the other female players in India A, R. Vaishali, Tania Sachdev, and Bhakti Kulkarni, all overpowered their respective opponents with relative ease. Whereas R. Vaishali defeated S. Aborova, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni got the better of Rukshona Saidova and Mutriba Hotami, respectively. All four of them were playing against the women’s team of Tajikistan. 

The women’s ‘B’ team faced the team from Wales on Friday and emerged as outright victors. Team B, comprising Vantika Agarwal, Soumya Swaminathan, Mary Ann Gomes, and Divya Deshmukh, saw off Olivia Smith, Kimberley Chong, Hiya Ray, and Khushi Bagga, respectively.

Finally, India’s ‘C’ team brushed off the challenge from Hong Kong in style by defeating them 4-0. In this segment, Indian chess players Esha Karvade, P.V. Nandhidhaa, V. M. Sahiti, and Pratyusha Bodda, comfortably put down Sigappi Kannappan, Jin Xin Deng, Joy Ching Li, and Ka Yen Lam, respectively, to make a clean sweep for all three women’s teams on day 2 of the Olympiad on Friday.

The 44th World Chess Olympiad is the most significant chess event to grace the city of Chennai. The mega show will be held from July 28 until August 10, and being the host nation, Indian players are carrying the burden of the hopes of a country of a billion souls. All eyes will be resting on the top male and female chess players that the government is fielding against the strongest chess nations worldwide.

From India’s perspective, this edition is a great chance to secure the country’s position as an up-and-coming chess-playing powerhouse. It is well-known that the game of chess originates in the Indian subcontinent. So, naturally, it is expected that the country starts producing more world-class players to cement its position as one of the best in the world.