Online Chess Olympiad 2020- Team India

The International Chess Federation announced the dates of FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020. The one of a kind tournament will be held between July 22nd and August 30th.

Each team will consist of six players, in a mixed format with a minimum of three female players and two junior players. Specifically, each team must include:

  • at least 1 player U-20 (born in 2000 or later)
  • at least 2 women
  • at least 1 girl U-20 (born in 2000 or later)

All India Chess Federation (AICF) named Grandmaster Vidit Santosh Gujrathi as the captain of the Indian team and also announced the complete squad.

Men: Vishwanathan Anand, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (captain), P Harikrishna and Arvindh Chithambaram (reserves).

Women: Koneru Hampy, Dronavalli Harika, Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali (reserves).
Junior boys: Nihal Sarin, R Praggnanandha (reserve).

Junior girls: Divya Deshmukh, Vantika Agrawal (reserve).


Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand and the youngster Vidit Gujarati playing against each other at the 14th round of the Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2019 Grand Chess Tour.


Apart from GM Viswanathan Anand, the sports community outside the chess circles is not much aware of the rest of the accomplished and talented Indian chess team. So, let’s introduce these players in brief and get to know them. Feel free to share about rest of the players.

I guess Viswanathan Anand needs no introduction but let me start with the Chess Legend - the greatest rapid chess player of his generation.

Anand became the first Indian Grandmaster from India in 1988. He is a five-time World Chess Champion (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012).

In April 2006, Anand became the 4th player in history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list, after Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Veselin Topalov. Anand held the World Number #1 position for 21 months, the 6th longest on record.

Viswanathan Anand On His Favourite Memories of His Greatest Rivals

18 year old Vidit attained the title of Grandmaster in January 2013 and he is the 4th Indian ever to have crossed the rating threshold of 2700. As of May 2020, his rating of 2726 makes him the 23rd highest rated chess player in the world, and the 2nd highest rated chess player in India, after Viswanathan Anand.

The road to chess improvement! By GM Vidit Gujrathi


Team India who are seeded seventh in the competition are scheduled to play their matches between August 21 and 23, almost after a month since the tournament starts. Teams from 163 countries will take part in the tournament.


Online Chess Olympiad: India Notch Up Three Easy Wins, Rise to the Top of the Points Table

The Indian team’s matches began today. India lost just one match on Day 1 of FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.

Excerpt from news report:

A dominant India notched up three easy wins against Zimbabwe, Vietnam and Uzbekistan respectively in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad. India defeated Zimbabwe 6-0 and rolled over Vietnam 4-2 but the highlight certainly was the win against Uzbeks by 5.5-0.5 margin.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand, who made his first appearance after sitting out the first two rounds, was held to a draw by Nodirbek Abdusattorov in a 76-move game.

P Harikrishna, R Praggnanandhaa, Koneru Humpy, D Harika and Vantika Agrawal registered fluent wins to secure a massive win for India. Earlier in the first round, the strong Indian team routed Zimbabwe 6-0 with captain Vidit S Gujrathi leading the way.

In the second round match against Vietnam, young Nihal Sarin registered a crucial win over Anh Koi Nguyen as the Indians won 4-2 as Gujrathi and Harikrishna were held to draws and Divya Deshmukh went down to Ngoc Thuy Duong Bach with white pieces. Sarin had also won his match in the first-round encounter against Zimbabwe.

Winning each round got India two points, taking them on top of the pool with six points while they also have the best game points 15.5 after 18 matches.

India is on top of the standings followed by China with an equal number of round points (6) but fewer game points (13.5) and Germany in third also with 6 points (11.5 game points).

India with an average ELO rating of 2419 is seeded seventh in the championship. The Olympiad is being played online as the scheduled event could not be held in Russia owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event has a different structure with each team comprising six players, including at least two women. And, a male and a female player have to be 20 years and less.


Indian Captain Vidit Gujrathi openly spoke about the lack of support from the Indian government in preparing for the world tournament.

There’s no role of the government, sadly, in this preparation," said Gujrathi , adding that the players are training at their own expense. “We’re trying to help each other as much as we can. It’s sad to see as a professional player, playing for the country, even the training expenses aren’t taken care of… All preparation done here is based on the players’ own individual skill and finances. 10 days of intense training costs €4,000-5,000 (around Rs3.5-4.4 lakh). “I invest all my earnings into coaching."
The tournament’s online-only format has its set of challenges, said Gujrathi. If a player’s internet connection is interrupted, it might cost her the match. “The Chinese have been given a facility of playing from some university where the internet connection is very stable, so they don’t lose any game by default. That’s taken care of by their government or chess federation."

The Indian team, however, has been left to their own devices.


Day 2

After Day 2, China on top of the table with 12 points, India at 2nd with 11 points and Germany in 3rd place with 9 points.

Feared the worst and yet we take chances. Vidit Gujrathi and Koneru Humpy lost due to power failure as India drew with Mongolia.

There is nothing more upsetting than not acting upon anticipated shortcomings. Players should have gotten necessary support from the federation in terms of well equipped facilities.

Power failure is a prevailing problem all over India. It should have been the least of the concern and yet we deal with it on a daily basis in this age of technological advancement. In general, the entire power grid system needs a revamp for us to even think of being counted among the developed nations in future.


R Praggnanandhaa, Divya Deshmukh Star As India Stun China To Reach Quarters

R Praggnanandhaa and Divya Deshmukh starred with crucial wins as India stunned a formidable China 4-2 in the ninth and final round of the Top Division Pool ‘A’ in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad today.

India will play the quarterfinals on August 28. Four draws and two wins on Under-20 boards helped India pull off the victory.



Round 7: India beat Georgia 4-2 (Viswanathan Anand drew with Levan Pantsulaia; P Harikrishna beat Luka Paichadze; Konery Humpy drew with Meri Arabidze; D Harika lost to Nino Batsiashvili; R Praggnanandhaa beat Nikolozi Kacharava; Divya Deshmukh beat Diana Lomaia).

Round 8: India beat Germany 4.5-1.5 (Vidit Santosh Gujrathi beat Rasmus Svane; Harikrishna drew with Matthias Bluebaum; D Harika drew with Lara Schulze; Bhakti Kulkarni beat Filiz Osmanodja; Nihal Sarin drew with Roven Vogel; Vantika Agrwal beat Jana Schneider).

Round 9: India beat China 4-2 (Vidit Gujrathi drew with Ding Liren; Harikrishna drew with Yangyi Yu; Humpy drew with Hou Yifan; D Harika drew with Wenjun Ju; R Praggnanandhaa beat Yan Liu; Divya Deshmukh beat Jiner Zhu).

Final standings: Pool A:

1.India 17 points
2. China 16
3. Germany 11
4. Iran 9
5-6. Mongolia & Georgia 8
7. Indonesia 8
8. Uzbekistan 7
9. Vietnam 6
10. Zimbabwe 0.


India and Russia announced joint winners of Chess Olympiad!

Congratulations to team India chess players! :chess_pawn::crown:

India were awarded the Chess Olympiad gold medal jointly with Russia after a dramatic finish to today’s final. India were initially declared to have lost the final round but they lodged an appeal saying their players lost internet connection due to a server failure. The decision was then reversed.

Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost connection with the server and were declared to have lost on time. Divya had been in a winning position before the loss of connection in the final round.

After India lodged an official appeal against the result, FIDE said the issue was under investigation. After about an hour of the result, the world chess body announced that FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich had made a decision to give gold medals of to both teams.