SEE: Chess fever grips Chennai ahead of Olympiad

India’s chess legend Viswanathan Anand had a pleasant surprise on Tuesday morning as he got his milk delivered in a special packet to celebrate the upcoming Chess Olympiad.

“When your morning milk is delivered like this …. @AavinTN @CMOTamilnadu @FIDE_chess @aicfchess #chennaichess2022 VanakamChessChennai,” tweeted Anand, who will be the team mentor for the Indian team at the Olympiad.

Chennai is sporting a chequered look these days with bridges in city painted in black and white squares to resemble the chess board, while the metros are displaying chess boards and the Chess Olympiad mascot Thambi.

It is going to be a festival of chess in India with the 44th Chess Olympiad taking place at Poonjeri village in Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram —  a UNESCO heritage site, situated around 50 kilometres from Chennai.

Even the police officers on duty at the venue couldn’t resist trying their hand at a game of chess during their off time.

“SINGHAMS ON BOARD Officers of @tnpoliceoffl enjoyed a game of chess at the venue of the 44th #ChessOlympiad The #chess fever is for real,” the All India Chess Federation tweeted.

The Chess Olympiad, which will be held at the Four Point by Sheraton from 28th July to 10th August, has attracted a record 187 countries, with 188 teams in Open section and 162 in the women’s sections.

India as hosts could field an extra team in both sections but the registration of odd entries in both sections resulted in India being able to field six teams. This means that a whopping 30 Indians are playing in the same edition of the Olympiad. Previously, at best 10 players played in the same edition of the Olympiad.

India has emerged as one of the top chess nations in the world in the recent years. The country has won three medals at the world’s biggest chess event, the Olympiad since 2014. Two of the medals, gold and bronze, came in virtual editions, held in the last two years.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) also named India as the starting flame point for its newly introduced Olympic-style concept, Chess Olympiad Torch Relay, as it will always begin from India for every edition of the event.

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