© Rune Stotlz Bertinussen/AFP
The Chess Olympiad in Norway.
The most prestigious international tournament in chess, at which the world's top players compete alongside amateurs to win honours for their country, has ended on a sombre note after two players died suddenly within hours of each other, one while he was in the middle of a match.
Hundreds of spectators attending the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway, and countless others watching live TV coverage on Norway's state broadcaster, reacted with shock after Kurt Meier, 67, a Swiss-born member of the Seychelles team, collapsed on Thursday afternoon, during his final match of the marathon two-week contest. Despite immediate medical attention at the scene he died later in hospital.
Hours later, a player from Uzbekistan who has not yet been named was found dead in his hotel room in central Tromsø. Norwegian police and the event's organisers said on Friday they were not treating the deaths as suspicious.
"We regard these as tragic but natural deaths," said Jarle Heitmann, a spokesman for the Chess Olympiad. "When so many people are gathered for such a long time, these things can happen."