FIDE Online Olympiad: Russia and India joint winners

by ChessBase
8/30/2020 – The quarterfinals, semifinals and final of the 2020 FIDE Online Olympiad scheduled to take place between Friday and Sunday (Augusto 28-30). After a draw in the first mini-match of the final between Russia and India, two Indian players lost connection to their games and forfeited on time in the second encounter. FIDE decided to declare both teams as joint winners! Follow the games live with commentary and computer analysis. | See the report on the semifinals!.

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India and Russia declared joint winners

Press release

Match 1: India - Russa 3:3

Vidit ½-½ Nepomniachtchi
Harikrishna ½-½ Artemiev
Koneru ½-½ Lagno
Harika ½-½ Kosteniuk
Praggnanandhaa ½-½ Sarana
Divya ½-½ Shuvalova

Russia drew the first match against India after saving a couple of very tough positions. 

Match 2: Russia - India 4½:1½

Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Anand
Dubov ½-½ Vidit
Goryachkina 1-0 Koneru
Kosteniuk ½-½ Harika
Esipenko 1-0 Nihal
Shuvalova 1-0 Divya

In the second match, two Indian players, Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh, lost connection to their games and forfeited on time.

Arkady Dvorkovich’s 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.

Games and commentary

You can follow the official webcast or the ChessBase India webcast below.


Commentary by Simon Williams and Jovanka Houska

Commentary by Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal and Samay Raina

Each match is played to the best of three mini-matches. The first two mini-matches consist of six games, as per the rules used in previous sections. Every team must include:

  • at least 1 player U-20 (born in 2000 or later)
  • at least 2 women
  • at least 1 girl U-20 (born in 2000 or later)

In case of a tie, a single Armageddon game decides the winner. A random draw decides a category of players (open, women, juniors, or girls) and each team chooses one of their representatives from that category to play the deciding encounter. White gets 5 minutes; Black gets 4 minutes and draw odds.


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fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/31/2020 03:58
So because the rules have not been properly determined in advance, a match is decided in an unfair way by an appeals committee, and then because the appeals committee could not come to a unanimous decision in the latter match, the FIDE president has to step in to make a decision? With unsportspersonlike behavior by players/teams, as chessbibliophile pointed out, the loser is chess.

@Jacob, politics should not enter the decision whatsoever. The correct decision should be made regardless of which team it seems to be favoring.

Because the appeals committee could not come to a unanimous decision, clearly they should have played an Armageddon match among themselves, without increment, to decide who makes the decision.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 8/31/2020 02:14
One excuse that is made for the Indian team on the result of the match with Armenia is that it was a decision of the organizers, FIDE and They were the ones who rejected the appeal by the Armenian team. But when did they do it? The fact is that they placed the appeal before the Indian team for a response. The answer from Team India was NO. It was a consenting party to a decision that favoured it.
As for the Russian Team, they were cynical enough to have the Indian appeal rejected first and then started crying foul when India was declared joint winner.
So every one in this game of manipulation is a winner. The only loser is CHESS.
sebtak sebtak 8/31/2020 11:58
@crypto73: entirely agree w.r.t. your comments on

Also, I think the situation between Armenia and India disconnections was not entirely the same.
Armenia proved their connection was steady, and neither nor fide proved they didn't disconnect on their side. How can they be held responsible for a fault on the organiser's side?
While part of a global outage, the Indian players actually did loose connection. As per the rules, you are responsible for your own connection. That may sound harsh as you can't possibly be responsible for the provider, but the rules should apply whatever the cause of your disconnection if indeed the disconnection is on your side. Besides, the Indian players had not decided to all play from a single location, contrary to many of the other top countries, so it's a risk they were taking willingly (not that it should have mattered for the legal outcome, but it does matter to the moral outcome).
Mytwostotinki Mytwostotinki 8/31/2020 10:02
Gerald C: Your comment blaming the Indian team for "a lack of fair play" is a bit rich, considering the evident lack of fair play on your side. The Indian team is neither responsible for the server problem, nor for the decision of FIDE. It is most unfortunate that Armenia was eliminated in this way, but the reason was definitely not a lack of fair play from the side of the Indian players.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/31/2020 08:16
Nice, idea, mister Dvorkovich, give them all gold. But why stop at Russians and Indians? Let's make sure that each and every member of every team is the special, the best.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/31/2020 07:55
Typos due to autocorrect. What a crappy funktion.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/31/2020 07:53
I imagine The FIDE President being Russian could have played a rolle in this decision. One would not want to be accused of favourizing own team. This could taint the presidency from now on. Thus, no win by disconnect.

On the other hand, the option of the russian team losing the rightful gold thru armageddon (or yet another outage) would be a case of disfavourising own team. An option, but not a nice one either.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, this was the imperfect outcome. And I for one am fine with that. But then again, I am neither russian nor indian. Or Armenian.

As for having six armaggeddons, an A. Match, as suggestiv below, which is the bottom boarder exactly? Are they not ranked side by side in this event?
crypto 73 crypto 73 8/31/2020 04:03
Definitely FIDE wasn't able to organize this tournament in proper level. I have been playing so many years on This server is suck. How did FIDE choose this server for olympic games?
Armenian team faced the same problem as Indian team in final. Why in one case FIDE applied one rule while in other-Armenian case different ???? Looks like FIDE introduces rules based on mood of Dvorkovich and Sutovsky???... this is respect to this organization
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 8/31/2020 03:49
If the Russian and Indian federations really care for sportsmanship, they should volunteer and place a proposal before the FIDE seeking a triangular match between Armenia, India and Russia on fair and level terms. But no, they won’t. They would rather keep the cheap, tawdry medals they have “earned” for their teams.
When one looks at the great tradition of the previous Olympiads (the real thing!) one can only lament about what has happened now.
Rambus Rambus 8/31/2020 03:22
As a neutral hoping for an Armageddon, this was the wrong decision. 3 games were affected by the outage. 1. Koneru's result should stand, she was always slightly worse even before the disconnect. Both players would have been psychologically affected by the outage, and Koneru's forfeit of about 5 minutes due to outage didn't make much difference. 2. Nihal's should have been adjudicated a draw. Position was dead level at point of disconnect 3. Divya should have been adjudicated a win. She had so many options to checkmate her opponent. And there we have it - 3-3 and Armageddon!
Shakey Shakey 8/31/2020 02:50
Okay, calm down people. No one died. No one is injured. It's a board game. An interesting one, but still a board game. Some people need to chill, take stock, and get over themselves.

That said, some comments:

The disconnections were unfortunate, certainly. Reading the ruling for the semi-final, it is difficult to come up with a better ruling (a less unsuitable one perhaps), but Armenia can certainly feel aggrieved there, yes. That does not excuse some nasty comments written on the FB page by some supposed Armenia supporters though (about FIDE, about India etc).

The final now. It is great to see Arkady Dvorkovich directly involved- he is not just a figurehead, but actively doing stuff and plainly he is very enthusiastic. Great! A huge change from the corrupt and mad years of Campo and Kirsan. Here though, with hindsight, a different member of the appeals committee would have been better. Alex H or Short, if available. Or anyone senior and reliable really. An odd number is always required, so if one is recused an alternative should have been brought in.

The final decision - Gold for both? There is no good solution here, no. Again, maybe a 'least bad' decision. Noting Armenia as well as finalists Russia and India.

Lessons to be learned, and things to think about for if there is a next time (I suspect part of the reasoning for holding this event was as a limited dry run for both open and female events running next year if the 2020>2021 Moscow Olympiad cannot be held.)

Peace to all, and gens una sumus.
dugdugdug dugdugdug 8/31/2020 01:01
Onto the final now:

The first leg was 3-3.

What happened in the second leg? If Russia won it, they would be the gold medallists. If India won it, they would be the gold medallists. If it was a draw, then an armageddon game would decide the result.

So how the f*** did they arrive at the outcome of a SHARED gold medal?

In the two disputed games, India was clearly winning one game. The other, Russia was better but perhaps not enough for a win. At that point, the score was 1.5-1.5. Then Russia won another game, so it was 2.5-1.5 to Russia. Even if you were to award the two unfinished games 1.5-0.5 to India, that would take the overall score for the second leg to 3-3. Given it was also 3-3 in the first leg, the armegeddon "match" should be played.

As it is, other teams in earlier rounds should feel "cheated", as it seems the organisers have made up a rule as things progressed, instead of them stating them BEFORE the tournament started.

Apparently Russia "agreed" to this. So what? I'm sure Armenia didn't "agree" with the arbiter's decision in declaring their first match as a win to India but nevertheless, the result stood, leading to Armenia withdrawing.

Suppose this farcical event occurred in any other round except the final. What would have been the result? To allow BOTH teams to proceed to the next round?

"the appeals committee couldn't arrive at a unanimous decision to resolve the situation"

They can work out how to resolve draws in chess (by introducing an armageddon game) but they didn't anticipate an appeals committee not arriving at a unanimous decision.

Couldn't they just have an ODD number of arbiters each of which MUST vote one way or the other? Not exactly difficult is it?
dugdugdug dugdugdug 8/31/2020 01:00
The entire online Olympiad has been a farce right from the start.

I understand they had the best intentions to bring together the top players, women and juniors in a single tournament by stipulating each team must have players from all categories.

However, when it came to sudden death, why then was only ONE armageddon game played?

You could play all SIX. In the event of a 3-3 tie, you could eliminate the bottom board result. That would ensure a winning team.

For those who dislike this method, instead you could play an odd number of games, eg THREE or FIVE. That would definitely guarantee a decisive result.

The armageddon rule of no increment is also bollocks. White has more time and simply plays to flag their opponent. Do they organisers think that's a great way to promote chess?
Toptier Toptier 8/30/2020 07:42
Interesting. This match would have likely ended in a draw. Esipenko-Nihal was equal and Divya-Shuvalova was kind of hopeless for Black. That said, India vs Armenia would have also most likely ended in a draw had Martirosyan not disconnected.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 8/30/2020 06:48
Let me remind the Indian chess players that there was another Vishy back in 1970s. He was G.R. Vishwanath, legendary batsman. He used to walk away from the field when he knew he was out without even waiting for the umpire ‘s decision. Mind you, the fate of a test , be it with West Indies or Australia depended often on the umpire’s decision. But for that other Vishy it was more important to set the highest ethical standard of play than by merely winning with favourable umpire decisions. Our own Vishy and his colleagues should reflect on the price they have had to pay for someone else’s dubious verdict, be it the FIDE, or the AICF. All their hard work, preparation and great performance in this online Olympiad have needlessly come under cloud by acquiescing into decisions that favoured them. How far should they claim responsibility or claim credit for this dubious “victory” is left to their conscience.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 8/30/2020 06:42
India suffered on account of internet failure during the match with Mongolia and paid for it through loss of points. She could have appealed, but didn’t as she was going to qualify for the next round any way. History repeated itself during her match with Armenia. This time Armenia was the victim on account of system failure. India should have shown sportsmanship by allowing replay on that single board. Opportunism and the desire to win by any means prevailed over demands of fair play and justice. No, India has not covered herself with glory. If she had won the match with Armenia over the board it could have been wonderful. Instead she chose hide behind a technicality. It’s ironic that India became a victim of the same internet failure in the final match with Russia. This time Russia was not going to show generosity or magnanimity and allow replay with a fair match. But then India’s demand could not be ignored. So the FIDE has declared both India and Russia as joint winners. A most unsatisfactory decision, unfair to all the participating teams, not to mention chess fans and the game itself.
How are two different sets of rules applied with respect to India-Armenia and India-Russia matches? The result of a match has to be decided over the board and that alone. Anything otherwise is sans merit.
hurwitz hurwitz 8/30/2020 06:28
As much as I love Indian team, I think the outcome was not fair to Russia ...
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 8/30/2020 04:26
Mr.Gerald, your observation is wrong,Hail India!
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 8/30/2020 04:24
Mr.Gerald, your observation is wrong,Hail India!
sebtak sebtak 8/30/2020 04:12
Well, now Russia and India are declared joint winners, even though Russia had won on the boards without the disconnections. How is it fair for Russia to be joint winners when in fact they should be sole winners? How is this decision fair with respect to the previous decision againt Armenia (when the score was level on the remaining boards). Time to delete that account.
sebtak sebtak 8/30/2020 03:47
@Gerald C: Armenia didn't have connection problems, and they showed evidence of that as part of their appeal. The dropped connection was on's side as far as we know. But it's certainly easier to make one team angry than to admit that the entire infrastructure on which the olympiad is relying is shaky at best.
AFAIK, India didn't come forward for its former match where it had the two disconnects to explain that the disconnections weren't on their side. So they probably were on their side.
And irony (or should I say hypocrisy) now has it that India now appeals because of a disconnection of their own in the final against Russia!
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/30/2020 11:14
@Gerald C it is not unfair from India that Armenia had connection problems. India had connection problems of its own earlier and nobody complained about the free points their adversaries gained that way. With online chess connection problems are always possible.
monghe monghe 8/30/2020 07:40
Russia's best player was Sam Shankland. Nepo says "THANK YOU!".
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/30/2020 07:28
Socio - Koneru tie-break game ended by Black mating White, whilst having had a perpetual in hand which would see Black through.

Risky business, going for the win. After all, one might disconnect in the process of chopping off every single piece and pawn.
PhoenixAlpha PhoenixAlpha 8/30/2020 06:55
Armenia appeal was rejected by FIDE. India didn't asked Armenia to withdraw. Gerald see the game-play of India throughout Olympiad you will understand how much they deserve to be in the finals and even win Olympiad. Gerald feels bad for you, how can u be so pea-brained.

Anik Lahon Anik Lahon 8/30/2020 02:43
Gerald C ohh you so right as if India told to make a connection problem to Armenia team..what a logic .. attention seeker you🤣🤣
Gerald C Gerald C 8/29/2020 10:51
The indian team barely deserves a victory due to its lack of fairplay in the match against Armenia.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 8/29/2020 03:58
great performance by India ..... carry the form the championship!
Adityajaincchs_ Adityajaincchs_ 8/28/2020 05:50
Should include time in ist