" He hoped all the players reach their peak at the Olympiad."
By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, July 28 - The Indian team for the ensuing 41st World Chess Olympiad in Norway is a mix of experienced and motivated young players and hoping to do well, a team member said.

The 11-round team event will kick start Aug 2 and conclude Aug 14 at Tromse in the land of World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.

At 33 years of age, I am the oldest team member. All the team members are in good form and shape. Grandmaster (GM) B. Adhiban recently won the Masters tournament at Biel in Switzerland. Similarly GM Parimarjan Negi is playing well in another international tournament now, GM K. Sasikiran told IANS.

The five member Indian team consists of GMs Sasikiran, Negi, Adhiban, S.P. Sethuraman and Lalith Babu M.R.

The same team tied for the first place with China scoring 16 points at the Asian Nations Cup held in Iran in May.

I took one month time off to prepare for the Olympiad after the Asian Nations Cup tournament. I am confident of playing well, Sethuraman told IANS.

Speaking about the teams preparations with two of the members playing in tournaments outside India, Sasikiran said: All the team members have prepared well and are in good shape. Chess is an individual game though there is a team.

Queried about the strategy to be adopted during the tournament he said: Everything will be clear only when we go there. One thing that experience has taught us is to retain the initial energy through out the event so that after doing well in the initial rounds we do not flunk at the fag end.

According to him only after rounds seven and eight out of the total 11 would be crucial for the team's overall ranking.

Fresh from their success at the Asian Nations Cup tourney the team may adopt some of the strategies followed there at the Olympiad.

It has been the practice of Indian chess teams in the past to field the highest ranked player on the top board and the next highest rated player on the second board and so on.

But other global teams aiming to win the medal would field its strongest players at the lower boards.

The idea is to secure a win at the lower boards with top rated players while the lower rated team members will try to hold/draw their games at the top boards against stronger opponents.

At the Asian Nations Cup the Indian team decided break away from the tradition and adopted the alternate strategy of playing Sasikiran and Negi on the second and fourth boards.

When asked whether the Indian team would adopt a similar strategy Sasikiran without ruling that out said: It is too early to say. We will know the board playing orders of other teams only a day before the start of the first round.

The Indian team is ranked 18th amongst the various teams based on average rating of the team members.

On paper the team may look as lower rated. But going by the current form of the team members the Indian team would certainly do well, Sasikiran said.

This aspect should be looked at differently. The players who have lower ratings are upcoming young players. The problem will be serious is a senior player has a lower rating. The young and upcoming players are full of energy and it is good for the team, GM R.B.Ramesh and coach for the Indian team told IANS.

He hoped all the players reach their peak at the Olympiad.

The Indian team (Sasikiran, Babu and Sethuraman and coach Ramesh) would leave for Norway Tuesday while Adhiban and Negi would join them there.

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