Online Olympiad: 2 Gold, too Bold

FIDE (International Federation for chess) announced and introduced an International Team event called the “FIDE Online Olympiad” around late June. It started on the 24th of July and the finals were on the 30th of August. The finals were between the two powerhouses for chess players, India and Russia. FIDE declared joint winners after India’s appeal, on the basis that their players lost connection as a matter of a massive internet outage, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich decided to grant gold medals to both teams.

After FIDE President bold gold declaration, he published the following official statement:

The Online Chess Olympiad has been impacted by a global internet outage, that severely affected several countries, including India. Two of the Indian players have been affected and lost connection, when the outcome of the match was still unclear.

The Appeals Committee has examined all the evidence provided by, as well as information gathered from other sources about this internet outage. After being informed of their considerations and in absence of a unanimous decision, and taking into account these unprecedented circumstances, as FIDE President I made the decision to award Gold Medals to both teams.

In their official report, FIDE mentions that the internet outage was caused by a Cloudflare crash.

FIDE declaring joint champions shook the whole chess world. It was a 180-degree turn for Team India. India lost hope when Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost on time against Andrey Esipenko and Polina Shuvalova respectively, after losing their connections. Nihal had an equal position, while the Divya had a superior position with the white pieces.

Andrey Esipenko – Nihal Sarin | Final position


Divya Deshmukh – Shuvolova Polina | Final Position

This surprise came as a huge celebration all over India. Twitter was flowing with wishes from India’s Prime Minister to big personalities.

FIDE’s decision looked like maintaining good relations with Team India, Indian Chess fanatics, and avoiding the shade of bias between the FIDE President who is a Russian, and the Russian Team.

Proceeding this decision, questions arise about the previous matches issues regarding internet outages. Notably Armenia vs India Semi-Final Match where Armenia lost due to 1 player’s disconnection. Armenian’s apeal that it was fault than his internet connection. FIDE gave a full point to team India, despite requests for a rematch.

Here are tweeets from the dissapointed Armenia No. 1 player:

Are improvisations only for India? Why listen to Team India, not other countries? In my opinion, FIDE has made wrong decisions quickly, which made them settle matters as neutral as possible in the end.

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