Anand not to lead team in Olympiad

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand has confirmed he will not lead the Indian team at the Chess Olympiad later this week. Anand believes the format does not

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Even as there is euphoria over Viswanathan Anand's winning the World Chess Cup title once again, there is some grim news for chess enthusiasts. Anand will not lead the Indian team to the 35th Chess Olympiad to be held from October 25 in Slovenia. If Anand had played along with the other players like Sasikiran and Harikrishna, India could have been a tough team to beat. Anand however, believes the format does not give a fair chance to all teams. His decision has upset the Indian chess establishment. N Ghalib, Arbiter, World Chess Cup, said, "If not gold, we can get silver for sure, because our real opposition is Russia. If Anand plays on board one, he can beat or draw with Kasparov or Kramnik. The rest of the job will be done by Sasikiran and Harikrishna." But the world champion has his reasons for staying out. "I find the format pretty random. You play 10 or 12 rounds and then in the last round, some team plays a weak team, scores 4-0 and they come for the medals. This has happened a couple of times when we were doing well and then we ran into a strong team. So I find the format rather off-putting," elaborated Anand. At the last Olympiad in 2000, India without Anand, had finished eighth. That has been, so far, India's best performance in this international team tournament.