Russian chess grandmaster suspended for publicly supporting invasion

Sergey Karjakin, left, of Russia, concentrates on the board
Associated Press/Mary Altaffer

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced on Monday it was imposing a six-month competition ban on Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin for his public support of the invasion of Ukraine.

The organization said Karjakin, 32, had been found guilty of violating the FIDE Code of Ethics, which states that disciplinary action will be carried out in instances that cast the federation in an “unjustifiable unfavorable light and in this way damage its reputation.”

“The statements by Sergey Karjakin on the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine has led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed by Sergey Karjakin,” FIDE said.

It was determined that Karjakin’s online statements posed a threat to the reputation of chess, himself and the FIDE, the federation said. Karjakin will be permitted to appeal the organization’s decision.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Karjakin issued an opinion on social media to Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing his support for the attack and spreading the baseless claim that Kyiv was pushing a genocidal Nazi regime.

As The Guardian reported, Karjakin, born in Crimea, argued on social media that he was being targeted for his support of Putin.

“An expected, but no less shameful decision by FIDE,” Karjakin wrote on Telegram.

“All sports selections have been trampled, the basic principle that sport is out of politics has been trampled,” he continued. “Most importantly, first of all I am a patriot of my country and only second of all I am an athlete. If I thought back to the situation when I supported the president of Russia, the people and the army I would have done the same thing! I don’t regret anything.”

Fellow Russian grandmaster Sergei Shipov was not banned, with the FIDE saying he was “considerably less known and has, therefore, a less powerful platform.” They also noted that Shipov’s statements were “slightly different and less provocative character than the ones made by Karjakin.”

Last week, the FIDE banned the Russian and Belarusian teams from competing in official FIDE tournaments on the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee.

Tags Chess FIDE Sergei Shipov Sergey Karjakin Vladimir Putin World Chess Championship

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