|Woman Grandmaster Nguyễn Thị Mai Hưng|
The championship, to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, is a high-level event that will see the participation of 10 countries, including the four continental champions (Asia, Europe, Africa and America), the top five teams in the Olympiad and the hosts.
As Russia (hosts) and China (Asian champions) are already eligible for the event and they are also among the top five in the 2016 Chess Olympiad, their slots have been given to the US, Việt Nam and Azerbaijan, who did not rank among the top five.
Việt Nam will be represented by Asian defending champion Võ Thị Kim Phụng, first runner-up of Asian zonal 3.3 tournament Hoàng Thị Bảo Trâm, Phạm Lê Thảo Nguyên, Nguyễn Thị Mai Hưng and Lương Phương Hạnh. While four are official masters, one is a substitute.
The teams will compete in nine standard chess matches. The favourites for the top title are China, Russia and Georgia. Among the 10 competitors, Việt Nam are at No 7.
“Việt Nam are better than Egypt and on par with the US, so it is difficult for them to vie for the medal. We don’t want the players to be under heavy pressure. It is a good result if we can be among the top six,” said Đặng Tất Thắng, deputy president of Việt Nam Chess Federation.
The tournament was first organised in 1985 and was initially held once in four years. Since 2011, it has been organised every two years. This is the fourth time that Việt Nam have qualified for the event. Việt Nam took part in the 2007 and 2009 Olympiads as Asian champions, and in 2011, they were Asia’s first runners-up. Their best ranking at the world tournament has been No 7.