Lull before the storm at the FIDE Online Olympiad 2021
India's journey at the FIDE Online Olympiad 2021 begins from the 8th of September 2021 at 4.30 p.m. The players arrived at Taj Coromandel on 6th of September and the premise has turned into a mini-training camp. You can see coaches working with the players and the seriousness in the eyes of each of the participant. At the same time you can also see the camaraderie as jokes are cracked and hyper bullet is played! Staying at one place has definitely helped the team to create a strong bond - one of the key elements to progress in this event. IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal bring you the entire happenings from Chennai and describes the atmosphere. It's the "Lull before the Storm!"
The FIDE Online Olympiad 2021 is about to begin in a few hours from now and the excitement levels in the chess fans is at an all time high. In 2020, Indian team performed really well and won a joint gold medal along with Russia.
The question on everyone's mind is whether India will be able to better its performance and win the gold medal once again, but this time solely! Let's have a look at the pairings and what's in store for team India.
The FIDE Online Olympiad began with over 150 teams and now the number of teams left are just 40. 25 teams have been seeded based on their average rating strength, while 15 have qualified from the previous stages. Four pools have been created of 10 teams each and top two teams in each pool will qualify for the quarter finals. For India the biggest challenge in the group stage will come from Azerbaijan who has Mamedyarov and Radjabov in their ranks. An important thing to remember for Indian fans is that although two team qualify for the quarter finals from each pool, it is quite important that India finishes first. That's because the 2nd placed team in B group (India's group) will play against 1st place team in C-group - Russia.
While there are several strong teams in each group, I have tried to predict a bit in the video below. China looks the strongest in Group A, India in group B, Russia and Group C and Poland in group D.
Microsense and Taj Coromandel
The first time I saw the name Microsense was back in 2017 when both Adhiban and Harikrishna had their logo on their t-shirts at the World Cup 2017. Microsense had sponsored both of them and in the next couple of years I heard the name several times - they have supported over 30 young talents of Indian chess with yearly sponsorships. They have also been the reason why some of the best youngsters of our country got a chance to work with world class players like Kramnik and Gelfand. This time as well it is Microsense, who has decided to rise up to the occasion and have brought the entire team together by providing them with accommodation along with boarding at the Taj Coromandel in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Nine out of twelve players have been able to make it to the hotel. Harikrishna, who lives in Prague, did not fly to Chennai and will be playing from home. Humpy and Harika couldn't make it due to personal reasons.
Fixing the internet issues
In 2020, one of the problems that the entire team faced at the Online Olympiad was with regards to the internet. Mid way through the tournament, the Indian team tried to work with Speedify, a company that ensures switching over of your internet connection without a huge delay. This time the team has gone one step ahead and Microsense has put up a three tier connection for the players. When it comes to technical details, I am not a huge expert, but a three tier connection essentially means that if the primary internet goes down, it automatically switches to the secondary and if the secondary goes down, then you have the wireless connection.
The Team and the camaraderie
AICF and the support
The All India Chess Federation has helped the players in various ways for this event. The entire cost of the travel of the players is being borne by the Federation. Also the players will be paid a fee for playing at this event. The team has coaches which have been employed by the Federation. Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, the president of AICF, mentioned about his trust in Vishy's leadership skills and the abilities of each of the player.
On 6th of September 2021, a press conference was held in the Taj hotel. All the team members, coaches and sponsors answered questions posed to them by media.
Live commentary from 4 p.m. onwards
Live commentary will be done by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal from the venue and Samay Raina from his home in Pune.
Schedule for commentary:
Day 1, 8th of September, Rounds 1 to 3 - Samay Raina's Channel, 4 p.m. onwards
Day 2, 9th of September, Rounds 4 to 6 - ChessBase India, 4 p.m. onwards
Day 3, 10th of September, Rounds 7 to 9 - Samay Raina's Channel, 4 p.m. onwards
Day 4, 13th of September, Quarter Finals - ChessBase India, time to be announced
Day 5, 14th of September, Semi-Finals - Samay Raina's Channel, time to be announced
Day 6, 15th of September, Finals - ChessBase India, time to be announced
On all six days we will also have Live commentary on the ChessBase India Hindi channel by Niklesh Jain.