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India, Russia announced joint winners of Chess Olympiad after controversial finish

India were awarded the Chess Olympiad gold medal jointly with Russia after a frantic finish to Sunday's final. India were initially declared to have lost the final round but they lodged an appeal saying their players lost internet connection due to a server failure. The decision was then reversed.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: August 31, 2020 9:55:44 am
Chess OlympiadViswanathan Anand, Koneru Humpy and R Praggnanandhaa were part of the Indian team in the final. (Twitter/FIDE)

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.

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.

READ | Indian chess’s T20 specialist: Nihal Sarin

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.

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.

READ | India’s ‘historic’ showing at Chess Olympiad, explained

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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