A member of the chess team from the Seychelles collapsed and died on the last day of the Chess Olympiad in Tromsø on Thursday. A moment of silence was held during the closing ceremonies that otherwise marked the first victory by a country outside Europe and the US.
The player from the Seychelles suddenly seemed to suffer a seizure and fell to the floor of the large hall where 650 chess matches have gone on simultaneously for the past 12 days. Two ambulances arrived quickly but they were unable to revive the Seychelles player.
“We have had the Red Cross inside the playing hall, and they immediately began resuscitation efforts,” Morgan Lillegård of the Chess Olympiad’s organizing committee told reporters “The ambulance team continued the emergency efforts.”
Most of the matches were over when the player collapsed while others interrupted their play. State broadcaster NRK reported that many people in the hall began to cry and several of the man’s teammates witnessed his collapse. The organizers said they were setting up a crisis team that would be available for anyone feeling a need for support.
The Chess Olympiad otherwise ended with China winning gold for the men in games against Poland, and Russia winning gold for the women against Bulgaria. Armenia had been favoured but ended up with its own star Levon Aronian describing the country’s performance in Tromsø as “dreadful.” Norway won its last matches on Thursday against Malaysia 4-0 but ended in 29th place, after a disappointing tournament that chess world champion Magnus Carlsen left early after losing two games in a row.