World No. 2 Koneru Humpy believes India has a very strong side at the online Chess Olympiad beginning on Friday.
The star-studded squad comprises the likes of five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand, P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, D. Harika, R.Vaishali and teen sensations Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa.
“I am happy to be part of this team and I hope it will be an exciting tournament,” Humpy told The Hindu over phone from Vijayawada on Wednesday. “India has good chances but in rapid and blitz chess, reputations don’t matter much.”
India, which has been seeded directly to the top division along, has some strong rivals in Group A. “China will, of course, be a tough challenge,” she said. “But I think Iran, Germany, Georgia and Vietnam have also some very good players.”
She said she had begun to enjoy playing online chess more after the recent Women’s Speed Chess Grand Prix series organised by FIDE. She had reached the final of the last leg.
“I wasn’t too keen about playing online or speed chess earlier, but I am more comfortable after the Grand Prix.”
India opens its campaign with what should be an easy match against Zimbabwe. Later on Friday, India will take on Vietnam and Uzbekistan.