It's going to be a big and crucial match on Thursday for the fifth-seeded Indian open chess team, led by former World Champion Vishwanathan Anand, as it crosses swords top seed and defending champions US at the 43rd World Chess Olympiad at Batumi in Georgia, a senior chess player and coach said."The pairing was not a surprise as we have to play all the strong teams and everyone knows it," Indian team Captain and coach R.B. Ramesh told IANS. "No predictions. We will just go and play," Ramesh added.
"The Indian team will be facing about six or seven strong teams during its Olympiad medal hunt. It is better to face the stronger teams early when the players are fresh and not tired," chess coach R.R. Vasudevan told IANS.
According to him, though the US team is strong, it is not unbeatable.
"A win in the lower board and a draw in the other three boards is sufficient," he added.
According to Vasudevan, on the top board Anand is in good form and in the last two games he did not seem to be under any sort of trouble against two strong players and won against them with ease.
He said Anand may have a slight psychological edge over World No.2 Fabiano Caruana, the challenger for the world title.
"World Champion Magnus Carlsen will be watching keenly the games played by Caruana. So the American player will be playing carefully not to give any indication about his preparations for the world title clash," Vasudevan added.
The board pairing is as follows:
V.Anand - Fabiano Caruana
P.Harikrishna - So Wesley
Vdit Santhosh Gujrathi - Hikaru Nakamura
K.Sasikiran - Samuel Shankland
Gujrathi and Sasikiran will have the first mover advantage as they will be playing with white pieces.