On Sunday, the final of the Chess Olympiad was held. FIDE announced Russia and India as the winners, sharing the gold medal. The decision came up with a lot of controversy as initially they had declared that Russia won the tournament and India had lost. India losing the game had to do with loss of internet connection during the tournament. The reverse in the decision was dramatic, but after the announcement people are waiting for FIDE to come up with an explanation. This is the very first time when FIDE had to organize the tournament online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the game, two players lost on game time due to internet issues in the final round after which India appealed to FIDE about the issue. FIDE went on to investigate this situation before coming up with the decision.
Why did FIDE declare India and Russia as joint winners?
Viswanathan Anand, the former 5-time World Chess Champion and Indian Chess Grandmasters stated that they had taken all the precautions to prevent any disruption but internet failure was not India’s fault. Vidit Gujrathi, the captain of the Indian team also went on to say that they were ready to play all the six games again and if not, the decision of FIDE will be respected by everyone. The Russians were however not happy with the decision of FIDE stating that they took this decision in order to please the Indian community.
Everyone in India is celebrating the victory but for the rest of the world, India lost. Alexandra Kosteniuk tweeted that India was announced as co-champion which is far away from the term winning. Many say tagging India as winners without even winning a single match was disappointing. Team India said that they had just kept their problems in front of FIDE. They also stated that they would have accepted any decision. Emil Sutovsky, the director of FIDE tweeted that the decision was taken in good faith. He also said that he had received personal attacks for favoring India.
Many people liked the decision. Some (especially Russian and Armenian) criticized it. Few even got personal with me. One thing I want to stress again. Sometimes there is no good decision. Dvorkovich's was probably the lesser evil. And it was made in a good faith. #ChessOlympiad
— Emilchess (@EmilSutovsky) August 30, 2020
What is Chess Olympiad?
The Chess Olympiad is the largest chess tournament in the world with around 163 teams participating. Every team consists of five players with four main players and one in reserve. The game is not considered the biggest as once Viswanathan Anand skipped on the Olympiad. He wanted to focus on the World Championship back then. The Olympiad is about focusing on talent from the country and not about the greatness of the game. Magnus Carlsen, the Norway Chess Grandmaster is currently the World Champion. Even then Norway has not qualified for the rounds. A similar incident happened when Haik Martirosyan lost connection from chess.com against India. But, at that time FIDE rejected Armenia’s appeal for a second leg after which they backed out from the tournament. Now, we can only congratulate Russia and India for winning the tournament jointly.