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World Chess Olympiad reset to next year

By Kristel Satumbaga



The World Chess Olympiad became the latest victim of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after tournament organizers were forced to reschedule it to next year.

The decision to reset the event was announced by the International Chess Federation after taking into account the widespread of the deadly disease that also saw the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

“Given the International Olympic Committee (IOC) statement regarding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, FIDE has decided to postpone the 44th Chess Olympiad including the competition for players with disabilities and the FIDE Congress,” the statement said.

The Olympiad was supposed to take place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Aug. 5 to 17 with around 200 countries participating while the World Chess Paralympiad is supposed to be held on July 25 to Aug. 5 also in Khanty-Mansiyk, Russia.

“FIDE will continue to work hard in order to support various chess activities, at the same time caring first and foremost about the health and well-being of the entire chess community.”

The country is scheduled to send Grandmasters Banjo Barcenilla, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo, and International Masters Paulo Bersamina and Haridas Pascua.

Barcenilla, who recently ruled the inaugural leg of the 1st Philippine National Bullet Championship held online, welcomed the development.

“I think that is the best decision made by FIDE. It should always be safety comes first. Our safety should be the top priority,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, prompting global sports to a halt.