The FIDE Online Chess Olympiad turned out to be a historic competition for the Indian chess team. The finale was marred by the internet and technical server glitch. Eventually, India and Russia were announced as joint winners.
The twists and turns of the ‘Finale’
Initially, Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost out on time due to serious server malfunction. Due to this India appealed against the decision and later FIDE reviewed the whole situation. This led them to declare both India and Russia as joint winners.
It marked India’s first-ever gold medal at the Olympiad. The team’s last best performance came in 2014 when they won a bronze in Norway.
The joint gold medal led to a debate on social media. Former world champion, Vishwanathan Anand believed that it was a fair call by FIDE. He said that one has to look at how the match was positioned when the interruption took place. Anand mentioned that Nihal’s position had improved and Divya was nearly winning.
The first leg of the finals ended on 3-3 as all six games were drawn. The second leg saw Anand drawing with Ian Nepomniachtchi and captain Vidit Gujarathi splitting points with Daniil Dubov. Koneru Humpy lost to Alexandra Goryachkina. D Harika drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk.
Anand’s surprise and optimism about Indian chess
Vishy thought that it was the players’ shortcomings that led them to lose their respective matches. Later, it was brought to his notice that the internet and server disruptions were the differentiating factors. Nihal and Divya are hardworking chess players and were playing exceedingly well.
Anand was quick to give credit to his teammates who put some brilliant performances during the entire competition. It was a complete team effort, reiterated Anand.
The legend said that the gold medal will serve an inspiration for more people to take up chess. According to Anand, the best part of the competition was that it showed the depth in Indian chess. Every player made great contributions and stood-up when it mattered the most.
Even before the competition began, the young players were excited which showed in the virtual meetings. Some of the players were playing for the first time and bagging a gold is a sweet experience. The competition has shown to the nation that chess is in the safe hands of the young guns of the country.