In response to the cancellation of over-the-board chess events around the globe due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) organized a series of online championships. The first FIDE Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities follows the Online Chess Olympiad, jointly won by India and Russia, and two smaller events for players with disabilities, the Online Cup and the Online Junior Cup.
The Olympiad opens on November 20 and closes on December 3, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Each participating country is represented by one or more teams of four players and up to four alternates. Teams may mix players with different impairments: physical, visual, hearing and social. However, at least one woman must play in every match. The initial stage involves a seven-round match play swiss played at one round per day. Four top teams face off in a pair of two-day semifinal matches, and then the winners meet for a two-day final. Players compete on the Tornelo chess platform, which implements FIDE regulations with a Zoom meeting to monitor for fair-play violations. The rapid time control for all stages is game in 25 minutes plus a 10 second increment.
A total of 60 teams registered, representing 44 countries on five continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America). Counting the alternates, nearly 400 players will participate, ranging in age from 8 to 77! On one hand, Team Israel boasts a Grandmaster and two International Masters. On the other hand, two African rosters comprise entirely of players lacking an official international rating. Here are some other interesting statistics.
- Favorites (by average team rating): Poland (2259), Germany (2219), Philippines (2197), Israel (2172), Cuba (2166), Russia (2164), Ukraine (2131)
- Teams rated over 2000 average: 14
- Countries with most teams: India and Turkey both with 4 teams
- Other countries with multiple teams: Poland (3), Russia (3), Ukraine (3), Philippines (2), Romania (2), Colombia (2) and Malaysia (2)
- Titled masters: 2 GM, 12 IM, 22 FM, 4 WIM, 3 WFM
- Players rated over 2400 FIDE: 2
- Players rated over 2200 FIDE: 32
- Players rated over 2000 FIDE: 89
- Teams from North America: Cuba, Canada, USA, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador
- Seeding of Team USA: 39th out of 60