India, Russia Share Online Olympiad Gold As Global Internet Outage Impacts Final

India, Russia Share Online Olympiad Gold As Global Internet Outage Impacts Final

| 325 | Chess Event Coverage

India and Russia both received FIDE Online Olympiad gold medals after a ruling from FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich as Sunday's final was marred by a major internet disruption.

Five weeks of online play with more than 1,500 international participants deserved a final match that would be decided on the chessboard—and of course, a winner. Instead, the tournament ended in an anticlimax on Sunday.

Unlike other sports, chess has been blessed with the possibility of holding numerous tournaments online during the past few months. During this Online Olympiad, which saw connection problems in the division stage as well as the semifinals and final, one of the downsides of online play was revealed once again.


Bo. 1   India Rtg 3 : 3 2   Russia Rtg
1.1 GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636 ½ - ½ GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2778
1.2 GM Harikrishna, Pentala 2690 ½ - ½ GM Artemiev, Vladislav 2769
1.3 GM Koneru, Humpy 2483 ½ - ½ GM Lagno, Kateryna 2521
1.4 GM Harika, Dronavalli 2450 ½ - ½ GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2517
1.5 GM Praggnanandhaa, R 1781 ½ - ½ GM Sarana, Alexey 2618
1.6 WIM Divya, Deshmukh 1775 ½ - ½ WGM Shuvalova, Polina 2379
Bo. 2   Russia Rtg 2½:1½ 1   India Rtg
1.1 GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2778 ½ - ½ GM Anand, Viswanathan 2751
1.2 GM Dubov, Daniil 2770 ½ - ½ GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636
1.3 GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2502 1 - 0 GM Koneru, Humpy 2483
1.4 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2517 ½ - ½ GM Harika, Dronavalli 2450
1.5 GM Esipenko, Andrey 2629 GM Nihal, Sarin 2418
1.6 WGM Shuvalova, Polina 2379 WIM Divya, Deshmukh 1775

The day started with a hard-fought first match that finished in a 3-3 tie after all six games ended in a draw. A highly interesting encounter was the clash between GMs Humpy Koneru and Kateryna Lagno, where the Indian player missed a win at the very end:

The second match saw three draws and a win for GM Aleksandra Goryachkina vs. Koneru on the top four boards. On the lowest boards, the two players from India, GM Nihal Sarin and WIM Divya Deshmukh, both lost on time due to a disconnection.

Like Armenia in the semifinal, India appealed the final score. Unlike in the semifinal, this time a very clear, external reason for the connection problem was revealed: a major global internet outage of such proportions that it made the news reports of CNN, MSN, Newsweek, Forbes, and many other media outlets.

Provided with server data and other information by, the appeals committee couldn't arrive at a unanimous decision to resolve the situation; therefore, the FIDE president declared both countries as joint winners.

Commenting to ESPN India, GM Viswanathan Anand said he didn't expect this decision. "At the end of the day, I think it's quite fair because both teams were evenly balanced in this match. It's certainly a nice and pleasant turn."

The Online Olympiad was followed closely by chess fans in India, which has celebrated a chess boom during the past few weeks. This was illustrated by the fact that the hashtag #ChessOlympiad was the second-most trending topic in the country on Twitter on Sunday, helped by one particular tweet from none other than the prime minister himself.

Meanwhile, members of team Russia were less pleased with the outcome...

...while some neutral viewers could find some humor in it all.

Final | All games

The FIDE Online Olympiad was a major online chess event for national teams that ran July 25-August 30 on the server. More than 1,500 participants and 163 teams from all over the world played.

Each team consisted of six players, including at least two women, at least one player who is 20 or younger, and at least one female player who is 20 or younger. The time control for all matches was 15 minutes for the game and a five-second increment per move, starting from move one.

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