By Venkatachari Jagannathan
The India-Russia chess duel for the Online Olympiad gold came to a dramatic finish on Sunday with the global chess body announcing them as joint winners.
“FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made a decision to give gold medals of FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad to both teams – India and Russia,” FIDE tweeted.
The global chess body considered the appeal made by India as three games were affected due to server problems.
“We just told FIDE that three of our players – K. Humpy, Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh were logged out due to server crash during the second match of the final,” non-playing Captain Srinath Narayanan told IANS.
“We had asked for a fair solution – a replay of three games,” he added.
Soon after India made the appeal, FIDE had tweeted: “”In the second round of #ChessOlympiad final match India vs Russia, two Indian players Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost connection to their games and forfeited on time. India filed an official appeal, the issue is now being investigated.”
The Indian team has appealed stating it was due to a server crash of Cloudflare used by www.chess.com.
The first match ended with a score of 3-3 with all the six games ending in a draw.
The battle of two world champions in the fast chess format – women’s world rapid champion from India K. Humpy and women’s world blitz champion Kateryna Lagno was an absorbing game.
Humpy, after securing an exchange advantage, sacrificed her queen for two bishops to have rooks against the Russian’s queen.
However, the clock was ticking against Humpy and on the 41st move, she missed out a winning line. Soon the game ended in a draw with perpetual checks by the Russian.
All other games – Vidit Santosh Gujrathi vs Ian Nepomniachtchi, P. Harikrishna vs Vladislav Artemiev, D. Harika vs Alexandra Kosteniuk, R. Praggnannandha vs Alexey Sarana and Divya Deshmukh vs Polina Shuvalova – ended in a draw.
In the second match, India brought in V. Anand and Nihal Sarin in the place of Harikrishna and Praggnanandha.
The Russian team made three changes, bringing in Daniil Dubov, Andrey Esipenko and Aleksandra Goryachkina and rested Sarana, Artemiev and Lagno.
The first result in the second match was a draw between Gujarthi and Dubov. Soon Harika and Anand followed suit, drawing against Nepomniachtchi and Kosteniuk respectively.