Chennai, March 21 (IANS) India’s top chess players have started gearing up for a podium finish in the Olympiad — to be held at Batumi in Georgia this September — by, well, starting their day playing table tennis.
Playing table tennis is part of the physical exercise for the Indian Olympiad team members at the coaching camp currently being held in a five-star hotel in Delhi.
“Chess players should exercise their back and their leg muscles as they sit for a longer duration. They should also sit straight — a slouching posture will affect thinking as the oxygen intake while breathing will be relatively less,” a physical trainer told IANS.
The first of the three camps started on March 16 and will end on March 23. The next camp will be held between June 5 and 12 in Dehradun, Mussoorie or Bengaluru, and the last camp will be held in Georgia between September 13 and 20.
Queried about the need for a coaching camp for the chess team as chess is basically an individual game even at a team event, Grand Master B. Adhiban told IANS: “Team bonding is important. We get to know each player well.”
“We exchange ideas and also understand the thought process of top players in the world like Anand and Harikrishna. Their thought processes are different,” he added
According to him, the presence of the top two players is very inspiring for other players and much is learnt from them.
The five-member Indian men’s team at the Olympiad will be spearheaded by five-time World Champion and the current World No.10, Grand Master (GM) Viswanathan Anand (ELO rating of 2,776). The other members are World No.26 GM P. Harikrishna (ELO 2,731) and World No.34 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (ELO 2,723).
The fourth and fifth members of team would be selected from World No.77 GM K. Sasikiran (ELO 2,671), GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly (ELO 2,657), GM B. Adhiban (ELO 2,650) and GM S.P. Sethuraman (ELO 2,649) based on their rating on the cut-off date.
On a rough calculation, the average rating of the Indian team will be around 2,700.
The team’s non-playing captain will be GM R.B. Ramesh.
“The Indian men’s team for this Olympiad will be one of the strongest in the tournament,” All India Chess Federation (AICF) Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan told IANS.
Speaking about a typical day in the camp Adhiban said: “We play table tennis in the morning and in the evening. We also play practice games with each other.
Adhiban said the players also do situational analysis and review other games. “Basically, doing a mixture of all things,” Adhiban said.
Queried about hiring a foreign GM as the team coach Chauhan said: “The Indian players are strong and a foreign coach may not add much value.”
However, the Indian women’s team for the Olympiad will have a foreign coach.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])