Legendary Viswanathan Anand to mentor Indian chess players ahead of Asian Games

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has been hired as a mentor to Indian players seeking to make the squad for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where the sport will return after a 12-year hiatus .

The Indian Chess Federation (AICF) is eyeing a rich medal haul from its players at the Games, which are due to be held from September 10-25.

“Looking at the four gold medals at stake in the games, the legendary grandmaster Anand played a different role and will be the team’s mentor and the first session between him and the players will start next Thursday,” said the official. ‘AICF in a press release.

The AICF hopes to improve India’s performance at the 2010 Guangzhou Games, where India won two bronze medals.

“The Indian Chess Federations have started the preparation well in advance by selecting 10 probables each for the male and female team.” Players were selected based on their international ranking.

Probables for men include Vidit Gujarathi, P Harikrishna, Nihal Sarin, SL Narayanan, K Sasikiran, B Adhiban, Karthikeyan Murali, Arjun Erigaisi, Abhijeet Gupta and Surya Shekhar Ganguly.

The women’s team likely includes Koneru Humpy, D Harika, Vaishali R, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, Vantika Agrawal, Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan and Eesha Karavade.

The selection committee consisting of Abhijit Kunte, Dibeyandu Barua and Dinesh Sharma will decide on the final list of five players in April.

The chess event at the Games will start on September 11 and will be played in two formats. The men’s and women’s individual event will be played in rapid time control from September 11-14, while the five-member four-board team event will be played in standard time control from September 16-24.

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