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Chess Olympiad: India and Russia are joint champions

For India to become the joint champion along with favourite and top seed Russia is no mean achievement

India and Russia are the online Chess Olympiad champions. The two finalists were declared the joint winners by the world chess governing body FIDE after at least two games in the second match were affected by internet connectivity issues.

Held online for the first time — because of the coronavirus pandemic — Olympiad, history of which dates back to 1924, is the biggest team championship in chess.

Some 163 countries took part in the online tournament. For India to become the joint champion — after starting out as the seventh seed — along with favourite and top seed Russia is no mean achievement. It has to be counted among the country’s finest moments in sport.

 

In the second match of the final, Divya Deshmukh was completely winning against Polina Shuvalova, while Nihal Sarin could have drawn with Andrey Esipenko, when both the Indians got disconnected. They thus lost the games, on time.

If India had got 1.5 points from those games, the second match also would have been drawn (3-3) like the first one and the Armageddon (tie-breaker) would have come into play, as it did in India’s semifinal against Poland on Saturday.

So the Indian team management made an appeal to FIDE and requested a fair solution to the problem. Finally, FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich decided that the gold medal should be awarded jointly to India and Russia.

The Indian team: Vidit Gujrathi (captain), Viswanathan Anand, Pendyala Harikrishna, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, R. Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa, Aravindh Chithambaram, R. Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni, Divya Deshmukh and Vantika Agrawal.

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