2022 Chess Olympiad: Competitive Chess Comes to Chennai

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The super kings and queens of chess from countries worldwide are gathering in Chennai, India, for the 44th Chess Olympiad. The 2022 Chess Olympiad will start on July 29th and end on August 9th.

China won the last Chess Olympiad to be played live in 2018 but will not be participating in this year’s edition.

Thanks to the COVID pandemic, the 2020 Chess Olympiad was played online.

The Chess Olympiad attracts the strongest players in the world, and the Soviet Union team contained numerous world chess champions, including Botvinnik, Tal, and Smyslov.

Despite being without Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alireza Firouzja, France has put together an excellent team. They will have GM Laurent Fressinet on the team and would like him to show the form he displayed against Kramnik in 2013.

2022 Chess Olympiad Regulations

Each team consists of four players and a reserve. All team members are assigned a board and play opponents assigned to the same board.

The 2022 Chess Olympiad is an eleven-round Swiss Tournament with a 90+30 minute time control. The extra thirty minutes get added after move forty.

Since the Chess Olympiad is a team event, players earn a point for a win and half a point for a draw and they are combined – winners of each match receive two points for the win and one point if the match ends in a draw.

The winner of the 2022 Chess Olympiad will be the team with the most match points. There are no monetary prizes in the Chess Olympiad, with the winners awarded the Hamilton-Russell Cup.

The cup is named after the English magnate Frederick Hamilton-Russell who offered it as the prize at the first official Chess Olympiad. Hungary won the first official Chess Olympiad held in 1927 in London.

They would go on to win the second official Chess Olympiad and finish second in the third.

Interestingly FIDE was formed on the last day of the 1924 1st Unofficial Chess Olympiad, held in Paris, France. Two years later, the 2nd Unofficial Chess Olympiad took place in Budapest, Hungary.

There was a 3rd Unofficial Chess Olympiad in 1936 in Munich, Germany. Hungary won this Chess Olympiad ahead of Poland and Germany.

Garry Kasparov said, "The highest art of the chess player lies in not allowing your opponent to show you what he can do." Which country will put this into practice and stifle their opponents at the 2022 chess olympiad?

Who Are the Favorites to Win the 2022 Olympiad?

With an average rating of 2771, the United States remains the favorite to win the 2022 Chess Olympiad. The team with the second highest average rating is India (2696), who just edged out Norway by four points.

Because of Teimour Radjabov’s withdrawal from the 2022 Olympiad, the Azerbaijan team fell from second to sixth seed on average rating. The average rating of Azerbaijan with Radjabov is 2705 but drops twenty-five points to 2680 without him.

Radjabov cited post-COVID side-effects as the reason for his withdrawal after facing criticism from teammate Vasif Durabayli.

Two chess superpowers, China and Russia, are not participating in the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Russia is banned from participating, and China is hampered by travel restrictions enforced by the government in response to the pandemic.

Ding Liren, who is the second highest-rated player in the world, said at this year’s Candidate’s Tournament that he did not think that China would send teams to this year’s tournament.

China won the men’s and women’s gold medals at the 2018 Chess Olympiad, the last before the pandemic forced the tournament to be held online. The Chinese Women’s team won the 2016 Chess Olympiad as well.

2022 Chess Olympiad: The Top Three Teams

Top seed – USA (2771 average rating)

  1. GM Fabiano Caruana 2783
  2. GM Levon Aronian 2775
  3. GM Wesley So 2775
  4. GM Lenier Dominguez 2754
  5. GM Sam Shankland 2718

Second seed – India (2696 average rating)

  1. GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi  2723
  2. GM Pentala Harikrishna 2705
  3. GM Arjun Erigaisi 2675
  4. GM S L Narayanan 2662
  5. GM K. Sasikiran 2651

Third Seed – Norway (2692 average rating)

  1. GM Magnus Carlsen 2864
  2. GM Tari Aryan 2672
  3. GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2638
  4. GM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2593
  5. GM Urkedal Frode Olav Olsen 2555

History of the Chess Olympiad

Unsurprisingly the country with the most gold medals is the Soviet Union with eighteen (nineteen total medals), followed by Russia with eight (fourteen total medals), and the United States of America with six (twenty-two total medals).

The Chess Olympiad has taken place every two years since 1950; in 1976, there were two chess Olympiads. FIDE selected Israel as the host for the official 1976 Chess Olympiad and refused to change the venue despite protests from Russia and Arabic countries, who did not recognize the state of Israel.

The second 1976 chess Olympiad was called the Against Chess Olympiad and did not have a single grandmaster participating. Three countries sent teams to both Chess Olympiads – Italy, Philippines, and Uruguay.

In the twenty Chess Olympiads from 1952 until 1990, the Soviet Union won gold at eighteen Olympiads, finished second in one (1978), and boycotted one (1976).

The prestige of the Chess Olympiad draws the world’s best chess players. In the 1960 Leipzig Chess Olympiad Final-A, Bobby Fischer played Mikhail Tal.

Robert James Fischer – Mikhail Tal, 1960.11.01, 1/2-1/2, Leipzig ol (Men) fin-A Round 5, Leipzig GDR

In Conclusion

The 2022 Chess Olympiad is sure to treat us to many top-class chess games as the best players in the world compete against each other. We get treated to seeing the top four players from each country playing on the same team against another four incredibly strong players.

In the 2022 Chess Olympiad, as with every Chess Olympiad, there is the added motivation of playing for your country. Who will cope the best with this extra pressure?

No matter who wins, there will surely be many excellent games for us to enjoy and learn from over the twelve days of the 2022 Chess Olympiad.

Learning from great players of the past is a good way to improve, but do not discount the strength of modern players. There have been many exceptional games played within the last ten years.

GM Csaba Balogh has put together an excellent collection of Modern Masterpieces that teach us about many different aspects of chess play – attacks, endgames, sacrifices, and even excelling at preparation.

You can apply a lot of this practical wisdom to your games today. Get a copy of “Modern Masterpieces – The Balogh Method” today and save 50%!

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