Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, India’s top-ranked player, sat out for the first round as captain Vidit Gujarati occupied Board One.
India and Russia were declared as the joint winners of the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad after internet disconnection and server malfunction marred the final leading to India provisionally losing 1.5-4.5 to Russia in the second round and subsequently the entire match on Sunday.
On board five and six both Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh’s games saw disconnection which saw India drop points, while on board 3 Koneru Humpy also faced some internet issues as she lost vital seconds due to internet malfunction.
Humpy completed her game but lost her advantageous position and eventually dropped a point.
The Indian team formally appealed against the internet issue and after FIDE’s review committee investigated the problem for over an hour decided to award the gold medals to both the teams. Russia won the Chess Olympiad for the first time since 2002, while this was India’s maiden title. It was the first time the Olympiad was held online.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made a decision to give gold medals of FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad to both teams – India and Russia. More details & an official statement to follow. — International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) August 30, 2020
In the completed games of the second round, Viswanathan Anand, who had come in for P Harikrishna, took the board one, and shared the spoils with Ian Nepomniachtchi while captain Vidit Gujrathi drew with Daniil Dubov. Koneru Humpy, the world rapid champion, was beaten by Alexandra Goryachkina and D Harika drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk.
The internet issues have stirred a controversy in earlier rounds as well. In the quarter-final match between India and Armenia saw the Armenians staging a walkout from the second round after a Haik Martirosyan’s move against Sarin wasn’t registered by the system.
“Following the disconnection of Haik Martirosyan in Match 1 of the Quarter-final against India, Armenia filed an official appeal that was rejected by the Appeals Committee.
Armenia defaulted Match 2. As a result, India is through to the semi-finals,” the world chess body FIDE tweeted.
Armenia’s top-tanked GM Levon Aronian also tweeted, taking a dig at the controversy.
“I guess like always some of are less disconnected that the others #1984,” Aronian wrote in a post on his Twitter account.
Earlier in the first round, both India and Russia had remained on equal footing after all the games ended in draws.
The overall result of the first round ended in a 3-3 deadlock. Russia, who started as slight favourites over India, in Sunday’s clash with their average rating of 12 players of 2519 superior to Indian team’s average rating of 2419.
However, if the opening round of the final is anything to go by then the match seems to be an evenly-matched contest.
Russia’s board 1 and world No 4 Ian Nepomniachtchi expressed his displeasure with the result.
— Yan Nepomniachtchi (@lachesisq) August 30, 2020
World No 15 and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, India’s top-ranked player, sat out for the first round as captain Vidit occupied the board one and was up against Nepomniachtchi.
Vidit out-prepared Nepomniachtchi and had a clear advantage in the middle game, but the Russian managed to hold his fort to force the game into a draw.
Among the women, Humpy also squandered her pawn advantage against Kateryna Lagno and had to eventually settle for a draw.
Match 1: India 3-3 Russia
(W) Vidit Gujrathi 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi
(B) P Harikrishna 0.5-0.5 Vladislav Artemiev
(W) Koneru Humpy 0.5-0.5 Kateryna Lagno
(B) Harika Dronavalli 0.5-0.5 Alexandra Kosteniuk
(W) R Praggnanandhaa 0.5- 0.5 Alexey Sarana
(B) Divya Deshmukh 0.5-0.5 Polina Shuvalova
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