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The entire Gold medal winning Indian team from Online Olympiad 2020 interviewed by ChessBase India

by Sagar Shah - 18/09/2020

12 individuals played out of their skin to ensure that team India win its first ever medal at an Olympiad. Team India and Russia jointly won the FIDE Online Olympiad 2020. IM Sagar Shah got in touch with 14 individuals who were an integral part of this victory. 12 players - Vishy Anand, Vidit Gujrathi, Harikrishna, Aravindh Chithambaram, Koneru Humpy, D. Harika, Bhakti Kulkarni, R. Vaishali, Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Vantika Agrawal and Divya Deshmukh. Additionally we also spoke to vice captain Srinath Narayanan who played a huge role in India's victory and Samay Raina who helped to bring in huge number of followers for the event! 

The achievement of team India at the Online Olympiad 2020 was a huge one! Along with Russia we were declared as the co-champions of the tournament. When the tournament ended I wanted to make sure that the entire story of the team was brought out and the fans got to know about every individual who contributed to the success of the Indian team. Here are the 13 interviews in the order they were done on the ChessBase India YouTube channel:

1. Vishy Anand

Vishy Anand speaks about all of his games at the Online Olympiad 2020 and takes us through the critical moments

2. GM Srinath Narayanan - The Wise Captain

12 players fought it out on the board. But if there was one person who contributed in a huge way off the board, it was the wise (vice) captain - GM Srinath Narayanan. From helping every player to be prepared for their games to fixing internet and electricity issues Srinath Narayanan did it all.

3. WIM Divya Deshmukh - The Fearless CEO

Why do we call Divya the fearless CEO? Well, she is fearless as shown by the moves she makes on the board! Always ready to push her h-pawn down the board, always ready for a fight. And CEO? Well, the confidence with which she speaks, the way she dresses and the professional approach to every interview gives you a CEO like vibe! Divya speaks about few of her games and we also review some of her old videos on the ChessBase India channel

4. GM Koneru Humpy - the comeback fighter and super mom

This interview gives you an overview of what a huge fighter Koneru Humpy is. Two years off from chess to take care of her daughter Ahana and then coming back to become the World Rapid Champion 2019, and now an Olympiad Gold. How many of us can achieve such a feat?

5. GM R.Praggnanandhaa and WGM R. Vaishali - the golden siblings of Indian chess

One house - two gold medals. Pragg and Vaishali analyze some of their games, solve positions and we also invite GM R.B. Ramesh to give us more insights into why Pragg and Vaishali are such big achievers.

6. GM Nihal Sarin - The Master Trickster

The way in which Nihal tricks his opponents in time pressure is what has led to this sobriquet of Master Trickster. We check Nihal's videos on ChessBase India channel, his games from the online olympiad and we ask Nihal to solve some positions which are really tough!

7. GM Vidit Gujrathi - Captain Cool

A completely different form of interview, where we take a look at how GM Vidit Gujrathi evolved from a young talent to the captain of Indian team. Some of the most amazing pictures of Vidit's life were provided by his sister Vedika Gujrathi. If you want to know more about Vidit, the person, this is the interview for you.

8. GM Harika Dronavali - The Unshakeable

Unshakeable comes from Harika's solidity in every game that she plays. She played so many games at the Online Olympiad 2020 with the black pieces and was able to hold her own against the best. How did Harika work towards becoming a world-class player. What's her life story. We get to know more about Harika in this interview. A spoiler - For nearly 6 years Harika woke up at 6 a.m. every day to work on chess!

9. GM P. Harikrishna - God of Endgame

Harikrishna's endgame skills saved many a crucial points for team India. How did Hari become such a strong endgame player? In this interview we try to understand Harikrishna's genesis and his entire life story! PS: Don't miss Harikrishna's dance skills!

10. WIM Vantika Agrawal - The all rounder

Vantika is an all rounder. She is improving her chess each day and at the same time in her education she is able to balance things wonderfully and scored 95% in the 12th grade CBSE exams. How does she do it? We find out.

11. GM Aravindh Chithambaram - Braving all odds

The amount of hardships faced by GM Aravindh Chithambaram in his life are huge. He has braved all of them and has kept moving forward. He is just 21 years old and already has an Elo of 2641. Get to know the story of this soft spoken genius.

12. IM Bhakti Kulkarni - the smiling assasssin

Bhakti Kulkarni is the current national champion of India. She scored 3.0/3 and helped team India in its bid to become the champion. But did you know Bhakti is also a wonderful singer? Check out this video to see some of Bhakti's amazing hidden talents.

Through the above interviews you get to know the Indian team better. One individual who played a big role in popularizing the Online Olympiad 2020 is India's stand-up comedian. He has been able to bring in new people to follow chess and in the finals of the event we had a concurrent viewership of 68000 people! These numbers have been unheard of in the chess circles! Who is Samay Raina and how did he begin to work on chess promotion. We did a detailed interview with him. Watch it and get to know him better:

The evolution of Samay Raina - a stand-up comedian, a chess promoter and a printing engineer!

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