Chess Olympiad: India overthrows China in Group A
As it was expected, the top place in Group A of the Chess Olympiad would only be decided in the very last round, when China and India were scheduled to face each other.
India beat China by 4-2 in the direct encounter, and thanks to this result India is the first team to qualify directly for the quarter-finals. China advances to the play-off stage.
The four games in the top four boards ended in a draw, but India proved to be stronger in the under-20 boards, were Praggnanandhaa won against Yan Liu and Deshmukh Divya outplayed Jiner Zhu. Some of the youngest and more promising Grandmasters in the world are from India, and this enormous potential is already starting to show in international competitions.
The Indian players were especially spurred after the technical difficulties that some of them experienced yesterday, when Vidit and Humpy lost their game due to a power failure. This incident deprived the Indian team of an almost certain victory in a crucial match against Mongolia that could have costed them dearly. But the players didn’t lose heart and reacted in the best possible way, turning frustration into motivation. Before the decisive victory against China, India had also defeated another two strong opponents: Georgia (4-2) and Germany (1½-4½).
Germany claimed third place and advances to the play-off stage, despite collapsing in the last two rounds, where they lost to India and Uzbekistan. Considering that they could not count on some of their strongest players, making it into the playoff stage in this event is no mean achievement.
This event is FIDE’s response to the postponement of the “traditional” Chess Olympiad, which was planned to take place between Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) in August, 2020. Involving more than 3,000 participants, the event was rescheduled to 2021, shortly after the IOC had also announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the support of Gazprom as General Partner, the government of the Ugra region as Official Partner, and Chess.com as the playing platform, the first FIDE Online Olympiad is the latest example of how chess has adapted to the coronavirus crisis. Despite having to cancel all official events played over the board -including flagship competitions like the Candidates Tournament and the World Championship match-, chess has thrived during the global lockdown.