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Chess Olympiad: the Indian GM duo in charge of the Brazilian teams | Chess News

Representative image (Photo Reuters)

CHENNAI: The name Brazil evokes passion among millions of football fans around the world. The South American giants are one of the favorites for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year, but Brazil are also not a cup out of the 64 places.
The Brazilian teams that will participate in the Olympiad of Mahabalipuram this month we have some strong players in the open and women’s categories.
In order to mark the spirits during the event, Brazil Chess Federation roped into two great Indian masters, Priyadharshan Kannappan and Ankit Rajparaas team captain-coach.
While Priyadharshan from Tamil Nadu will be in charge of the open team, Ankit from Gujarat is in charge of the women’s team. Interestingly, Madurai-based Priyadharshan, who is India’s 44th grandmaster, was recommended for the top job by his former college mate Andre Diamant, who is on the open team.
“Andre was my senior at Webster University in the United States and we have known each other for a long time. When Andre asked me to join the team, I was more than happy to do so. he Brazil team has a formidable squad of players who will be a handful for many teams during the tournament,” Priyadharshan told TOI.
Once Priyadharshan came on board, he also boarded Ankit. While Priyadarshan coached India’s sub-junior team in 2019, Ankit has so far only coached individual players.
“Coaching a team is a completely different experience,” Ankit told TOI.
Brazil has a rich chess history thanks to Henrique Costa Mecking, the country’s first grandmaster. Mecking remains one of the best to emerge from Brazil and peaked at world No. 3 in January 1978 behind the legendary Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi.
If one takes a look through the Brazilian open team, all eyes will be on Luis Paulo Supi who won worldwide acclaim when he beat Magnus Carlsen in just 18 moves in a match online in May 2020.
“The pandemic has seen chess players in Brazil gain popularity and their matches have been watched by millions,” Andre pointed out.
While Brazil’s open team is ranked 28th, the women’s team is ranked 36th.
India’s 36th GM Ankit thinks the women’s team is underrated and can create a surprise at the event.
“We have players like Terao Juliana Sayumi who are seasoned campaigners. The women’s team will not be taken lightly by anyone,” Ankit said.
Both Priyadharshan and Ankit are coaching an international team for the first time.
For a country whose heart is football, the Olympiad represents an opportunity for chess to gather a loyal following.
“There is already a lot of interest in sport, whether in schools or among young people. We have around 6000 registered players in the country and the numbers are only going to increase in the future. But for that, it will be necessary to invent a good show at the Olympiad. Good performances in big tournaments automatically pique the interest of youngsters,” said Andre.
Both coaches led the online workouts.
Macedo Maximo Igor, president of the Brazilian Chess Federation, wants to stay longer with Priyadharshan and Ankit.
“There is a lot of talent in Brazil. We want to continue this partnership and want to see chess grow in our country,” Macedo said.

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