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Two players die at world chess championship in Norway

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Two contestants in the just-ended Chess Olympiad in northern died on the event's final day, apparently from natural causes, police said today.

A player from the Seychelles in his late 60s collapsed in the middle of a game yesterday, the last day of the prestigious world chess finals in the Arctic city of Tromsoe.

An attempt to resuscitate him failed, but not before a disturbance broke out among members of the audience who mistook a heart defibrillator for a weapon.

Later in the evening a contestant from Uzbekistan was found dead in a hotel room.

"It's a tragic and natural death," Jarle Heitmann, a spokesman for the World Chess Federation, told AFP, without elaborating on the cause of death or releasing the two names.

Tromsoe police said there was no suspicion of foul play in either of the deaths.

A minute's silence was observed at the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad to mark the death of the first player, as the second death was not discovered until later.

China won the championship for the first time, ahead of Hungary and India.

In the women's final, Russia saw off a challenge from China and Ukraine, maintaining its world title for the third time.

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