Seldom do a World Chess Champion and his Challenger from a different country find themselves on the same side but incredibly five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand and his 2012 Challenger, Boris Gelfand will be working in unison to strengthen the medal winning capacity of the Indian A teams in both the Open and Women’s section.
The All India Chess Federation (AICF) after declaring the largest ever contingent of 25 members for the forthcoming Chess Olympiad scheduled at Chennai from 28th July to 10th August, has announced a series of Coaching camps prior to the event. Boris Gelfand will be the coach for the first coaching camp, slated at the Hotel Leela in Chennai from 7th May while Anand will be mentoring the team.
52-year-old Gelfand has been a World Championship Candidate six times, won a World Cup, played in 11 Chess Olympiads and has been ranked in the top 30 in FIDE rankings from 1990 to 2017, a astonishing 27 years. Gelfand has been a prolific winner in prestigious tournaments throughout the World and has also authored numerous books like ’Dynamic decision making in chess’, ‘Technical decision making in chess’, ‘Positional decision making in chess’ to name a few.
It has been a great move by AICF to rope in Gelfand for the coaching stint. “We want to ensure that the Indian teams have the best of everything be it good staying facilities and the best of coaches. We want to create an atmosphere which is conducive to give them their best” said Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, President of AICF while Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary AICF quipped in a jocular note “ With the numerous Decision making books authored by Gelfand we hope that our decision to rope in Gelfand pays off”.
India A Team comprising of Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna, Arjun Erigaisi, S L Narayanan and Krishnan Sasikran along with coach Srinath Narayanan and the Women’s A team featuring Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, R. Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni along with Coach Abhijit Kunte will participate in the coaching camp. Arjun and Sasikiran will be joining the Camp a couple of days later as they are participating in tournaments in Europe.
The Coaching Camp will be as intensive and as gruelling as it can get with players involved in 6 to 7 hours of rigorous training. Most players also have a regular routine of Yoga and Meditation to enhance their mental will power along with physical strength training.
Saiskiran, a member of the Bronze winning Indian team at the Tromso Olympiad in 2014 had also won an individual Silver medal at the same Olympiad is all excited at the prospect of working with Gelfand. “ I am a big fan of him and this is the first time that I would be training with such a strong player though we have played a few games against each other”
Pentala Harikrishna will be playing his 10th Olympiad and welcomed the Idea training with Gelfand “ It is great to have him as a coach. His experience and knowledge will immensely help the Indian team” he added.
Srinath the Coach too was upbeat about Gelfand working with the players and quipped “I am really looking forward to it. The facilities will be excellent, and it will be very important platform for the team to get together and bond before the Olympiad”.