Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)
N ICK BARNETT CHESS
THE FIDE Online Olympiad was unique in every sense of the word: what should have been the 44th Olympiad is officially recorded now as the Online tournament, and the title was shared for the first time in its history. Russia and India got Gold while Silver and Bronze were not awarded.
India was relieved to be on the virtual winners’ podium after an internet disconnection and server malfunction threatened their chances. An appeal eventually led to the unusual final result.
China who had a good chance (especially after their 2018 Olympiad win), had earlier met their match in Ukraine. The selectors seemed to be spooked after Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) drew by perpetual check in a winning position against the world woman champion, Ju Wenjun who then was dropped alongside world No 1, Hou Yifan. One would not have wanted to be in the shoes of selectors when they returned home.
FIDE confidently has announced the 44th Chess Olympiad in Moscow and the 45th in Minsk, Belarus in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
PETER DOGGERS of Chess.com conducted a ‘Hard Talk’ with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich about the Online Olympiad in an almost hour-long video on the website.
Dvorkovich was proud of innovations, for example the mixed characters of the teams, the six boards, two men, two ladies, one junior, one girl and substitutes for all of them, and each board equally important.
He acknowledged the difficulties including the issues with internet connections. This was especially true in places with poor infrastructure, African countries in particular. In Somalia internet outages were due to political events and they dropped out completely.
He also addressed issues with cheating but said that they identified only eight cases of likely cheating over the course of the Olympiad in which 1500 people had participated.
But the question people on social media wanted answered was why the decision to award the Gold to two countries was made.
A long and convoluted discussion resulted in Dvorkovich conceding oversights and ‘imperfections’. His openness to fixing what he held to be legal and procedural flaws in future online tournaments and his suave and benign demeanour, may convince many, but Doggers was dogged to the end. Please go and watch the video (or read the transcript) at chess.com: search for: fide-arkady-dvorkovich-interviewonline-olympiad.
THERE IS one person who is not totally unhappy with being locked down: here are Magnus Carlsen's earnings in the corona crisis: $349,500
It is worth remembering that the 1st of September 2020 marked 48 years since Boris Spassky resigned the adjourned 21st game of the world championship match in Reykjavik, making Bobby Fischer the 11th world chess champion!
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