The biennial chess Olympiad begins at Chennai on Friday (10.30 BST start, viewable live and free online) with an expected 188 teams in the open event and 162 in the women’s tournament. The United States, led by the world top 10 trio of Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Wesley So, are odds on to regain the trophy in the absence of Russia (banned) and China (Covid concerns).

India1 are the second seeds, but India2, with four fast rising teenagers, could be even stronger. The No3 seeds, Norway, are led by Magnus Carlsen in the No1’‘s first classical event since announcing that he will not defend his world crown in 2023. 

England’s last Olympiad medal was in 1990, they are seeded 10th and their aim is the top six. In recent years the team has been fifth in the 2018 Olympiad and second to Russia in the 2019 World Teams, while a few weeks ago England 50+ and 65+ both won gold at the World Seniors.

India and Ukraine are the top women’s seeds, with England 21st. Improvement will happen. The ECF has set up programmes for talented women and girls, while She Plays to Win provides free coaching and events for girls new to chess.

Away from the Olympiad, there was a significant result when England’s best junior Shreyas Royal, 13, defeated a German grandmaster in fine style at the Sparkassen Open in Dortmund.

Puzzle 2479

Danyyil Dvirnyy v Judit Polgar, Yerevan 2014. Black to move and win. How did the all-time No1 woman exploit White’s exposed king?

Click here for solution

*Correction: the article originally stated the Olympiad would start on Friday at 12.30 BST. The correct time is 10.30 BST

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