Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, India captain Vidit Gujarati said that internet issue was not India’s fault. The team had taken all precautions and were ready to honour any decision that FIDE deemed right.
Five-time World Champion and top-ranked Indian chess player Viswanathan Anand on Monday said that India were prepared to accept any decision that FIDE, the international body of chess, deemed right to ascertain the result of the Online Chess Olympiad 2020.
“We did nothing wrong, the internet issue was not India’s fault,” Anand, the former World Champion said in a press interaction on Zoom. “Our team had done everything correctly and we were ready for any decision from FIDE. If FIDE would have asked us to play more games we would have played more games. But, obviously FIDE has to look at the big picture and they took a decision. I do not know how they reached that decision but we did what we had to.”
To stress his point, Anand repeated, “We were ready to play two games, we were ready to play six games again.”
The perils of inconsistent internet in the first-ever Chess Olympiad Final was always a threat that loomed over the sport and it even affected a few of the games earlier in the tournament as well. The Sunday’s final between India and Russia had an anticlimactic end and to a certain degree even a controversial finish which left a sour taste for the chess players and fans alike.
Russia had provisionally won the second round 4.5-1.5 and subsequently the match before India appealed to the review committee regarding the issue of internet disconnection. After investigating the issue, the review committee upheld India’s appeal and FIDE then eventually declared India and Russia the joint winners of Online Chess Olympiad 2020. Soon the Indian team registered an official appeal stating the issue of global internet outage and even Chess.com, the platform on which the games were played, flagged a cloudflare malfunction, which affected two results on board five and six involving India’s Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh.
As many enthusiastic fans noted, @Cloudflare issues unfortunately affected connections to https://t.co/EufIHvcIFK and other sites for many members today. This is likely the cause of India’s connection issues in the final; we did not observe any server issues during the final.
— Chess.com (@chesscom) August 30, 2020
The Russians, however, didn’t like the FIDE’s decision of sharing the podium with India. Ian Nepomniachtchi launched a tirade on Twitter. The World No 4 said, “Smart desicion to please Indian chess community, meanwhile forgetting about other fans & players. Selective nobleness.(sic)”
— Yan Nepomniachtchi (@lachesisq) August 30, 2020
While former women’s world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, too, made her displeasure evident. “Let’s clarify one thing: India didn’t win the Olympiad, but was rather named by FIDE a co-champion. imho, there is a huge difference between actually “winning” the gold or just being awarded one without winning a single game in the final #onlineolympiad,” she tweeted.
Let’s clarify one thing: India didn’t win the Olympiad, but was rather named by FIDE a co-champion. imho, there is a huge difference between actually “winning” the gold or just being awarded one without winning a single game in the final #onlineolympiad
— Alexandra Kosteniuk (@chessqueen) August 30, 2020
Russia’s Daniil Dubov too criticized FIDE’s decision. Resonating Anand’s view, India captain Vidit Gujarthi told reporters, “We had taken every possible precaution from our end and all the services from here were working just fine. Unfortunately, it was a global outage but as Anand anna put it that from our sides we did everything. It was eventually FIDE’s decision and we appreciate that. Emil Sutovsky, the Director General of FIDE, copped criticism and few players even launched a personal attack but he maintained that the decision by the review committee was made in good faith.
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
The internet issues have stirred a controversy in earlier rounds as well. The quarter-final match between India and Armenia saw the Armenians stage a walkout. They defaulted 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’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, to which Sutovsky reacted saying the two situations were similar but not identical at all.
Levon misses it. A – the allusion he brings isn’t from 1984, but from Animal Farm. B – and that is more important – two situations were similar but not identical at all. One of the most common mistakes of humanity – treating seemingly similar but different problems same way. https://t.co/U3byTqMuss
— Emilchess (@EmilSutovsky) August 30, 2020
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