Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi was left ruing an untimely power cut as India were held to a 3-3 draw by lower-ranked Mongolia in the sixth round on Saturday in Pool A in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.
After posting wins over Indonesia (4.5-1.5) and Iran (4-2) in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively, the Indians could not put it across Mongolia. On Sunday, India bounced back strongly to reach the quarter-final after winning their last three matches.
On Saturday, defeats for India captain Gujrathi and world rapid champion Koneru Humpy meant India suffered a setback in the quest for a sixth successive victory. Also, R Vaishali lost to Tuvshintugs Batchimeg to enable Mongolia hold India to a creditable draw.
However, it wasn’t as straightforward as that sounds. In their game against Mongolia, the Indian team was leading and looked primed to win when suddenly, both Gujrathi and Koneru Humpy ended up losing to their respective opponents on time.
It later turned out that both the players suffered due to a power cut in their area. They did have inverters at home but the internet took a while to come back up.
Chessbase India spoke to Bharat Singh Chauhan, the All India Chess Federation Secretary, about the matter and he said: “I have got to know that the issue faced by players was not about internet. It was power failure. Both Vidit and Humpy experienced power failure and while both of them have inverters at their place, it takes a few seconds for the internet to restart and because of this they lost their games.”
Chauhan added: “I made a call to Vidit and Humpy and have offered them to play their remaining games from Taj Hotel in Nashik and Vijaywada. These five star hotels usually have uninterrupted internet services. All the costs for the same will be borne by the Federation.”
China had also faced a tough time before overcoming the challenge of Mongolia 3.5-2.5 in the fourth round. However, the Chinese bounced back strongly with convincing wins over Georgia and Germany in the next two rounds, to replace India at the top of the table with 12 points.
But on Sunday, India returned to form, finished top of Pool A and entered the quarter-finals. They registered wins against Georgia (4-2), Germany (4.5-1.5) and China (4-2). The ninth round win against China proved crucial for the Indians.