When the forty fourth Chess Olympiad involving greater than 180 international locations begins in Mahabalipuram later this month, Grandmaster (GM) Boris Gelfand will probably be following Indian performances keenly. The Soviet-born Israeli chess ace spent ten days with the highest 10 Indian gamers (the hosts are fielding 5 squads of 5 gamers every, throughout the open and girls classes) at a camp in Chennai in Could, imparting important classes he discovered in a three-decade-long skilled profession.
Few are as acquainted with the Olympiad as Gelfand. The 54-year-old took half in 11 iterations from 1990 to 2014, representing Soviet Union in 1990, Belarus in 1994 and 1996 and Israel in eight editions. The choice then to have Gelfand as mentor was unanimously taken by the gamers and the All India Chess Federation (AICF).
With five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand additionally enjoying the position of mentor, Indian gamers couldn’t have had a greater build-up to an occasion they’ve by no means gained (they had been joint winners with Russia within the first on-line version in 2020).
“It is vitally good that the Indian gamers have been getting ready upfront. It’s a actually vital match,” Gelfand stated on Sunday. Whereas Gelfand didn’t need to reveal the finer particulars of the inputs he supplied, the gamers’ keenness to be taught was a giant takeaway for the 2012 world championship challenger.
“I’ve a really optimistic feeling as a result of everybody who attended the camp confirmed dedication and want to be taught. I noticed how every participant is motivated to do effectively. It provides me very large hope that the Olympiad will work effectively for all of the Indian groups. We labored on completely different features of the sport as a gaggle and I additionally had particular person classes with a lot of the members. We labored on particular person weaknesses and tried to beat them. We additionally targeted on finish video games and center video games and tried to reinforce their imaginative and prescient and concepts about chess,” stated Gelfand, who was ranked among the many prime 30 gamers on the earth from January 1990 to October 2017.
Gelfand stated the Olympiad has develop into “way more aggressive” from when he first took half greater than three many years in the past.
“The primary time I performed in 1990, the variety of groups with skilled/sturdy gamers was restricted. One or two groups had skilled gamers and the remaining had been amateurs. Now, nearly 50 international locations have skilled gamers. They’re consistently getting ready. Even within the first spherical you’ll be able to count on some surprises now. It means the variety of groups that may struggle for medals is excessive. All of the Indian groups have an opportunity of successful a medal,” added Gelfand.
Through the camp, Gelfand and Anand, 52, labored in tandem briefly to organize the Indian gamers. They return a great distance, their most notable duel being the 2012 world championship match that Anand gained 8.5-7.5 to efficiently retain the title.
“I’ve a wonderful relationship with Anand. We’re consistently in contact. I do teaching for his academy and share my information with prime Indian gamers. Our world championship match was a recreation between two buddies who tried to indicate supremacy over the board but in addition had respect off it. His longevity will not be a shock. His stage of chess understanding and enthusiasm is extraordinarily excessive. After all, with age it’s arduous to maintain vitality however there isn’t any doubt he can beat anybody on his good day and continues to be the most effective gamers on the earth.”
Gelfand is equally assured of the rising Indian gamers. “The younger era of Indian gamers is unbelievable. By no means in historical past have we seen such a giant focus of expertise.”