Matches against Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia will be played on August 21.
The first FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 is entering its final phase. The most large-scale online event started on July 25 on Chess.com, one of the biggest playing platforms.
The 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.
Teams from 163 countries have gone to the starting line of the Online Chess Olympiad. Each team consists of six players and six reserves, in a mixed format with a minimum of three female players and two junior players.
The event includes two stages: the “Divisions stage” and the Play-offs stage, from Round of 16 to the final. Four qualifying events were held from July 25 till August 16. Top Division, the decisive phase of the event, which will see the strongest five seeded, 20 continental, and 15 qualified teams, will begin on August 21.
Team Russia, the event’s top seed, will start playing from the final stage, together with other rating favourites. 40 teams of the Top Division will be divided into four pools. The Russian team’s rivals in the group will be Algeria, Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Egypt, England, Morocco, Romania, and Turkey.
Schedule of the Russian team’s matches:
1) Russia – Bulgaria, 21.08, 5 PM (Moscow time)
2) Turkey – Russia, 21.08, 6 PM
3) Russia – Croatia, 21.08, 7 PM
4) Algeria – Russia, 22.08, 5 PM
5) Russia – Morocco, 22.08, 6 PM
6) England – Russia, 22.08, 7 PM
7) Russia – Egypt, 23.08, 5 PM
8) Russia – Armenia, 23.08, 6 PM
9) Romania – Russia, 23.08, 7 PM.
Twelve teams qualified from Stage 1 play a knock-out tournament, which will be taking place on August 27-30.
The time control is rapid, with 15 minutes + 5 seconds increment per move.
Representing the Russian team are:
Men: GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, GM Daniil Dubov, GM Vladislav Artemiev
Juniors: GM Andrey Esipenko and GM Alexey Sarana
Women: GM Kateryna Lagno, GM Aleksandra Goryachkina, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, GM Valentina Gunina
Girls: WGM Polina Shuvalova and WIM Margarita Potapova.
The team captain is GM Alexander Motylev.
All junior players of the Russian team (A. Esipenko, A. Sarana, P. Shuvalova, and M. Potapova) took training courses in the chess department of the Educational Centre „Sirius“.
Andrey Filatov, President of the Chess Federation of Russia, Head coach of the Russian national men’s chess team: “FIDE is holding a unique online event, which has gathered chess players from 163 countries. Other sports can take chess for a model.
The Russian team enters the field in the Top division as a rating favourite. We have a very strong lineup, and our goal is to win the race. Our players have always worked hard and have been playing nonstop even during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we expect to show the highest result possible”.
Alexander Motylev, team captain: “Team Russia is represented by the strongest players and will fight for the first place. We have a very solid team composition without soft spots. But our rivals are worthy: they are China with a legendary Hou Yifan on the first women’s board, the USA, which is a bit weakened on men’s boards but has very good juniors, as well as traditionally strong teams from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.
I would like to point out an interesting novelty by FIDE, namely to include juniors and girls in the team composition. No doubt, it will add staginess to the competition and makes for the appearance of new talents”.
The first FIDE Online Olympiad is organised by the International Chess Federation 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 games are broadcast with the commentaries in the most popular world languages.