India’s Koneru Humpy, the world rapid champion, who was part of India’s gold-medal winning team at Fide Chess Olympiad described the triumph as a golden moment for Indian chess and said great teamwork was key for the win.
“Really a special and golden moment for Indian chess. Talented youngsters like Nihal Sarin, R Praggnanandhaa, Vantika.. did well. Great teamwork did it for us. We had an advantage of having a mixed team,” she said while adding that Viswanathan Anand’s presence in the team was a great motivation for everyone.
India and Russia were on Sunday declared joint winners of the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad after the final was marred by server malfunction. Russia were initially declared winners after two Indians – Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh – lost in the final after suffering a disconnection with the server.
India lodged a protest against the controversial decision which was reviewed.
Indian men had previously won a bronze in the 2014 edition, which was the country’s best finish before this gold.
Humpy starred in the semi-finals as India pipped Poland to reach the final for the first time. However, the online version of the sport was a new experience for her.
On playing online, she said, “I never had an idea of playing online chess. I am comfortable playing over the board. The pandemic has forced us to play online. It is a different experience. Slowly, getting used to it.”
Team captain Vidit Gujrathi said the victory was possible due to the great work by all players.
“All the players did a great job which brought us the gold medal. It was a great experience to work with Anand,” he said.
Youngsters Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Divya Deshmukh and Vantika Agrwal said it was a matter of pride to be part of the Olympiad gold medal-winning team and also to play alongside the likes of Anand, Humpy, P Harikrishna and D Harika.