Bhutanese chess players will land in Chennai today for the 44th Chess Olympiad

Thinley Namgay

Ten chess players and two team captains from the Bhutan Chess Federation landed in Kolkata, India yesterday to compete in the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai which kicks off tomorrow.

The Bhutan team will land in Chennai today.

For the first time, five Bhutanese players are taking part in this biennial competition.

Bhutan is participating in the Chess Olympiad for the second time after the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Norway in 2014.

The Bhutan Chess Federation selected the players in May.

The International Chess Federation, FIDE coach Vishal Sareen from India and Chaturanga from Sri Lanka trained the participants for three months. Bhutan’s only FIDE-certified national instructor, Karma Sonam, also trained the players.

Chess club general secretary Ugyen Wangchuk said the Bhutan team members are competent as most of the players are mostly engineers, who are either employed or self-employed and four are students. “One is a student and three are schoolchildren. The two youngest players are from Dr Tobgyel school in Thimphu.

According to the General Secretary, the Chess Olympiad is the most prestigious platform, where all the world champions gather to play. “I expect some wins since the players have been coached by famous FIDE certified coach Vishal, an Indian international master.”

Ugyen Wangchuk said most of the players come from other dzongkhags and over-training is not possible. “It was very difficult to have coaches because the federation is quite recent.”

Bhutan Chess Club was launched only last year.

The Chess Olympiad should also allow young players to gain experience to compete in the 2023 Youth Olympiad.

The 44th Chess Olympiad was supposed to take place in Russia, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, FIDE changed venue.

More than 2,000 players from 180 countries will take part in the tournament which ends on August 10.

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