Poland wins Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities

by ChessBase
12/7/2020 – A few days ago, Poland won the 1st FIDE Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities. Second place went to Russia while Ukraine won bronze. The photo shows the players of the Polish winners, who of course had to play the tournament from their respective "home offices".

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The 1. Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities

The International Day for People with Disabilities marks the closing ceremony for the inaugural FIDE Online Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities

The first edition of the tournament kicked off on November 20, 2020 with almost 400 participants playing in 59 teams, representing a total of 44 nations. The first part of the tournament, a seven round Swiss, led to interesting games and a lot of surprising results. Poland I, Germany, the Philippines and Israel were favourites, but only one of those teams finished among the top three.

The Ukrainian team, which in the end won bronze, started as number 13 on the seeding list, and second seed Russia led the field before the last round, but the lost to Poland who won the tournament.

Winner of the silver medal: Russia

The Ukrainians finished third

All games of the tournament can be found at Tornelo (https://tornelo.com/chess/orgs/fide/events/fide-online-olympiad-for-people-with-disabilities/pairings), the platform for this event.

This new Olympiad for players with disabilities, gave players all over the world the chance to represent their countries in an international event. Even though the stress of travelling was taken away, a lot of federations still had to cope with difficulties – after all, not all countries have a suitable internet connection and the necessary technical equipment.

The age difference of almost 70 years between the youngest and the oldest participant showed again that chess is indeed for everyone! In the huge field were well-known names: GM Marcin Tazbir from Poland is the reigning World Chess Champion for People with Disabilities, a title, which Stanislav Babarykin from Russia won 2013 in Dresden. And the Russian FM Ilja Lipilin, the reigning Junior World Champion for People with Disabilities, was not the only participant of the most recent Junior World Championship 2019 who played in the Olympiad.

A few things changed also behind the scenes: of the approximately 100 people involved in organising the event, 65 were assisting blind players, which allowed even severely visually impaired players to represent their federation in this international event.

Some teams finished better than expected, e. g. the team of the USA, which started as 39th on the seeding list but finished on place 7. Hungary also played well and finished 11th as number 20 on the seeding list.

Daily live broadcasts informed about the tournament. The broadcasters showed games from the current rounds and interviewed players, parents, coaches, and officials who revealed why they think it is important to make chess accessible for everyone. All videos from the broadcasts are still available on the YouTube Channel of the FIDE (https://www.youtube.com/c/fidechannel/videos).

Now we will have to wait to see what the next year will bring – hopefully, next year, the tournament can be played over-the-board again. Further information on the work of the DIS commission can be found on their website (dis.fide.com).

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