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India wins Gold for the first time ever in FIDE Chess Olympiad

After a highly controversial ending to an extremely entertaining final between India and Russia, both teams have been declared winners in the FIDE Chess Olympiad. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tournament was being played in the online format for the first time ever. This was India’s first appearance in a final, with a 3rd place finish their previous best result.

The Indian team, consisting of global chess stars like Vishwanathan Anand and Vidit Gujrathi, had defeated Poland to enter the final after an Armageddon tiebreaker win by India Women No. 1 Koneru Humpy, while the Russians overcame the United States of America. After a 3-3 draw in the first round of the final, India looked set to win the second round as youngsters Divya Deshmukh and Nihal Sarin made comebacks from challenging positions to be in pole position to win and draw their games, respectively. However, a worldwide crash of the servers of chess.com, the platform being used to conduct the tournament, disconnected both of them and the Indians lost on time.

Russia was declared the winner, but an appeal by the Indian team was upheld, and FIDE reversed their stance to award both sides the coveted gold medal. This is India’s first ever triumph in the FIDE Chess Olympiad.