Ukrainian woman wins chess Olympiad after Russians are banned

Ukraine won gold at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, on Tuesday, as the Ukrainian women’s chess team triumphed on the battlefield.

It was the women’s first gold medal since 2006, after Russia was banned by international officials for invading Ukraine and China refused to send a team, citing a COVID-19 deal. Both will be serious contenders for medals.

The Ukrainian women’s football team won the title in the final round with a 3-1 victory over Poland, narrowly leading Georgia in the tiebreaker. The U.S. women’s team defeated India 3-1 to claim the bronze medal.

Held every two years, the Olympic Games are one of the most comprehensive sporting events outside the Olympics. Nearly 180 countries sent teams to Chennai to compete in the Open and Women’s events, even if Russia and China did not compete.

Not only have Russian players been banned from the tournament, but the chess federation earlier this year stripped the Russian city of Khantymansiysk the right to host the tournament and moved it to India.

There was another major upset on the men’s side, with tiny Uzbekistan taking its first ever gold medal, Armenia and India taking silver and bronze respectively.

The favored U.S. team had the highest average rating in the open stage and ended up on the podium with a fifth-place finish.

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