44th FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022 was held at the Four Points by Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort and Convention Centre in Poonjeri village in Mamallapuram/Mahabalipuram (a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage site) near Chennai, Tamil Nadu(TN), India from 28th July 2022 to 9th August 2022.
- This is the first time the Chess Olympiad is being hosted in India and the first in Asia after 30 years.
- The 30th FIDE Chess Olympiad held in 1992 in Manila, Philippines was the last chess olympiad held in Asia.
The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad was inaugurated on July 28 at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai in the presence of Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi, and Chief Minister (CM) of TN Muthuvel Karunanidhi (MK) Stalin. The event concluded with a closing ceremony at Nehru Indoor Stadium(Chennai) on 9th August 2022.
Note: Initially the 44th Chess Olympiad was planned to be held in Moscow, Russia and later it was moved out to Chennai, Tamil Nadu(India) following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
It was organized by the TN State Government, All India Chess Federation (AICF), and International Chess Federation (FIDE).
- The coordinating committee was headed by the CM MK Stalin.
The budget for the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022 was Rs 92.13 crores.
The official mascot was named ‘Thambi’ (Younger Brother), a chess knight dressed in the traditional Tamil male attire veṭṭi with a white shirt. He was depicted with folded hands, extending the Tamil greeting ‘Vanakkam’.
i.The event saw the participation of 188 teams, representing 186 national federations in the open section for the Hamilton-Russell Cup, and 162 teams representing 160 federations in the women’s section for the Vera Menchik Cup.
ii.The total number of participants was 1,737, with 937 in the Open Section and 800 in the Women’s event.
iii.The event consists of an 11-round Swiss tournament.
iv.The best combined results of a nation in both the sections decides the winner of the Nona Gaprindashvili Trophy.
- The event had the highest ever number of countries participating, the highest number of teams participating and the highest number of entries in the women’s section.
- A record total of 30 Indian players across 6 teams – 3 in open and 3 in women, participated in the 44th Chess Olympiad.
i.Uzbekistan, one of the youngest teams, defeated the Netherlands by 2.5-1.5 and secured the gold medal in Open Section. It was their first overall medal in the Chess Olympiads.
- The Uzbekistan team was led by 17-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov.
- It was followed by Armenia with a silver medal.
ii.Ukraine claimed their second gold in the Women’s event.
- It previously won in 2006.
- It was followed by Georgia with the silver medal.
iii.British player David Howell had the highest score for an individual player in the Open event, scoring 7½ out of a possible 8 points with a performance rating of 2898.
iv.Oliwia Kiołbasa from Poland had the highest individual score in the Women’s event scoring 9½ of a possible 11 points with a performance rating of 2565.
India in 44th Chess Olympiad 2022:
India clinched two bronze medals with 18 match points.
i.India ‘B’ team settled for a bronze medal in the Open section Average rating of 2649.
- It was India’s second medal at the Chess Olympiad after a bronze in 2014.
- The India B team consisted of Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Nihal, Raunak and Adhiban Baskaran.
Note: Adhiban Baskaran is the only Indian to win 2 Olympiad medals. He was a part of the team that won the bronze in the 2014 Olympiad as well as the team that won the Bronze in the 2022 Olympiad.
ii.India ‘A’ women’s team also finished third and won bronze in the Chess Olympiad with Average rating of 2486.
- It was India’s first-ever medal at the Olympiad in the women’s section.
- The India A team, consisted of Koneru Humpy, Harika, Rameshbabu Vaishali, Tania Sachdev, and Bhakti Kulkarni.
iii.India A team won the Nona Gaprindashvili Cup at the 44th Chess Olympiad. It is the best federation at the Olympiad and the award is a combined rank sum of the open & women’s section.
- The United States (US) was runner-up for this trophy.
iv.Besides the two medals in the team events, India also won seven individual medals, including two gold, one silver and four bronze.
- D Gukesh and Nihal Sarin won the gold medals on the men’s board 1 and board 2, respectively, while Arjun Erigaisi bagged the silver medal on board 3. R Praggnanandhaa (men’s board 3), R Vaishali (women’s board 3), Tania Sachdev (women’s Board 3) and Divya Deshmukh (women’s reserve board) claimed individual bronze medals.
v.Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi became the seventh Indian to cross the 2700 ELO rating.
1st Chess Olympiad Torch Relay covers 75 Cities across India
A torch relay was held prior to the event. It was held for the first time in Chess Olympiad history. It started on July 19, 2022, at the Indira Gandhi Arena in New Delhi, where FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed the torch to the Indian PM Narendra Modi, who passed it to former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand.
- The torch was then taken to 75 cities in 40 days, finishing in Chennai where it passed through Shore Temple. The torch arrived at the venue in Mahabalipuram on the morning of 27 July.
i.The State Government of TN is implementing several schemes under the ‘Dravidian model,’ to make the state a pioneer in sports.
ii.The 93rd FIDE Congress also took place during the Olympiad, at which Arkady Dvorkovich was re-elected as FIDE President and Viswanathan Anand was elected as FIDE Deputy President.
iii.India Post issued a postage stamp featuring the Olympiad. It was unveiled during a ceremony on International Chess Day on July 20, 2022.
iv.Players, Manuel Aaron, first international master in chess in India, who hails from Tamil Nadu and officials were also honoured during the event.
v.Renowned actor Kamal Haasan gave the voice-over for the event, which was part of 75th anniversary of independence celebrations.
vi.Tech Mahindra Ltd, an Indian software enterprise, has been named as a digital sponsor for chess olympiad. Tech Mahindra will supply smart technological services such as Fan Nxt.Now as part of this agreement.
Budapest, Hungary to host of the 45th Olympiad
FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich closed the 44th Olympiad, and the Olympic flag was handed over to Laszlo Szabo, president of the Hungarian Chess Federation as Budapest, Hungary will host the 45th Chess Olympiad.
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About International Chess Federation (FIDE):
President– Arkady Dvorkovich
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland