Five-time world champion Anand has decided not to participate this time, but he will guide the Indian team in the showpiece event which will be held from July 28 to August 10.
“India have a very good team this time around. Obviously not having (Viswanathan) Anand is going to make a big difference. That said, this team has a perfect mix of young and experienced players and we are capable of do very well,” Harikrishna told a virtual press conference.
The 36-year-old, who is currently in the shape of his life, having emphatically won the Prague Chess Masters last month, said victory would give him huge confidence ahead of the showpiece event.
“Victory at masters of prague Couldn’t have come at a better time. I hope to continue the same form and emulate my performance for India this time and contribute to the team’s success,” said Harikrishna.
“This will be my 10th Chess Olympiad appearance since 2000. It has been a memorable journey so far and a pure honor to represent my country for so long. always, I am ready ready to give the best of myself for my country,” he added.
Treat this Olympiad like any other Olympiad
For the first time, India will host the flagship event, with no less than 343 teams from 187 countries.
Harikrishna said that although there are expectations, the Indian contingent is under no pressure.
“There is no such pressure at all. We are confident to improve our performance compared to what was achieved in the last Olympiad,” said Harikrishna.
“In fact, it will be a great experience to play in front of the home fans. The Chess Olympiad is one of those events, that even if you have done very well in the last four editions, it does not guarantee you any hope. in the current edition.
“So with that in mind, while we’re really confident to do well this time around, we’re also treating this Olympiad like any other showpiece (Olympiad) event in the past,” he added.
Don’t think too much about medals
India, seeded number two in the event, will field a record 30 players for the first time across six teams (three open and three women) and the 15 players in the Open squad are big names. masters.
However, Harikrishna said that despite the players’ potential to succeed this time around, the Indian contingent are not thinking too much about medals.
“There are 10-15 top countries and we are aware of that. At the moment, we are totally focused on playing well as a team. Frankly, if we don’t play well, we couldn’t win a medal. So , we don’t think about medal chances. Our goal is to give our best in every game we play in the tournament,” he said.