Looking back to Chennai: Juniors impress at the Olympiad

by André Schulz
8/19/2022 – The junior players impressed at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai. 13 of the world's top 20 juniors played on their countries' national teams. And ten of these 13 juniors improved their ratings significantly. But a few "oldies" also had remarkable results.

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At the start of the Olympiad, the US team was clear favourite and number one on the seeding list. However, two junior teams dominated the Chess Olympiad in Chennai: the junior team of India (India 2 ) and the young team from Uzbekistan. Both teams started with four U20 players, and three of the four U20 players in the Indian team are among the world's best juniors. The good results of the juniors show in the live-rankings published after the Olympiad.

It was Gukesh D who gained the most rating points. After eight rounds the 16-year-old (!) had racked up no less than eight wins, and had easily passed the mark of 2700+ Elo.

Gukesh (Photo: Stev Bonhage)

In the end Gukesh recorded a plus of 26 points and is now number 24 in the world.


Behind Gukesh, Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Nodirbek Yakubboev, board 1 and 2 from gold medalist Uzbekistan, gained the most rating, 21 and 20 points respectively.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Abdusattorov is the reigning World Rapid Chess Champion, but he is also quite good at "slow" chess:



The 20-year-old Yakubboev, three-time national champion of Uzbekistan, is  less known than Abdusattorov, but that will probably change soon. On top of that, with Javokhir Sindarov (16), who became Grandmaster at the age of 12, and Shamsiddin Vokhidov (18), the Uzbeks have two more young talents in their team, who also gained rating points, although not quite as many as their colleagues.

Javokhir Sindarov (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Apart from Gukesh, Nihal Sarin (+18) and Praggnanandhha (+14) particularly impressed in the Indian Youth Squad.






Behind team senior Adhiban (27), the 16-year-old Raunak Sadhwani, who became Grandmaster when he was 13, had a solid and good performance (+7 points).

Arjun Erigaisi had the "bad luck" of being put in Team India 1. With 8.5 out of 11 he was the best player of his team and gained a plus of 13 points. With a live-rating of 2702 he is now number 3 on the world's junior list and number 38 in world rankings.

Arjun Erigaisi (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

A German junior also showed a good performance Vincent Keymer, Germany's board one, was the best player on his team. He gained 8 rating points and is now number seven of the world's best U20 players. While some players will soon be too old for the juniors list, the 17-year old Keymer will be there for another three years.

Vincent Keymer (Photo: Mark Livshitz)

With an Elo-performance of 2867 Gukesh won gold on board one, but one player had an even better Elo-performance: David Howell, England's board three, scored 7.5/8 against strong opponents and finished with a 2898 performance. A fine performance for such an "old man". After all, Howell is already 31 years old.




In the Women's Olympiad, Oliwia Kiolbasa, Poland' board three, had the best performance. She started with 9 out of 9(!), but then drew in round ten and lost against Anna Ushenina in the final round. However, despite this loss she still finished with an Elo-performance of 2565.

The Swedish chess legend Pia Cramling won gold for the best performance (2532) on board one and had the second best performance overall. She played in every round and finished with 9.5/11 (8 wins, 3 draws) and an Elo-performance of 2532.

With a score of 7.5/10 the young, still untitled Eline Roebers, who played first board for the Netherlands, also had a performance of 2532, but as Cramling had played one more game than Roebers, gold went to the Swede. Cramling also won the individual encounter against Roebers.


Pia Cramling (Photo: Madelene Belinki)

The Wikipedia claims that Pia Cramling will turn 60 next year. Hard to believe...

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


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