The FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020 concluded today. It was the first time that the international chess federation was holding this event in the online format. A total of 163 teams participated in the mega event. The tournament final was played between India and Russia, and it came down to the wire!
India and Russia crowned joint-winners of Chess Olympiad
The first match of the final ended in a deadlock, with all the boards ending in a draw. The second match saw the three games ending in a draw. However, two Indian players, Divya Deshmukh and Nihal Sarin, lost on time.
Divya had slowly built a winning position, finding the right manoeuvers, while on the other hand, Nihal’s position was equal. Both players losing on time was quite shocking. Koneru Humpy faced the same issue, and she lost her game as well.
The Indian contingent, however, filed an official appeal against disconnections and the technical issue.
The appeals committee comprised of IO M Khodarkovsky (USA) and IA Sava Stoisavljevic (Serbia), and the FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, sat out of the appeal as he represents Russia.
Following the appeal, it was announced that both the teams would be declared as co-winners of the first-ever FIDE Online Chess Olympiad. The reactions to India's victory, as expected, were of joy and pride.
Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, also congratulated the Indian team on winning gold at the prestigious Chess Olympiad.
In the first match, Vidit Santosh Gujarati, the Indian captain, played the first board, while Pentala Harikrishna held the second board, as Viswanathan Anand sat out. India was en route to victory; however, due to time trouble, Humpy lost the advantage and had to settle for the repetition.
India's journey in the Online Chess Olympiad
India's sojourn at the event was smooth, except for the technical hiccup against Mongolia, where the match was drawn due to internet issues. In the last game of the group stage, India defeated heavyweights China to clinch a direct quarterfinals spot in the Chess Olympiad.