No action against Armenia for walking out of Chess Olympiad quarters vs India

World chess body FIDE will not take any action against the Armenian team that walked out of the Online Olympiad quarter-finals against India in a non-sportive manner as its appeal against the victory of Indian Nihal Sarin over Haik M Martirosyan was dismissed, said an official.

India advanced to the semi-finals and will play Poland.

“I can confirm that no further disciplinary actions are being considered at this point,” FIDE’s Chief Communications Officer David Llada told IANS. He said the quarter-finals is a knockout event, so the withdrawal does not impact other teams.

The quarter-finals consist of a knockout duel of two matches and an Armageddon game.

During the first quarter-final match, Sarin was pitted against Martirosyan. When the Armenian was to make his 69th move, it seems he lost internet connectivity and thus lost out on time.

The Armenian team then appealed, saying that the net connectivity was good and it was the problem with the Chess.com server.

“As a leader of a 3-time Olympic champion I feel very dissatisfied with FIDE’s decision to reject our just appeal. In our match against India, Haik Martirosyan lost on time due to disconnection from http://chess.com. We proved that our connection was stable (sic),” tweeted Armenian player Levon Aronian.

“It was a problem with access to http://chess.com, not on our side. All we asked for was to continue that game from the same position and same time. Is it too much to ask?” he wondered.

Chess players had said continuing the game from the same position and same time could not be allowed as the players would have analysed the position in depth with the help of computers.

One option was to start a fresh game.

FIDE had laid down strong rules for players, including a ban from playing in the next round even if their internet connectivity is lost for two minutes or less.

“We understand the frustration experienced by the Armenian players, but we have followed the same criteria we followed in previous rounds — like when Vidit (Santosh Gujrathi) and Koneru (Humpy) lost their games in their match against Mongolia,” Llada added.

Apart from these two Indian players, Divya Deshmukh too lost a game as she was disconnected from http://www.chess.com server.

Deciding on Armenian’s team’s appeal, the FIDE’s appeals committee discussed the event regulations in detail with the team captains. As per the regulations, the quality and stability of the of internet connection is the sole responsibility of the players.

“In their appeal, the Armenian team pointed out that the specified player was connected to the zoom call during the whole incident, and the video call was not interrupted. In their opinion, this confirms the normal operation of the internet connection in the game room, and proves that the technical problems were limited to the chess.com website,” the appeals committee said.

The committee also pointed out that India had lost two games owing to disruption in internet connectivity against Mongolia.

“No other reliable evidence of problems on the game server was presented to the Appeals Committee, in addition to the general conclusion provided by the Armenian team,” the committee said.

According to the committee, Armenian player Martirosyan had about 50 seconds to restore the connection, which turned out to be insufficient.

“In the current situation, any other decision would be inconsistent with the tournament regulations, creating a precedent that could lead to further conflicting situations. The Appeals Committee also finds that any other decision would be unfair to the opposing team,” the committee decided.

Meanwhile, the Indian team has beefed up its power and internet connectivity backup systems.

The team now has a channel bonding system for uninterrupted net connectivity. In simple terms, if one net connection fails, the next one takes over within a second so that there is no loss of precious time in this fast game.