Russian Chess Champion Suspended After Publicly Supporting Invasion Of Ukraine

Russian Chess Champion Suspended After Publicly Supporting Invasion Of Ukraine
Photo: KARIM JAAFAR, Getty Images

Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, one of the world’s top players, has been suspended for six months by the International Chess Federation after publicly voicing support for his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Karjakin, who was at one point the youngest ever player to attain the title of grandmaster (at just age 12), had previously represented Ukraine in international competition before switching his allegiance to Russia in 2009. He has been vocal in his support of Russia’s invasion on social media since hostilities began, which has led to confrontations with fans and his fellow chess players.

Screenshot: TwitterScreenshot: Twitter

He has also been circulating Russian propaganda:

Screenshot: TwitterScreenshot: Twitter

In light of this, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) recently opened disciplinary action against Karjakin and another Russian player who has been publicly pro-invasion, Sergei Shipov. While clearing Shipov because he “is considerably less known and has, therefore, a less powerful platform”, Karjakin has been found to have breached FIDE’s code of ethics.

The ruling was published on the Federation’s site:

“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”, reads point 7.37 of the 10-page document where the EDC explains the reasons and legal background for its decision.

It continues: “A necessary condition for the establishment of guilt is that the statements have reached the public domain. This concept, with respect to disrepute clauses in sport, is not the world at large but the sport in which the accused engages, such as chess. Information concerning the accused’s conduct which is not published in the media, but which can be learnt without a great deal of labour by persons engaged in the chess world or a relevant part of it, will be in the public domain and satisfy the public exposure element. The EDC Chamber is comfortably satisfied that this condition is fulfilled in this case.”

“The EDC Chamber finds, against the background given above, on the standard of comfortable satisfaction that the statements of Sergey Karjakin, which, by his own choice and presentation, can be connected to the game of chess, damage the reputation of the game of chess and/or FIDE. The likelihood that these statements will damage the reputation of Sergey Karjakin personally is also considerable”, it concludes.

Responding to the suspension, Karjakin wrote on his Telegram page (as translated by The Guardian):

An expected, but no less shameful decision by FIDE. All sports selections have been trampled, the basic principle that sport is out of politics has been trampled. 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.

A gentle reminder that from labour to gender to sportswashing, sports are entirely about politics.


  • As much as I would love to agree that sports needs to be above/seperated from politics at times you dont get to complain about being suspended for political motives when you flat out drag politics into this by making very political statements. Nice try mate.. you dug your own hole.

  • Bruh this dude is an idiot. Decries the death of children while ignoring the shelling Putin is doing on civilian buildings in Ukraine.

    Dude must love deepthroating that communist boot.

    • Sadly it happens everywhere, we condemn others but turn a blind eye when it’s close to home.
      He’s parroting the narrative because that’s how we react when we’re faced with choosing between an uncomfortable truth or an easy justification and a LOT of Russians are buying in to the line right now.
      There parents/people with kids/family in Ukraine who simply refuse to believe their in any danger because they believe it’s a genuine war or terror.

      Here in the west there’s a real effort to suppress those who stand with the Ukraine but point out the hypocrisy and uncomfortable parallels to the Russian invasion, not as a way to justify what’s happening but highlight why Russia is able to peddle this bullshit in the first place.

    • 1. That is human nature. We all do it to a degree. We are nothing but the sum of our contradictions. You cant tell me you had never had a contradictory reaction to similar and connected things. See one conflict and get moved by it while others less so. Because the world is complex not black and white. Especially for people in the midst of a war, cognitive dissidence is largely expected, compounded by social media and propaganda. For better or worse.
      2. Not everyone is immediately capable of the level of bravery that comes with speaking out against such regimes, so be vulgar towards him from the safety of a place that has never known war or that type of social if it gets you off, but it only says something about a disconnect in your empathy.

      • I do not and will never empathize will people who openly support the Russians in this conflict and parrott obvious propaganda.

        But you are right, he is a gutless coward.

        • I would like to see how brave you would be in the same circumstances, I am guessing you can only talk big from the safety of a keyboard, safe in a risk free country. Furthermore, what proof do you have he makes decisions based on FULL informed knowledge? Once again dont pretend to understand the social confines of a country or situation you havent existed in.

  • I absolutely assumed this was going to be a case of a celebrity living in a country where they might end up missing if they don’t appear to support the government in question…

    But christ, is this guy head of Russian government PR or what?

    Also, the sheer delusion of some people in general is amazing how they think they should be allowed to publicly support shit like this and still have others willingly accept them anywhere near their events. Especially when they could have just shut their damn mouths in the first place.

    • Yeah just like those whackos who supported the US invasion of Iraq and mass murder of civilians under the guise of a known lie.

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