The 44th Chess Olympiad held in India for the first time ever saw a record number of teams taking part in the Open and Women’s sections. It was held from 29 July to 10 August in Chennai. Each team consisted of four players plus one reserve player.
A total of 188 teams participated in the Open section, while 162 teams participated in the Women’s section.
Sri Lanka who were ranked 112 in the Open section at the commencement of the Olympiad, impressed their opponents with quite amazing scores to improve their ranking to 68 and obtained a Category Prize in Group C placing 4th. Not to be outdone, the Women’s section also obtained a Category Prize in Group D placing 3rd.
The Olympiad was held in the format of a total of 11 rounds, in which the pairings were done under the Swiss system of Olympiad pairing system.
The past two weeks were filled with dedicated teams from around the globe who went head-to-head against each other to win the title ‘the strongest chess nation of the world.’
In the final (11th round) of the Open section, Sri Lanka faced Romania and lost 3-1. Ranindu Liyanage and L.M.S.T. de Silva did well to draw their games against the strong Romanian team. At the end of the 11th round Sri Lanka was ranked No.68. The teams that obtained the top three spots in the Open section were Uzbekistan, Armenia and India 2 respectively.
In the Women’s section, Sri Lankan were pitted against Norway in the 11th round. The team could only score 1.5 points with H.M.H.J. Abeysinghe winning her match and Desandhi Gamage obtaining a draw. Sri Lanka ended the contest ranked 83. The medal winners of this section were Ukraine, Georgia and India with the United States placing 4th.
What makes this event more memorable for Sri Lanka is Ranindu Liyanage and L.M.S.T. de Silva gaining their first-ever IM norm (unofficial).
Tamil Nadu Chief M.K. Stalin, who presided over the closing ceremony said: “Efforts were on to make Tamil Nadu a global destination for sports,” and extended greetings to the next host of the FIDE Chess Olympiad Budapest in Hungary.