India and Russia on Sunday were announced as joint winners of the FIDE Chess Olympiad as Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost connection to their games in the second round and had to forfeit. In a first, the olympiad was conducted online. Originally, Russia was declared as the winners, but India filed an appeal and after investigation, both India and Russia were announced as joint winners.
This was the first time that India reached the finals of the FIDE Chess Olympiad. India’s best finish at the Olympiad had come in 2014 when the contingent returned with a bronze medal. The first round of the final between India and Russia finished as 3-3 draw after all six games finished in six draws.
Russia started the match against India as favourites after having their average rating of 12 players (2519) higher than India (2419). The second round witnessed high drama as two Indian players — Sarin and Deshmukh — lost connection to their games and had to forfeit, following which India filed an official appeal for a consequent investigation.
FIDE President A. Dvorkovich sat out the appeal, as he represented Russia. IO M.Khodarkovsky (USA) and IA Sava Stoisavljevic (Serbia) were tasked with issuing a verdict. It was declared that both India and Russia will be joint winners of the competition. On Saturday, Koneru Humpy was the shining light for India as she defeated Monika Socko of Poland in the semi-finals.
India and Poland had won one round each in normal play and as a result, Humpy had to battle against Socko for the Armageddon (tie-break clash). In this clash, Humpy managed to defeat Socko to clinch the summit clash spot for India.
India had lost the first round of the match, but the side managed to make a stunning comeback in the second to stage a remarkable comeback.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated India and Russia on jointly winning the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad. Prime Minister said the “hard work and dedication” of the players are “admirable” and added that their success will motivate other players.
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