FIDE Online Olympiad Launches July 25 On

FIDE Online Olympiad Launches July 25 On

| 72 | Chess Event Coverage

The FIDE Online Olympiad, a major online chess event for national teams, will run July 25-August 30 on the server. With 163 teams and over 1,500 participants from all over the world, the tournament will be a truly global team event destined to captivate chess fans throughout the summer.

While the over-the-board Olympiad has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus, this unique, online edition will unite the chess world over the course of five weeks. Between July 25 and August 23, teams will play on in separate divisions, in a competition that leads up to a playoff phase held August 27-30.

Each team consists of six main players, including at least two women, at least one player who is 20 or younger, and at least one girl who is 20 or younger. Each team may have up to six reserves: two players in each of the first two categories and one player in each of the latter categories.

The time control for all matches will be 15 minutes for the game and five seconds increment per move, starting from move one. Each pool is played within three days, three rounds per day.

The line-up of teams (available here) has Russia as the top seed, followed by China, USA, and Armenia. A total of 223 grandmasters have signed up among over 1,000 titled players in total. Some of the biggest names participating include GMs Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, and Wesley So

First, the Base Division takes off with the lowest-ranked teams, based on the combined results in the open and women's sections at the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. The top 12 teams from the Base Division qualify for Division 4, which will also have 38 seeded teams. 50 teams are divided into five pools and each pool plays a round-robin of nine rounds.

The top three teams of each pool qualify for Division 3, which also has 35 seeded teams. Again, 50 teams will be divided into five pools for another round-robin of nine rounds each. The top three teams of each pool qualify for Division 2, joined by 35 seeded teams for, again, a round-robin of nine rounds.

The top three first teams of each pool qualify for the Top Division, which will also have five seeded teams (based on the 2018 Gaprindashvili Cup final standings) and five nominated teams for each of the four continents. In this phase, 40 teams are divided into four pools where each pool plays a round robin of nine rounds.

The top three teams of each pool qualify for the playoffs where 12 teams start with a knockout tournament, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.

"The Chess Olympiad is one of the oldest traditions in chess and one of the most prestigious sporting gatherings in the world," said FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. "They are a celebration of chess, but also an example of how people from all the countries in the world join together, play together, and then they go back to their respective countries with an important message: that all peoples in the world are just part of one big family.

"Such gathering is not physically possible under the current circumstances. But the Online Olympiad will serve the purpose of reminding us of these important concepts: the celebration of diversity, the exchange of ideas, the sportsmanship, and the mutual respect between people and cultures."

Arkady Dvorkovich
Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

"We're delighted to team up with FIDE and the sponsors Gazprom and Ugra for this historic event," said Nick Barton,'s Director of Business Development, Strategy, and Growth. "Having the opportunity to bring together over a thousand players from around the world is the perfect way to showcase the inclusive powers of chess during a difficult time."

The Online Olympiad is the third major cooperation between FIDE and in 2020. It comes shortly after the Women's Speed Chess Championship, a competition for female players held between June 18 and July 20, 2020, won by Ukrainian GM Anna Ushenina. The Online Nations Cup was a team competition held from May 5-10, 2020, won by China and also featuring Russia, USA, Europe, India, and a team representing the "Rest of the World."

After an opening ceremony on July 24, the Online Olympiad takes off on July 25. All matches can be followed on and and will have expert commentary on

The official website of the tournament is

See also:

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