The five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen believes that the Indian teams have a strong chance of podium finish at the 44th Chess Olympiad, to be held in Mamallapurm, Chennai from July 28 to August 10.

Carlsen is very impressed and vocal about the top two Indian teams in fray at the event, especially the young India Team 2. “Both Indian teams have a very strong and impressive line of players and I think both have a chance to be amongst the medals,” All India Chief Federation (AICF)  quoted  Carlsen as saying.

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The World No. 1 will be in the city as part of Team Norway, which is ranked third amongst 187 registered teams in the open section at the Olympiad. Norway is also a strong contender for one of the three medals at stake.

While expressing his excitement on returning to Chennai—the city where he clinched his first-ever World Chess Championship defeating Viswanathan Anand in 2013, Carlsen opined: “It is going to be awesome to be back in Chennai again as it has been nine years since one of the greatest experiences of my chess career. Those are fantastic memories to revisit and I am looking forward to making new ones.

“Tamil Nadu or say Chennai is the hottest hub of chess in the world now. So just to be there and be a part of the chess celebration is a reason in itself.”

In the absence of Russia and China, India Team 1 is rated second while the star-studded USA tops the ranking list. India Team 2 though ranked 11th, appears to have caught the imagination of the world for the talented teen prodigies it has.

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