The 44th Chess Olympiad that is being hosted at Mahabalipuram, Chennai will hit the record numbers as the Chess Olympiad with highest number of participating countries and teams, breaking the previous record that was set at the 43rd Chess Olympiad at Batumi, Georgia in 2018. This indeed is a cause for celebration in a pandemic world where sporting activities are slowly limping back to normalcy.
“We have 185 countries registered with 186 teams in the open section and 156 in the Women’s section. Batumi Olympiad had set a record with 179 countries with 184 teams in Open section and 150 in Women’s section. This is indeed a proud moment for all of us!” - Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary of All India Chess Federation ( AICF) and the Olympiad Director for this 2022 edition. Chess has travelled a long way and FIDE, the World Chess body which started the first official Olympiad in 1927 at London with 16 countries in fray too has reasons to celebrate this success after reposing faith in AICF to pull off this Herculean task in just about four months.
The biggest news coming from the event is the confirmed participation of reigning World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, the highest ever rated player on the planet. India as host country is eligible to field an extra team in both sections and has an opportunity to field a third team in case of odd number of entries.
After India was honoured with the right to host the Chess Olympiad in February this year, things have moved in a fast pace. AICF has been hard at working round the clock to ensure not only a smooth conduct of the event but also associating with FIDE to ensure monetary assistance to countries to field their teams. Efforts are also being put to see that this Olympiad is considered as one of the best organized Olympiad ever.
The convention Hall of the Four Points by Sheraton, Mahabalipuram is the venue and a temporary 50000 sqft, temporary structure is being built for the playing arena.
Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, President AICF was also happy and confided “Right from the time the Olympiad was awarded to us, we have been relentlessly working with a single minded focus , keeping the Olympic motto ‘swifter, higher, stronger’ in mind with regards to organizational aspects also”. The entire AICF team is working 24×7 and was visibly excited to see such strong response to the Olympiad.