Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with members of the national team ahead of the 43rd Chess Olympiad due to start tomorrow in the Georgian city of Batumi.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia's official state news agency TASS that the meeting between Putin and the Russian chess players took place late on Thursday (September 21) in the southern resort city of Sochi, where the players gathered for a training camp ahead of the international tournament.
"The President wished the chess players good luck at the Olympiad," Peskov said.
"They had a brief talk about the popularisation of the sport of chess in Russia as well as about the training of a new generation of chess players in the country."
The chess players present included male players Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Yakovenko and Nikita Vityugov.
Also involved in the meeting were women’s players Alexandra Kostenyuk, Alexandra Goryachkina, Natalia Pogonina, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
The 43rd Chess Olympiad, due to take place until October 31, is organised by the International Chess Federation and will bring together the best players in the world.
India expect to challenge strongly with a men’s team led by Viswanathan Anand and a women’s squad ded by Koneru Humpy.
India’s men finished one place off the podium at the last Olympiad in 2016, which was staged in Azerbaijan.
The first official Chess Olympiad was held in London in 1927 and won by Hungary.
United States are holders of the title having finished ahead of Ukraine and Russia two years ago.