10 chess players to represent Bhutan at the 44th Chess Olympiad

Thinley Namgay

Ten chess players, five men and five women, will represent Bhutan at the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held in Chennai, India, from July 28 to August 10.

The tournament will be an official international chess competition for Bhutanese players after eight years since the chess federation went dormant.

The chess club only started last year.

The Bhutan Chess Federation selected the players on May 21-22 in Thimphu through an open competition. Fifteen players took part in the selection.

Over the next two months, players will undergo online training.

The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament. The International Chess Federation, FIDE, selects the host country.

The tournament was supposed to take place in Russia, but following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, FIDE changed the venue.

Chess club general secretary Ugyen Wangchuk said all players participated in the Swiss system game with six rounds. “Only the top five players with the highest points are selected.”

He said they should use ranking but Bhutan lacks ranked players so far. “Additionally, those rated are out of the country or unable to attend the screening.”

Ugyen Wangchuk said he expects a good game from the players despite setbacks such as limited training, experience and international exposure.

Meanwhile, one player, Vakta Mongar, said that all players are self-taught. “The players didn’t have the right training and guidance courses. What we want is a good framework.

He said some good players didn’t come for selection. “It may be due to distance, remoteness or a family issue.”

Vakta Mongar said the chess federation needs to lay a good foundation for the future generation so that Bhutan can also participate in the Olympics.

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