2 deaths overshadow end of Chess Olympiad

KARL RITTER
Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A major international chess tournament in northern Norway ended on a grim note, with one player dying in the middle of a game and another found dead in a hotel room, organizers said Friday.

A 67-year-old member of the Seychelles team collapsed and died during the final round Thursday of the two-week Chess Olympiad in Tromsoe, tournament spokesman Jarle Heitmann said.

Another player, from Uzbekistan, was found dead in a hotel room later Thursday, Heitmann said.

He said both died of natural causes. Tromsoe police said on Twitter there was “no crime” suspected in either case.

Heitmann said there was a brief moment of panic as emergency workers rushed to attend to the Seychelles player, as some participants apparently mistook their defibrillator for a gun and fled toward the exits.

The Seychelles News Agency identified the player as Kurt Meier, a Swiss-born member of the small island nation’s chess team. It said he died during a game against Rwanda.

Officials for the Seychelles team didn’t immediately return emails and phone calls seeking comment.

The Rwanda team expressed its condolences to Meier’s family on Twitter and so did team member Alain Patience, who said he had been playing Meier when he collapsed.

China won the men’s title and Russia won the women’s title in the biennial chess tournament in which about 3,000 people participated.

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