India on Friday advanced to the semifinals of the Fide Online Chess Olympiad but the result came under controversial circumstances.

Armenia’s withdrawal resulted in India’s progress, following rejection of an appeal over one of their players losing a game due to internet disconnection.

India will take on Poland in the semi-finals on Saturday. They beat Azerbaijan in a tie-break.

India had won the first round of matches 3.5-2.5 with captain Vidit S Gujrathi, D Harika and Nihal Sarin posting victories. While former world champion Viswanathan Anand drew his game against the Armenian No.1 Lev Aronian, Koneru Humpy and Vantika Agrawal suffered defeats.

The Armenians protested for a long time delaying the start of the second round of matches before withdrawing following rejection of their appeal.

“Following the disconnection of Haik Martirosyan in Match 1 of the Quarterfinal against India, Armenia filed an official appeal that was rejected by the Appeals Committee. Armenia defaulted Match 2. As a result, India is through to the semifinals,” the world chess body tweeted.

Haik Martirosyan was declared to have lost against the young Sarin on the fifth board, which led to Armenia lodging the protest, contending that their connection was stable.

Earlier, Anand and the higher-rated Aronian were locked in a 54-move battle before they signed peace. Gujrathi recorded an impressive win over Gabriel Sargissian while world rapid champ Humpy went down to Elina Danielian.

Harika pulled off a win over Lilit Mkrtchian as did Sarin against Martirosyan in rather contentious circumstances.

Vantika Agrwal could not hold her own against higher rated Anna Sargsyan and lost.

Later, Armenia’s top player Aronian slammed Fide’s decision to reject the team’s appeal and that there was no problem on their side.

“As a leader of a 3-times Olympic champion (sic) 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 We proved that our connection was stable,” he tweeted.

“And it was a problem access to, 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 further said.

Meanwhile, Indian star Harika tweeted: “Good to qualify for the semifinals of the FIDE online Olympiad. It is very unfortunate the circumstances under which it happened and not the way we would have liked to qualify. Armenia is a tough opponent and it would have been good to have another tough fight.”