While doing this I noted a few other anomalies that need more research. For example, the page covering Zonals 2001-2002 (C20) starts with '0.0 FIDE Internet Qualifiers 2001-09', but this unique event is not adequately explained.
I added a few more clippings from TWIC to that C20 page, but the coverage is still incomplete. Although I doubt that there is a comprehensive written record of this event anywhere, the original Fide.com reports survive in Archive.org. Following are some of the more informative bulletins.
The Board [...] further resolved to give FIDE Commerce the support needed for the implementation later this month of the World Internet Championship, which will serve as basis for the selection of 8 qualifiers to the World Championship this year.
/25.07.2001/ Welcome to the World Internet Chess Championship 'See related material(s):' has all (?) related articles.
The Tournament Zone is OPEN. http://wicc.fide.com
We would like to inform all the Net Chess Players of the terms and conditions of WICC Semifinal. On multiple requests of the Net Players the dates have been shifted from the initially announced. The tournament will start on September 25, 2001 and last till October 5, 2001. It will be played in 9 rounds Swiss system based on rating. 64 winners of the Semifinal will take part in the WICC Final to define the best 8 to qualify to the World Chess Championship 2001. All who completed 4 games before Monday, September 24, 2001 12:00 GMT and occupy places 1 – 256 in the FIDE Net Rating are eligible to get registered for the Semifinal.
More detailed information concerning WICC Semifinal you may get here href=http://wicc.fide.com/read.cgi?html=fin1#subm
The first phase of the qualification is over. Now, the 68 strongest players of WICC Semifinal will come together to define the 8. There are already surprises. The common opinion was that the Final qualifiers would be only the well-known FIDE-rated players. But... Take a look at the players' list, are you sure you heard of all of them?
The whole standing list you may see by clicking here: http://wicc.fide.com/read.cgi?html=fin2a
The WICC Appeals Committee [...] has undertaken an examination of the appeals submitted by...
That same month saw news about another online event -- /29.11.2001/ OFFICIAL WORLD CHESS FEDERATION DISAPPOINTED BY FAILURE OF UNOFFICIAL 'ONLINE WORLD CHESS' EVENT. What was this about? The news lives on in the form of press releases.
- Largest Chess Event on the Internet Starts: OnlineWorldChess.com [2001-10-17]
- World's Best 32 Internet Chess Players Will Play 32 World Top Grandmasters, Including Anand, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, and Polgar [2001-10-24]
The challenges in running these online chess events were so severe that FIDE never attempted another online qualifier.