Chess is returning to the Asian Games after 13 years in the forthcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
This is the third time chess will be a part of the Asian Games. Chess is one of the rapidly growing sports in India, with five Indian players in the top 30 of the world rankings. This is the joint most number of players from any country in the top 30 classical ratings.
That R Praggnanandhaa won the silver medal last month at the FIDE World Cup and became the second-ever Indian player to win a medal at the prestigious event after Viswanathan Anand is a big positive for India ahead of the Asian Games. Praggnanandhaa also qualified for the Candidates 2024 which means he is one step closer to challenging the current world champion, Ding Liren.
With Praggnanandhaa in good form, India definitely will be one of the favourites in the men's individual event at the Asian Games.
Here was now the Indian chess contingent performed at the Asian Games:
2006 Asian Games, Qatar
Chess was first introduced at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. There were only three events in the 2006 Games that were Men's rapid, Women's rapid, and Mixed team standard. India had a fabulous outing in the tournament as it finished the tournament with two gold medals.
Gold for Koneru Humpy in Women's Rapid event
Gold for Indian Mixed team in Mixed Standard event
The men's individual was the only event where India missed the podium as Harikrishna Pentala finished eleventh in the overall standings. Humpy was the standout performer as she won two gold medals for India, both in individual as well as team events.
2010 Asian Games, China
Chess was retained for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010. It witnessed an increase in the number of events to four. The Olympic Council of Asia introduced the men's and women's rapid team events in place of the mixed team events. India won two chess medals in 2010 as well. But this time Indian chess players missed out on the gold medals.
Bronze for Harika Dronavalli
Bronze for the Indian Men's team
India failed to repeat the feat of the Doha Asiad. India could not win a medal in the men's individual event in two consecutive editions as Surya Ganguly marginally missed a top-four finish. He finished the Games at the fifth spot. Defending champion Humpy did not take part in the 2010 Asian Games but still India got its back-to-back medal in the women's individual event, with Harika winning a bronze medal.
In the men's team event, India won a bronze medal after defeating Iran in the third-place playoff by three points. The Indian women's team was also very close to winning a medal, but it lost in the hard-fought bronze medal match against Vietnam in the tie-breaker after a 2-2 draw.