Russian Chess Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin banned from FIDE competitions

Youngest ever Chess Champion faces six month ban for pro Russia comments

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FILE PHOTO: Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed Russia and Ukraine's flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed Russia and Ukraine's flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The youngest-ever grandmaster, Russian Sergey Karjakin, has been banned from participating in international competitions for six months due to his support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 32-year-old Karjakin, who won the 2016 World Blitz Chess Championship, defended Russia’s actions on his social media accounts.

“Sergey Karjakin is found guilty of breach of article 2.2.10 of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Code of Ethics, and is sanctioned to a worldwide ban of six months from participating as a player in any FIDE-rated chess competition, taking effect from the date of this decision, 21 March 2022,” the governing body said in a statement.

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

Karjakin was born in Simferopol on the Crimean Peninsula, but considers himself Russian. He became grandmaster at just 12 years and seven months old. He criticized the decision of FIDE, noting it was a “shameful decision” and that sport should not be used as a political weapon.

Chess - 2018 World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships - Rapid Open - Saint Petersburg, Russia - December 26, 2018. Sergey Karjakin of Russia looks at a board during a game against Anton Demchenko of Russia. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
Chess - 2018 World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships - Rapid Open - Saint Petersburg, Russia - December 26, 2018. Sergey Karjakin of Russia looks at a board during a game against Anton Demchenko of Russia. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Due to his suspension, Karjakin’s participation in the upcoming Candidates Tournament, which begins on June 16, was in doubt. He may petition for an appeal.

“I made the hardest selection through the World Cup in the Candidates Tournament. Winning that would have put me in a match for the world championship. Alas, FIDE embarrassed themselves, not me,” Karjakin added on Telegram.

“And 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.”

Russian grandmaster Sergei Shipov was not sanctioned by the organization for his pro-Russia statements. The governing body noted his statements were less provocative than those made by Karjakin.

The FIDE organization has also banned Russian and Belarus players from participating in tournaments under their national flags.