Last week the victorious Uzbek Olympiad team arrived back in Tashkent from Chennai at 3am, and were met by crowds of cheering supporters. The Uzbek government, which already ploughs $4mn a year into chess, announced that the five team members would each receive a car and a $55,000 cash bonus.

One secret of their success was the starring role of their coach Ivan Sokolov. The Dutch-Bosnian grandmaster, world No 12 at his peak, was already respected due to his earlier work with Iran’s talents and his forecast several years ago that Alireza Firouzja could become world champion.

Sokolov has now revealed details of his successful campaign in a long and informative interview for chess.com. It is full of fascinating material.

Back in India, the disappointing team medals behind Uzbekistan and Armenia were offset by the individual top board list, which showed the new national hero Gukesh D with gold ahead of the Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov, with silver and, most importantly, world champion Magnus Carlsen with only bronze.

Almost all the top 20 world players in the rating list lost points in Chennai, with America’s Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian shredding the most. This immediately puts pressure on the two major chess tours, the Meltwater online Tour and the St Louis-based Grand Tour, to find places for the new teenage stars.

This weekend the British championship reaches its final rounds in Torquay. Games (2.30pm start, 10am Sunday ) are live and free to watch at chess24.com.

Puzzle 2482 
Gawain Jones vs Lei Tingjie, Charity Cup 2022. White to play. What was the English grandmaster’s winning move?

For solution, click here

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