India and Russia announced as joint winners of online FIDE Chess Olympiad following technical issues

Image Courtesy: Depositphotos

India and Russia, the two finalists of the FIDE online Chess Olympiad have been announced as joint winners of the tournament, following a server failure that caused several players to lose connection.

Chess Olympiad
Image Courtesy: Depositphotos

The FIDE Chess Olympiad was hosted for the first time this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. India and Russia, the two finalists, had defeated Poland and USA respectively in the semis on 29th August.

However, due to a server failure that caused a number of Indian players to forfeit in the second round, the two nations have been declared as joint winners of the prestigious tournament.

Server issues result in India and Russia jointly winning the online Chess Olympiad

The server failure struck in the second round, following a 3-3 draw in the first round. Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh were the two Indian players who lost connection during their 2nd round matches, and both of their Russian opponents were primarily announced as the winners.

However, the Indian team made an appeal to FIDE to re investigate the decision again, as they claimed both Sarin and Deshmukh were in good position in their matches before their screens went dark.

Nihal Sarin on his match before the connection went dark due to server issues. (Image Courtesy: FIDE)

A while after the initial announcement where Russia were declared winners, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich announced both the finalists as co-champions of Chess Olympiad.

“The Online Chess Olympiad has been impacted by a global internet outage, that severely affected several countries, including India. Two of the Indian players have been affected and lost connection, when the outcome of the match was still unclear,” Dvorkovich spoke to BBC following the final.

The Indian team included the likes of Chess icons Viswanathan Anand, Koneru Humpy and Vidit Gujrathi, as well as R Praggnanandhaa, the 15 year old chess prodigy who is the fourth youngest Grandmaster of all time.

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Following the announcement from FIDE, Gujrathi shared his joy on Twitter: “We are the Champions!! Super happy! Congrats to Russia as well! #ChessOlympiad”

“We are the champions !! Congrats Russia!” tweeted Anand.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian players on Twitter.

“Congratulations to our chess players for winning the FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad. Their hard work and dedication are admirable. Their success will surely motivate other chess players. I would like to congratulate the Russian team as well,” PM Modi tweeted.

Started from 24th July, the 2020 Chess Olympiad, the first online tournament inits history, saw participation from 163 teams. The 44th Chess Olympiad, originally scheduled to take place in August, has been postponed till next year.

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