Monday, 31 August 2020

Gold to Russia and India

 (*** I was an arbiter for this event, and while I was not part of the appeals panel, I was aware of a number of facts that were considered by them. I post as an individual, and not in any official capacity connected with the Online Olympiad ***)

After considering an appeal by India, FIDE have awarded joint gold medals to India and Russia for the 2020 FIDE Online Olympiad. With the match tied after the first round (6 draws), and 3 further drawn games in the second round, 2 Indian players suffered connection difficulties, and lost on time. In an investigation carried out immediately after the completion of the game, it was discovered that Cloudflare had suffered and outage which prevented internet traffic from being routed to in a timely manner. Based on this, and other factors, it was decided that Russia and India would share first place. The full details of the decision can be found at 

One question that was asked soon after this decision was published, was "What about Armenia?" They had suffered a similar issue in their quarter final against India, and had refused to continue the match when their appeal was rejected. 

While I sympathise with Armenia, there were 2 distinct differences. The option to declare joint winners could have only been made in regards to the final. For QF's and SF's, any decision would have had to provide an ultimate winner, so as to advance to the next round. Secondly, the cause of the outage that affected India was clearly and quickly identifiable, something that wasn't the case with Armenia. The tournament had seen a number of connection issues similar to Armenia's (eg internet failure, power loss, overthrow of government), and in all cases, they were treated in the same way (a loss for the player concerned). In the final however, the failure of tournament infrastructure was the culprit, which is why I assume a different decision was reached.

If I had been asked (which I wasn't), I had a different suggestion. But as it turns out, my suggestion would not have been practical, due to the same internet issues that affected the match in the first place.

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