Chess Olympiad in Chennai: The USA is favourite, China and Russia do not take part

by André Schulz
7/8/2022 – From 28 July to 10 August the Chess Olympiad will be played in Chennai, India. 188 teams start in the Open, 162 in the Women's Olympiad, that's a new record of participants. However, two of the strongest federations will not come to Chennai. The Russian federation was excluded because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the Chinese federation decided not to participate, as protection against the pandemic. Thus, the USA is clear favourite in the Open while India is favourite to win the Women's Olympiad. | Photo: FIDE

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At short notice, the All-Indian Chess Federation stepped in to organise the 44th Chess Olympiad. Originally, the Chess Olympiad 2020 was to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, but was postponed because of the pandemic. Then Moscow was planned as the venue for 2022, but with its attack on Ukraine, Russia has left the peaceful community of nations.

The organisation of the Chess Olympiad, a large peaceful sports festival that unites nations, was then withdrawn from the Russian Chess Federation and the Indian Chess Federation offered to organise the Olympiad.

Russia is also not allowed to send teams to Chennai. Russia's men's and women's teams were always co-favourites for the gold medal in the past and would have been so here as well. But the Russian sports federations have been banned from participating in international sporting events.

Somewhat surprisingly, however, the Chinese teams are also not taking part, neither in the Open nor in the Women's Tournament. China would have been co-favourite in both events and won gold in both tournaments at the last Chess Olympiad in Batumi in 2018. However, China has completely closed itself off to fight the ongoing pandemic and only rarely allows its citizens to leave the country.

So now the USA team is the heavy favourite in the Open.

We present to you the 2022 U.S. Olympiad teams! 🙌@FIDE_chess @Kasparov_Chess @STLChessClub https://t.co/LNFm3uLxz0

Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Levon Aronian (who plays his first Olympiad for the US), Leinier Dominguez and Sam Shankland do have an Elo average of 2771, which is one point less then the American team had four years ago in Batumi, but they are far ahead of the team of Azerbaijan, the second seed, which comes to an Elo average of 2705.

Third seed is India, without Anand, but with Vidit, Harikrishna and Erigaisi.

But team two of India is also strong and with the prodigies Praggnanandhaa, Nihal and Gukesh it might become a favourite of the public.

As the host nation, India is allowed to field a third team made up of players from the "second tier", led by Ganguly. However, all these players have ratings above 2600 and still occupy 17th place in the seedings.

Sagar Shah (ChessBase India) presents the Indian teams:

Thanks to Magnus Carlsen, Norway takes fourth place in the seedings, but will probably do worse. After all, the World Champion, too, can only score one point per round, no matter how high his Elo is.

Women's Olympiad

At the Women's Olympiad, the absence of the top two teams from Russia and China is even more significant. After all, in the past eleven Women's Chess Olympiads since 1998, China and Russia together have won gold no less than nine times.

Number one seed is now India, which starts with Humpy Koneru and Harika Dronavalli on the first two boards, followed by Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Kulkarni Bhakti .

Second seed is Ukraine, and with the two Muzychuk sisters on the top boards, it is without doubt one of the top favourites for the gold medal. Third seed is Georgia and fourth seed is Kazakhstan.

The first round of the 44. Chess Olympiad will start 29 July, 15.00 local time. 11 rounds Swiss will be played, the venue is the spa Mahabalipuram near Chennai. This year's Olympiad promises to be hot as temperatures in July range between 30 and 35 degrees in Chennai.

Top 20 Teams Open

No.   Team Elo-Average Captain
1
 
United States of America 2771 Donaldson, John
2
 
Azerbaijan 2705 Abasov, Nijat
3
 
India 2696 Narayanan, Srinath
4
 
Norway 2692 Haarr, Jon Kristian
5
 
Spain 2687 Magem Badals, Jordi
6
 
Poland 2683 Socko, Bartosz
7
 
Netherlands 2672 Smeets, Jan
8
 
Ukraine 2666 Sulypa, Oleksandr
9
 
Germany 2664 Gustafsson, Jan
10
 
England 2662 Pein, Malcolm
11
 
India 2 2649 Ramesh, R B
12
 
Armenia 2642 Pashikian, Arman
13
 
Iran 2636 Pourramezanali, Amirreza
14
 
Uzbekistan 2625 Sokolov, Ivan
15
 
France 2621 Maze, Sebastien
16
 
Hungary 2621 Acs, Peter
17
 
India 3 2619 Bakre, Tejas
18
 
Czech Republic 2612 Simacek, Pavel
19
 
Croatia 2611 Kozul, Zdenko
20
 
Romania 2605 Miron, Lucian-Costin

 

Top 20 Teams Women's Olympiad

No.   Team Elo-Average Captain
1
 
India 2486 Kunte, Abhijit
2
 
Ukraine 2478 Brodsky, Michail
3
 
Georgia 2475 Jojua, Davit
4
 
Kazakhstan 2441 Kotsur, Pavel
5
 
Poland 2423 Dziuba, Marcin
6
 
France 2400 Gozzoli, Yannick
7
 
Azerbaijan 2399 Mamedov, Nidjat
8
 
United States of America 2390 Khachiyan, Melikset
9
 
Germany 2383 Yakovich, Yuri
10
 
Bulgaria 2367 Arnaudov, G. Petar
11
 
Armenia 2367 Andriasian, Zaven
12
 
India 2 2351 Swapnil, S. Dhopade
13
 
Hungary 2342 Papp, Gabor
14
 
Spain 2327 Martinez Martin, David
15
 
Cuba 2324 Alvarez Pedraza, Aramis
16
 
Netherlands 2312 Bosch, Jeroen
17
 
Serbia 2312 Chelushkina, Irina
18
 
Indonesia 2304 Lumondong, Lisa Karlina
19
 
Israel 2287 Botvinnik, Ilia
20
 
Romania 2283 Szabo, Gergely-Andras-Gyula

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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