The first official game of the World Chess Championships is underway, as Italy and France face off in a game that promises to be one of the most hotly contested finals of the year.
But before the games begin, a question looms: Can Italy and the world championship-winning team that won it from Germany in 2015 win again?
The Italians have a long way to go, and a lot to prove.
Italy is in the semifinals, having lost to Germany 3-1 in the final in May.
The team was supposed to win the title in 2015, but they fell short of that mark, finishing last.
Their next tournament will be held in 2019, with the tournament moving to the U.S. after their World Cup defeat in 2017.
But this tournament will include a second-round bye, which could lead to a loss for Italy.
The French have been in a world title race for the last six years, with an improbable win against eventual champions Russia in 2012.
Since then, France has fallen apart, falling in the semi-finals of all the World Cup tournaments, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The last time the French lost to Italy was in 2008, when they lost in the semifinal to a Russian team that finished third.
This time around, they’ll be facing an Italian team that is a major underdog.
France has played against the top teams in the world, including Russia, Germany, and the U, and they’re not afraid to play the best of them.
The Italian team is led by Fabio Fognini, a six-time world champion who is known as the “Father of World Chess.”
The Italian team has won six of the past seven World Championships, including two of the four major tournaments, and will be looking to win their first title since 2014.
Italy is led largely by Fabiano Caruana, the former world champion, who has become a major star in his homeland.
Fognina is an exceptional player, and his victory against Caruana in the first round last year was one of his best in the history of chess.
The Italian players are led by Aleksandr Gelfand, who will be a major figure in this tournament.
The team that will play in the championship is a team that has dominated European chess since the early 2000s.
In that time, the Italian team won the European Championship twice, and in 2011, they defeated the best team in Europe, Germany.
The Italians won the title once in 2009, but their season was marred by the collapse of the team that was formed by players that had previously been in World Championship contention, as well as the loss of top player Fabiano Salerno.