A statement by Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Armenian Chess Federation

by ChessBase
9/7/2020 – During the final of the FIDE Online Olympiad between Russia and India, the internet connection was not always stable, which affected the outcome of some games. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich intervened in a solomonic way and declared both teams, Russia and India, as winners of the event. At the semi-final between India and Armenia there had been similar problems but the verdict had been different, and Armenia withdrew under protest. In an open letter to FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Armenian Chess Federation, addresses the issue.

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In one game of the semi-final of the FIDE Online Olympiad between India and Armenia, the Internet connection broke down and as a result the Armenian player lost on time. The tournament organizers came to the conclusion that the Internet connection of the Armenian had not been working properly and declared the game won for the Indian player.

The Armenian team then withdrew from the tournament in protest. But in the final between Russia and India, connections again were not stable and broke off occasionally. Now FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich intervened and in a Solomonic verdict he declared both teams, Russia and India, as winners.

The Russian team was somewhat dissatisfied with this verdict, because they felt that they could have won the final. The Armenian team was very dissatisfied and the issue led to heated discussions on social media.

With a statement Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Armenian Chess Federation, once again explained the Armenian position and tried to calm the waves.

It is now known that the cause of the broken Internet connection was probably a major server failure in an Internet node, which severely affected global Internet traffic (see ZDNet article, below).

Cheating is a big problem in online tournaments but the problem of a possible disconnect also remains unsolved. After all, the players usually do not cause the disconnections, but they are held responsible for them. Often the cause of a disconnection is complex and cannot be determined as quickly as is necessary. Unfortunately, the Internet is not (yet) as technically advanced as it should be for a problem-free execution of official tournaments.

Open letter by Serzh Sargsyan


Dear Mr. Dvorkovich,

On behalf of the Armenian Chess Federation, I express my gratitude to FIDE and to you personally for organizing the inaugural Online Chess Olympiad amid the ongoing pandemic situation.

Strong with 190 member nations and in its capacity of the most important chess authority in the world, the International Chess Federation is vested with great responsibility in terms of developing and disseminating chess across the globe. The Online Olympiad was an attempt to bolster international chess activities and offer another chess festival to chess fans and chess players around the world.

In an effort to turn the tournament into reality, FIDE and its partners exerted a lot of effort and dedication. The Armenian Chess Federation appreciates FIDE’s and your personal contribution to the tournament.

I should note with much regret that perhaps due to some rush and insufficient assessment of key organizational issues, a number of problems occurred during the tournament, mostly because of regulatory shortfalls, which obviously could have been foreseen despite the fact that the tournament was being held for the first time.

The situations that emerged in the quarterfinal Armenia – India match and in final Russia – India match, as well as several problems in the group stage were due to said regulatory shortfalls. The problems faced in the group stage were not deeply analyzed and taken into consideration.

In this regard, I express my deep concern and anxiety over FIDE’s latest decisions. Even a minor manifestation of injustice causes confrontation among chess community and chess players. This was the reason behind our team’s decision not to play a second match against India. The discontent of players escalated after FIDE made an opposing decision in the same situation.

The Armenian team suffered from a deplorable use of double standards. As a matter of fact, FIDE failed to abide by its own decision, which constituted a precedent. FIDE did not deeply evaluate the Armenian Chess Federation’s statement that the Internet had not been interrupted on the Armenian side and we obviously had faced a force majeure situation.

I regret some FIDE officials’ behavior in social media: they interpreted the situation in an incomplete and distorted way, which was immediately followed by our chess players’ response. I think that players should have expressed their opinion in an appropriate manner, without emotional formulations, but I also believe that FIDE should be twice as much refined and cautious in addressing chess players and refrain from humiliating their dignity.

Desirous to preserve the positive atmosphere in the big chess family, I hope that in the future FIDE will act according to its “GENS UNA SUMUS” motto, where one’s failures, defeats and troubles are the failures, defeats and troubles of everyone.




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