US chess team in Chennai for 44th Chess Olympiad


The US chess team is in Chennai to take part in the 44th Chess Olympiad organized by the Indian Chess Federation and the government of Tamil Nadu. The team was welcomed to to Mamallapuram by the US Consul General in Chennai, Judith Ravin on July 28.

An ardent supporter of education and sports diplomacy, the Consul General greeted the chess players and wished them success in their matches at the 44th Chess Olympiad that is being held from July 28 to August 9.

Ravin also discussed with the players how the Chess Olympiad in Chennai helps popularize the sport of chess and unites chess lovers around the world in a truly global competition.

The Consul General told the group of US Chess Grandmasters (GM), International Masters (IM) and Women Grandmasters (WGM), “I am extremely proud of you for representing the United States at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai. The deep ties between the US and India are built on the people-to-people connections forged by sports diplomats just like you. The U.S. Consulate General Chennai is thrilled to see the Chess Olympiad take place in Chennai, especially during the 75th anniversary of U.S.-India relations.”

John Donaldson, U.S. team captain in the open section, said: “The U.S. teams are honored to compete in the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai. India is considered by many to be the birthplace of chess so it is fitting this prestigious event will be held here for the first time. We are particularly grateful to the Indian Chess Federation, which with the support of national and local governments, has volunteered to organize this event late in the day. We look forward to an exciting competition this year in Chennai!”

Melikset Khachiyan, US women’s team captain, said: “India is a country with strong chess traditions. It is the country of five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand. Chennai itself also has a long history of chess. Back in 2013, Chennai hosted the World Championship Match between Viswanathan Anand-Magnus Carlsen, and it was the first time ever. India these days is becoming a leader in world chess, organizing many top chess events. Our US team is excited to be a part of this World Chess Olympiad and looking forward to doing our best.”

The US team, captained by International Master (IM) John Donaldson, is seeded first among 187 teams in the open section and is comprised of Grandmaster (GM) Fabiano Caruana, GM Levon Aronian, GM Wesley So, GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Sam Shankland, and coached by GM Robert Hess.

Led by captain GM Melikset Khachiyan the women’s section of the US team is seeded eighth among 162 teams. GM Irina Krush, IM Carissa Yip, IM Anna Zatonskih, Women Grandmaster (WGM) Tatev Abrahamyan, and WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova comprise the women’s team, coached by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


[Photo Caption: US Consul General Judith Ravin is seen with (L-R) GM Alejandro Ramirez, WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Anna Zatonskih, GM Irina Krush, GM Levon Aronian, GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Robert Hess, GM Wesley So, GM Sam Shankland, and IM John Donaldson.]