Chess grandmaster banned over 'disgusting' Ukraine comments

Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin has been banned from competition for six months over his oustpoken support for the invasion of Ukraine. (EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin has been banned from competition for six months over his oustpoken support for the invasion of Ukraine. (EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The chess world has banned one of it's most prominent stars, Russian player Sergey Karjakin, for six months over the 32-year-old's outspoken defence of the invasion of Ukraine.

Karjakin has posted a steady stream of statements to Twitter in support of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, drawing the ire of his chess contemporaries ahead of the upcoming Candidates Tournament in June.

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However the Russian player has thus far been completely unapologetic, posting a statement to Twitter in which he vowed he was on the side of Russia and Putin 'no matter what'.

Once a challenger of grandmaster Magnus Carlssen in 2016, Karjakin's statements were quickly rebuked by the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

In a prolonged series of posts, Karjakin repeatedly accused Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky of committing war crimes, as well as sharing posts from Chinese government officials accusing the US of being the 'real threat' to world peace.

The FIDE issued a statement condemning Karjakin's comments.

“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,” the statement read.

“Sergey Karjakin is found guilty of breach of article 2.2.10 of the 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."

Russian chess grandmaster banned over anti-Ukraine remarks

Born in Crimea, Karjakin was actually a representative of Ukraine in the chess world until 2009.

He has long been a vocal supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and reiterated his support for the Russian government in the wake of his ban from world chess.

"Many people ask if I regret my public support of the special operation? After all, I have already lost invitations to Western tournaments and may lose an invitation to the candidates tournament," he wrote.

"My answer is simple. I am on the side of Russia and my President. No matter what happens, I will support my country in any situation without thinking for a second!"

Sergey Karjakin, Russian chess grandmaster, is doggedly standing by a series of pro-Russia tweets which have seen him banned from competition. (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
Sergey Karjakin, Russian chess grandmaster, is doggedly standing by a series of pro-Russia tweets which have seen him banned from competition. (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Karjakin wasn't the only Russian chess player whose stance on the invasion was umpopular among the wider community.

The FIDE also investigated comments made by fellow grandmaster Sergei Shipov, however he was not sanctioned after it was deemed his pro-Russia comments were 'slightly different and less provocative character than the ones made by Karjakin'.

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