By Arré Bench Aug. 31, 2020
India and Russia squared off against one another at the Chess Olympiad, hosted by FIDE, the international chess federation. But after two players from the Indian team lost connection to the server while the games were in progress, FIDE decided to jointly award the gold medal to both countries.
For the first time in the history of its 44 editions, the Chess Olympiad, hosted by FIDE, the international chess federation, was held online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was originally supposed to be held in Russia, but the matches have been taking place on an online server since they began in July. And now, the first-ever online Chess Olympiad has come to a close, and the internet has played as much of a role in deciding the result as either of the two countries competing in the final.
India and Russia squared off against one another, but after two players from the Indian team lost connection to the server while the games were in progress, FIDE decided to jointly award the gold medal to both countries.
🇷🇺 Russia and India 🇮🇳 are co-champions of the first-ever FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad.
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) August 30, 2020
Worldwide, sporting events have yet to return to their full pomp and splendour. However, chess does not require the players to be in each other’s physical proximity, which makes it the perfect online sport for the times of the pandemic. Winning a gold medal in the Chess Olympiad was celebrated by Indians who were proud of their compatriots for their victorious display. Prime Minister Modi was among the first to congratulate the victors.
Congratulations to our chess players for winning the FIDE Online #ChessOlympiad. Their hard work and dedication are admirable. Their success will surely motivate other chess players. I would like to congratulate the Russian team as well.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 30, 2020
In the rarest of rare occasions, Modi’s political rival, Rahul Gandhi, was also in agreement with the PM, at least on the subject of lauding India’s chess players, saying that they had made the country proud, while also congratulating co-champions Russia.
Congratulations Indian team, on winning the online FIDE Chess Olympiad.
You’ve made the country proud.
Congrats to the Russian team too. pic.twitter.com/uGxorV8Mcb
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 30, 2020
While chess might not be as popular as cricket with the Indian public, an endorsement from Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket himself, would go a long way toward correcting that. Tendulkar called India’s victory in the Chess Olympiad as the perfect end to a great weekend for Indian sports, as the country also celebrated National Sports Day.
What a wonderful weekend this has been for Indian Sports. A day after we celebrated #NationalSportsDay, our Chess Team brings laurels by becoming joint champions.
Congrats @vishy64theking & the entire team.#ChessOlympiad https://t.co/9Q41Abx4pj
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 30, 2020
Vishwanath Anand, perhaps India’s best-known chess player, who was also part of the winning team, happily shared the news with his half-million-and-counting followers on Twitter.
We are the champions !! Congrats Russia!
— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) August 30, 2020
While India is used to achieving successes on the cricket field, watching sportspersons from other disciplines win glory on the international level is exciting.