Chess Olympiad: Humpy, other Indian players seek to learn from Gelfand and Anand
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand and Israeli chess great Boris Gelfand will work in tandem to guide Indian players ahead of the 44th Chess Olympiad as the Indian Chess Federation (AICF) brought the two legends together for the first camp home team training. in order to increase the chances of medals at this prestigious event.
A six-time contender for the world championships in Israel, Gelfand was appointed as a coach by the AICF alongside his mentor Anand. Members of the first teams from the open and women’s sections will attend the camp, which will be held at the Leela Hotel in Chennai from May 7-17.
Besides winning the World Cup in 2009, Gelfand has participated in 11 Chess Olympiads. He was ranked in the top 30 of the FIDE rating from 1990 to 2017 during his amazing 27-year career. The 52-year-old has also nurtured some of the best international players in the past, helping them succeed in big events.
“We want to make sure Indian teams have the best of everything, be it good living facilities and the best coaches. We want to create the right atmosphere to give them the best of themselves,” said AICF President Sanjay Kapoor.
Former rapid chess world champion Koneru Humpy believes the decision to appoint Gelfand in addition to mentor Anand will motivate players ahead of the Olympiad, which will be held in India for the first time ever, starting in Chennai on July 28. .
“Well, I don’t often go to training camps in general. This time having Gelfand and Anand as coaches and mentors will definitely motivate the team and there will definitely be a lot to learn from their experience,” she said.
The author of many popular books such as ‘Dynamic Decision Making in Chess’, ‘Technical Decision Making in Chess’ and ‘Positional Decision Making in Chess’ to name a few, Gelfand will use his technical knowledge and in-depth strategy of the game while interacting and training the Indian players in the camp.
“With the many books on decision-making written by Gelfand, we hope that our decision to chain ourselves to Gelfand will pay off,” added AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.
Open section first team members – Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, SL Narayanan and Krishnan Sasikiran – and women’s section first team players – Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, R Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni, will attend the camp with their respective coaches Srinath Narayanan and Abhijit Kunte.
Arjun and Sasikiran, who are currently playing tournaments in Europe, will join the camp a few days later. Sasikiran, a member of the bronze medal team in Tromso in 2014 who also won an individual silver medal at the same Olympiad, is delighted to be working with Gelfand. “I’m a huge fan of his and it’s the first time I’ve trained with such a strong player although we’ve played a few games against each other,” he said.
“It’s great to have him [Gelfand] as a coach. His experience and knowledge will help the Indian team immensely,” added Harikrishna, who will be playing his 10th Olympiad in Chennai.
The 11-day training camp will be intensive and grueling with players involved in six to seven hours of rigorous training per day. Players will also have a regular routine of yoga and meditation to improve their mental will as well as physical strength training.