FIDE Condemns Military Action; Takes Measures Against Russia, Belarus

FIDE Condemns Military Action; Takes Measures Against Russia, Belarus

| 278 | Chess Politics

Following an extraordinary meeting of the FIDE Council held on Sunday, the International Chess Federation has officially condemned Russia's invasion in Ukraine and taken a number of measures against Russia and Belarus, including a ban on hosting official events and displaying their flags in FIDE-rated events.

Those wishing to support Ukraine directly may consider these organizations which have a strong track record of providing effective relief in times of crisis and which make it easy to donate:

In an earlier statement from last Thursday, FIDE did not go as far as condemning Russia's actions but merely expressed its "grave concern" regarding the "current rapidly deteriorating geopolitical situation." Today's verbiage, which speaks of a number of "emergency decisions," is much stronger. For starters, the FIDE Council approves the following statement condemning the military action:

"FIDE expresses its grave concern about the military action started by Russia in Ukraine. FIDE stands united against wars as well as condemns any use of military means to resolve political conflicts. FIDE will take any necessary action to ensure the security of chess players and other members of the chess community. No official FIDE chess competitions and events will be held in Russia and Belarus."

The FIDE Council has been in touch with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and thereupon decided to put a ban on Belarus and Russia in different ways. They issued the following statement regarding the ban:

"Following the call from IOC, the FIDE Council decides that no Russian and Belarusian national flag be displayed or anthem be played in all FIDE-rated international chess events. Instead—the national chess federation’s flag or the official symbol/logo shall be used. A simplified procedure for performing under the FIDE flag would be followed where it is crucial for the players or any other chess officials under the current geopolitical situation."

With the "simplified procedure" it should be easier for players to be able to play under the FIDE flag, a well-known, neutral way of participating in events for chess players.

The FIDE Council has also made a decision about sponsorship:

"In order to safeguard FIDE from reputational, financial, and any other possible risks, FIDE terminates all existing sponsorship agreements with any Belarusian and Russian sanctioned and/or state-controlled companies and will not enter into new sponsorship agreements with any such companies."

This would suggest the discontinuation of working together with companies such as the gas supplier Gazprom, the fertilizer giant PhosAgro, and the mining firm Nornickel.

In our earlier report, we noted that many Russian grandmasters have expressed that they are against the war but that three have supported the Russian government: GM Anatoly Karpov as a Member of Parliament, the chess commentator GM Sergey Shipov, and the world championship contender from 2016, GM Sergey Karjakin.

Especially the latter has received strong criticism on Twitter, which provoked Karjakin to share many more pro-Russia and pro-Putin messages. He even tweeted an open letter directed at Vladimir Putin himself, expressing stronger support than any Russian sportsperson has done in the past few days.

The 32-year-old Russian grandmaster, who is currently in Dubai with his wife and two sons, also criticized chess platform Chess24 and then "severed ties" with the site, saying "Chess24 doesn't exist for me anymore."

All this was addressed by the FIDE Council as well, which mentions the names of both Karjakin and Shipov, but not Karpov:

"[The] FIDE Council condemns any public statement from any member of the chess community which supports unjustified military action and brings the case of chess grandmasters Sergey Karjakin and Sergey Shipov to the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission."

Meanwhile, the All Indian Chess Federation has announced that it will place a bid to host this year's Olympiad, following FIDE's decision to not hold it in Russia. In today's statement, FIDE has reaffirmed the FIDE Congress dates and "suggests 10 days for other bids."

The international chess community is trying to do its part in providing support for Ukraine. The US Chess Federation on Friday published a fundraiser and said that the Kasparov Chess Foundation had already donated $10,000. On Sunday, the first few fundraiser streams were held on GM Baadur Jobava's channel and on that of ChessDojo, a hub for chess improvers run by IM Kostya Kavutskiy, IM David Pruess, and GM Jesse Kraai.

Another big fundraiser is probably going to be held on March 1 on GM Hikaru Nakamura's channel supported by, where several streamers will be involved as well. Stay tuned for that.

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