Chess makes debut as medal sport, but biggest Asian star Anand’s missing
The Associated Press
International Herald Tribune

Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand will miss chess’ Asian Games debut after ruling himself out of the Doha tournament rather than risk his world standing.

Ranked No. 2 in the world, Anand chose not to compete at the games due to a tournament ruling that a player competing in the rapid-format individual event must also contest the classic-format team event.

Anand is widely acknowledged as the world’s best in the rapid format, in which he planned to compete in the individual event, but by competing in the team tournament, he would be drawn against lower-ranked players and risk losing world ranking points.

Anand’s managers perceived the potential loss of his world standing as a huge risk for a player trying to claim the No. 1 spot in the cash-rich game.

Anand’s absence is viewed as a blow to India, starved of success at major international events, but chess officials are still hopeful of claiming three of the four gold medals on offer at Doha.

The All-India Chess Federation has maintained a steady silence about what transpired ahead of Anand ruling himself out of the Asian Games, while the Indian Olympic Association says it always leaves the selection to respective sports federations.

“It’s the athletes who decide if they want to participate, but we never get involved in selection matters,” Kalmadi told The Associated Press on Friday.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar