Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

Ups & Downs for Ukrainian Chess

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 4/11/14, 5:14 AM.

Ukraine has been the epicenter of international news since its President was replaced and Crimea taken over by Russia. The first signs of the turmoil affecting the chess scene are there: the strong Sberbank rapid tournament, scheduled for May, has been cancelled while the Lviv Regional Chess Federation has proposed to declare Anatoly Karpov, Sergey Karjakin and Alisa Galliamova persona non grata. There is also positive news: a Ukrainian chess charity has won a national award.

None of our readers will have missed the developments in Ukraine in the past few months. Its President Yanukovich was impeached in February, illegaly in the eyes of Russia, who took control over Crimea. Since this is a chess website, international politics will not be discussed (except on one day of the year) and consequently, political debates in the comments section are discouraged. There are much better places for that.

Sberbank
However, it cannot be denied that the chess scene in the Ukraine has been hit too by the turmoil in the country. This week the organizers of the Sberbank rapid tournament in Kiev had to cancel their event for this year due to the political situation.

It's a big blow for chess in Ukraine, since the Sberbank tournament has been the strongest event of the year for a while. The participants in the top group for this year would have been Michael Adams, Vishy Anand, Pavel Eljanov, Sergey Karjakin, Anatoly Karpov, Alexander Moiseenko, Ruslan Ponomariov, Veselin Topalov and Loek van Wely. Last year Karjakin won the tournament ahead of Topalov.

The tournament was doing well. During the press conference in 2013, GM Alexander Areschenko praised the organizers and said he really liked it that famous chess players were in the same hall as a children's tournament, which was attended by about 180 children under the age of 16: “Young children running around, watching us play – it's great.”

Persona non grata
Earlier this week it was reported that the 
Lviv Regional Chess Federation (LRCF) has proposed to declare persona non grata Anatoly Karpov, Sergey Karjakin, Alisa Galliamova and other players who openly support the annexation of Crimea by Russia. In a letter on its website the following was written:

“The seizure of Crimea by the modern vandals provoked a fair indignation of the world community. The outstanding chess players Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik have expressed their indignation with the fact together with the civilized world. We support the attitude of the grandmaster Mikhail Golubev of Odessa and the initiatives like "chess on Maidan" organised by him, and we are also very thankful to Garry Kasparov for his support of Ukraine. We also support the letter of Ukrainian chess players “for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and we are surprised to know that some of the GMs who are planning to play at the Russian Team Championship in April didn't sign the petition.”

The letter refers to GM Mikhail Golubev, who has had a chess TV show in Odessa since November 2012 called Shkola Chempionov (“Champions School”). In the 34th edition he strongly opposed to the participation of Karjakin and Karpov at the Sberbank tournament because these players openly supported Russia's actions in Crimea:

Meanwhile Karjakin has responded to Soviet Sport about the initiative of the Lviv Regional Chess Federation.

I have always felt in that Crimea is Russian. I have a clear position with this issue. All my many friends and relatives are in solidarity with me. I want to stress that I have an excellent relationship with all Ukrainian chess players. I do not want to quarrel with anyone. I will still be friends with them.”

Chess for Children
Luckily there is also positive news coming from the Ukrainian chess scene. This morning Chess.com received a press release about t
he All-Ukrainian Charity Foundation Chess for Children, which was declared Social Initiative of the Year at the national award ceremony Sport Stars 2013 in Ukraine.

The ceremony took place on Sunday, April 6th at the National Olympic Area in Kiev - on what was the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in Ukraine. This festive day was launched at the General Assembly of the United Nations on August 23rd, 2013. To celebrate this day in April 2014, the Sport Committee of Ukraine organized the festive ceremony “Sport Stars of the Year” for awarding the best sport personalities in 2013.

The winner in the Social Initiative of the Year section was Chess for Children, a charity founded in Ukraine in November 2012 by WIM Olena Boytsun. The primary purpose of the foundation is “to discover the potential of every child through engaging children into a game of chess and to promote chess and healthy lifestyle in the society.”

In 2013 the foundation ran 7 projects and implemented 20 events all over Ukraine. An example is the project Chess Ukraine, which supports establishing new chess clubs and schools all over Ukraine as well as providing consultations, chess equipment and literature. 

The greatest attention is attracted by a new modern chess club and chess school for children in Krivoy Rog. It was launched in 2013 with the support of the “Chess for Children” foundation and currently the school has more than 200 children. At the local art square near the club the highest in the world 5 meter tall chess marble piece is situated. 

Another example is the Literary Chess project which develops and distributes free books to children with the rules of the game of chess, made in an entertaining style, in order to engage children to play chess. In 2013 the foundation took part at the Lviv Book Forum and the Frankfurter Book Exhibition with the presentation of the book Babish Gilzi plays chess by Olena Boytsun. 

A photo overview of the activities of the “Chess for Children” foundation in 2012-2013 can be found here in PDF. The program for 2013-2015 can be found at its website: http://chessforchildren.org.

4756 reads 41 comments
6 votes
more Misc

Comments


  • 3 months ago

    Sahasrara

    @ isauro2013 - "was thanks to someone who fought against communism. " Communism was not the problem, authoritarian government of the communist regime was the problem, Soviet Union could potentially have democratic elections with many parties. Saying communism = evil, is just silly and uninformed; anything at the extreme is bad, even capitalism. All the best nations to live in today, are somewhere between the two extremes.

  • 3 months ago

    rorschach1985

    @isauro2013....Your long rant only proves FM Guaranga's point.  The fact is everybody in every nation is held prisioner to the propaganda that our governments feed us.  Almost everybody in every nation is going to believe that their nation are the "good guys".  Blind patriotism is a very bad thing that blinds us to the truth that virtually all nations, including my own have contributed to the state of the world today, both good and bad.

    I am not young nor naive.  I have taken both Soviet and Chinese history.  I fully know what Stalin did to not only the Ukraine, but many other nations that were absorbed into the Soviet Union.  Stalin in many ways was worse than Hitler because his reign was extremely long.  However, your statement that (paraphrasing) his right to express his opinion and play chess was because of the millions of Americans who sacrificed themselves to fight communism is absurd.  I am sure that the people we lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars kept our nation safe from communism and protected our right to play chess.

    The US doesn't exactly have a stellar track record with foreign or domestic affairs.  Go to your local library and look up FDR who locked up Japaneese-Americans during WWII or deny Jewish refugees entry into our country and forced them back to Germany where Hitler put them into concentration camps.  Our recent history is full of examples of us invading third world nations.  There is a reason why the US is hated by so many nations.

    But I don't blame you for your blind patriotism.  After all your belief is based upon the propaganda that our govenment has fed us over the corse of our lifetimes.  Which brings me to the actual point.  The Ukrainians should not ban Russian chess players from playing in their tournaments because they agree with Putin.  They are Russians after all and why would we believe that they should not support their own government.

  • 3 months ago

    isauro2013

    @FM Guaranga: Look maybe you are young, and don't understand that your "chance" to express your opinion today, and play chess, was thanks to someone who fought against communism. So before making silly statements, like the one you have just made, when millions of Americans have "guaranteed" your freedom from "communism" with their sacrifice, since communism like Nazism is bad, also if you cannot even understand it, please go to your local library, and educate yourself.

    While you are there, please educate yourself about logic and argument, since here the topic is not "capitalism" and how it is evil. But how a place in the world, in this case Crimea, was in Stalin's time, "purified" (which means "ethnic cleansing") by its population, and then occupied with "russian peasants" and now they claim it is Russia. But killing millions of people, and occupying their lands in name of Communism or Nazism, is not something which can be passed as: "oh let's not speak of other people sins, because we are sinners too."

  • 3 months ago

    mcris

    _valentin_, since native languages and religions are so different across the World (also customs and traditions), your appeal to "no labels and identity distinctions" is in vain. You guys want to replace the caleidoscope of nations with atomized individuals. Team spirit derives from family spirit, so in my oppinion, as long as people will have kids, the world will go on as it is.

  • 3 months ago

    _valentin_

    Amen to what FM gauranga wrote in the comments below!

    Not only do we often not see who others really are, we fail to see who we really are -- human beings at the core, with no labels and identity distinctions.  

    All types of borders, identities, and labels in general are artificial constructs borne fundamentally out of fear and misunderstanding of our common human nature.

  • 3 months ago

    McAlbion

    Not at all, PB, I've been following events closely. But read the article above:

    "Since this is a chess website, international politics will not be discussed (except on one day of the year) and consequently, political debates in the comments section are discouraged. There are much better places for that."

  • 3 months ago

    PowerfulBishop

    Ukraine is under turmoil and all you care about is chess?

  • 3 months ago

    McAlbion

    So much for "let's not talk politics," eh?

  • 3 months ago

    FM gauranga

    Team spirit is the greatest enemy of mankind as it promotes hatred and ignorance. It makes us not see who others really are. We don't see others are brothers and sisters who we should care about. Instead we see only labels like Communist, Russian, Ukranian, White, Black etc., and think they are inherently bad, and we somehow are so great. In fact, we think we are so great we can pass judgment on everyone else in the world.

    A little humility by everyone would go a long ways to make this world a better place.

  • 3 months ago

    zedinger

    International chess is almost inherently political. The Soviet chess juggernaut was a propaganda victory for the Soviet experiment in general. When Bobby Fischer beat Soviet players his victory was treated as America's victory. Fischer became a fugitive when he played a  few chess games for money in the wrong city. I don't like it, but politics via chess is not unprecedented.

  • 3 months ago

    pdela

    well Karjakin changed nationality, support Crimea annexation... Guess he won't be the most popular Ucranian...

  • 3 months ago

    SilentKnighte5

    dreev179 

    I think any sports should not involve in any political crisis between any nation...esp in chess

     

    If India invaded the Phillipines, then several prominent Indian players came out in support of the invasion, I wouldn't think it was unusual to exclude those players from a tournament hosted in the Phillipines.

  • 3 months ago

    computo200

    Shame on chess federation to oppose by using power ( or more accurately terrorize, because this is what happens in dictatorship ) chess players for having opinions. It is great they don't give up their opinions.

  • 3 months ago

    rorschach1985

         While I am not a fan at of President Putin and the annexation of Crimea I still admire the Russian people and the improtance they place of Chess.  Most of my favorite chess players both male and female, past and present are Russian.  

         I would imagine that it would be very difficult for the Russian chess players like Kramnik to speak out against the Russian government.  We should not think poorly on any of the Russian (or Ukrainian) chess players for their opinions on the annexation.  Although history has proven to the contrary politics has no business mixing with chess.

         Also, didn't Karpov lead the investigation of the Chernobyl incident?  I can't remember, but I thought I heard that he lead the investigation.

  • 3 months ago

    isauro2013

    Karpov was a communist dog, and still is! I'm really happy that Fischer didn't play with such ugly person. I'm sure Karpov and the KGB would have played every possible dirty trick in order to win the championship back.

    Luckily I never bought books on Karpov, and his games, he totally disgust me. It is just enough to remember that Kortchnoi's son was arrested when Kortchnoi was playing for the world championship, just to remember him what would happen to his family if he didn't let Karpov win.

  • 3 months ago

    OleksiyUkr

    That's right! Nothing to support the fascist Putler power and approve military aggression against a sovereign state to invite not only in Ukraine, but also in any self-respecting civilized country.
    Rights Winston Churchill, arguing that "The fascists of the future will be called the anti-fascists" - now it is for the anti-fascist rhetoric Putler trying to hide their villainy.

  • 3 months ago

    vasiliy_pupkin

    All russian separatists in Ukraine will be hard punished. I wish all russian dogs to die

  • 3 months ago

    iwegiel

    Yes you're right, especially the chess players should decide if they are politicians or chess players.

  • 3 months ago

    Alieksandr_Krajkov

    Yay! More hypocrisy coming from official sources! The russian government is a pet chihuahua compared to the USA and its allies. Crimea has more to do with Russia than the West; leave it alone and get back to illegally invading middle-eastern countries for their natural resources.

  • 3 months ago

    dreev179

    I think any sports should not involve in any political crisis between any nation...esp in chess

Back to Top

Post your reply: