Chess Olympiad: India enters semis after Armenia withdraws

India reached semifinals of the Online Chess Olympiad on Friday after Armenia withdrew from the quarterfinal following a rejection of its appeal over one of its players.

Armenia withdrew from the tie after FIDE did not accept its claim that Haik Martirosyan had lost one of the games against Nihal Sarin (in picture) due to an internet issue.   -  Special Arrangement

India reached the semifinals of the online Chess Olympiad in controversial circumstances on Friday. It had won the first of the two matches against Armenia, which didn’t play the second and withdrew from the competition.

The Armenians had registered a protest with the world chess governing body FIDE claiming that they lost one of the games because of the loss of internet connection at the end of Chess.com, the portal on which the tournament is being played.

They argued that there was nothing wrong with the internet connection on their side, so the game between Nihal Sarin and Haik Martirosyan should be replayed from the position in which the Armenian had lost on time. The Indian non-playing captain N. Srinath was asked by FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich about India’s stand.

“I said that they could investigate the internet issue but we could not wait indefinitely for the second match to start as it would be unfair to our players,” Srinath told Sportstar over phone from Chennai. Then some two hours later, I was told that Armenia withdrew.”

Online Chess Olympiad: Gujrathi, Humpy offered hotel rooms to play remaining matches

He said it wasn’t the way India wanted to reach the semifinals. “But we are still delighted that we are through,” he said.

“We should not forget that Nihal was slightly better in the final position, and Martirosyan needed accurate moves – that too in severe time pressure -- to force a draw.”

In the other games, Viswanathan Anand drew with Levon Aronian, Gujrathi defeated Gabriel Sargissian, Koneru Humpy lost to Elina Danielian, Dronavalli Harika beat Lilit Mkrtchian and Vantika Agrawal went down to Anna Sargsyan.

In Saturday’s semifinal, India will meet the winner of the match between Azerbaijan and Poland.

  Dugout videos