Two players die at chess tournament in Norway

The event is the most important on the chess calendar

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The Independent Online

Two men died within hours of each other on the final day of the world's most important chess contest which was being held in Norway.

Emergency crews were called to the Radisson Blu hotel at around 10:30pm on Thursday, after a 2014 Chess Olympiad competitor was found dead in his hotel room, local reporters confirmed to The Local.

Earlier in the day, a 67-year-old member of the Seychelles team was mid-game at the Mack Hall, where the tournament was being held, when he suffered a heart attack at 3:30pm.

The competitor was taken to the University hospital of Tromsø where he later died.


There was momentary chaos in the hall, after a medic's defibrillator was mistaken for an armed weapon and some feared a terror attack was taking place.

Following the incident, the referee delayed play for a few minutes, according to a Chess Olympiad statement.

The Chess Olympiad, which this year ran from 1 to 14 August, is the most important event on the chess calendar. It involves 2200 players from 170 national federations, according to the event's website. This year, China won the men's 41st Chess Olympiad, while Russia clinched gold in the women's tournament.

Morgan Lillegård, head of communication for the Chess Olympics, said of the first death: “[The situation] concerns a person with serious heart problems. The Red Cross were in the venue and started first aid until the ambulances arrived at the scene.”

Speaking the Norwegian national news agency NTB, Police chief Gunnar Baardsen said of the second death: “There is no suspicion about anything criminal going on. This is a natural death.”

Jarle Heitmann, head of communication for the Chess Olympiad, confirmed to the Nordlys newspaper that a person was found dead on Thursday evening.