Updated: August 31, 2020 9:55:44 am
India were named joint gold medal winners of the Chess Olympiad after a dramatic and controversial finish to the final against Russia on Sunday. FIDE, the international chess federation, said an official statement explaining the decision will be released soon.
🇷🇺 Russia and India 🇮🇳 are co-champions of the first-ever FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad.
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) August 30, 2020
We are the champions !! Congrats Russia!
— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) August 30, 2020
India stretched Russia to the brink in the Chess Olympiad final on Sunday, but seemed to have lost out in a frantic finish. Two Indian players were declared to have lost on time in the final round after an apparent loss of internet connection for them. This was the first time FIDE was holding the Olympiad in an online format.
After India lodged an official appeal against the result, FIDE said the issue was under investigation. After about an hour of the result, the world chess body announced that FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich had made a decision to give gold medals of to both teams.
Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lose connection with the server and were declared to have lost on time. Deshmukh had been in a winning position before the loss of connection in the final round.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 30, 2020
Earlier in the final, the first round had ended in a 3-3 deadlock. The second round was level and the match was set for an Armageddon finish before Sarin and Deshmukh were declared to have lost on time.
Incidentally, India’s quarterfinal victory against Armenia had also been dogged by similar complaints of a server crash. Armenian players had lodged an appeal saying they had lost internet connection but the appeal had been turned down. India then beat Poland in the semifinal to qualify for Sunday’s final.
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