Chennai, March 17: The legendary Viswanathan Anand along with other top players welcomed the return of chess to the Asian Games fold for the 2022 edition in Hangzhou, stating that it will be an incentive for players to take up the sport.
Five-time World Champion and the country's first Grand Master Anand said he was happy with the development adding that he looks forward to a medal from the team. "I am happy about the development. I look forward to a medal from our team," Anand told PTI.
Chess was a part of Asian Games programme at the 2006 edition in Doha and 2010 in Guangzhou. India won two gold medals in Doha, with Koneru Humpy capturing the top prize in the women's rapid individual event and the mixed team winning the standard event gold.
In the 2010 edition, the Indian men won a bronze in the standard team event while D Harika took the bronze in the women's individual (rapid) event. Grand Master Baskaran Adhiban, who is playing in the World Team Championship in Astana (Kazakshtan), said having chess back in the Asiad is "wonderful news" and added it would bring incentives to the players.
"It is good for the sport and the players, who will stand to receive lot of incentives, which is nice," he added. Adhiban has been part of the Indian team that took part in the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010.
The All-India Chess Federation (AICF) Vice-President DV Sundar welcomed the news. "Chess was part of the Asian Games programme in 2006 and 2010 and it is great that it is back. India has a very good chance of winning medals," he said.
Sundar said the players also will be happy that chess has made a comeback and expected a team event and individual event to be part of the games. The OCA General Assembly met in Bangkok on March 3 and its president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al-Sabah officially confirmed the development to World Chess Federation (WCF) president Arkady Dvorkovich.
GM RB Ramesh, now a noted coach, whose trainees include R Praggnanandhaa, the world's third youngest GM behind Sergey Karjakin and Chennai lad D Gukesh, said the move to re-induct chess in the Asiad is fantastic for the game and would provide an incentive to the players to turn out for the country and possibly win medals. "They will be eligible for Dronacharya and Arjuna awards on par with other Asian Games sports," he added.