AICF seeks to punish Humpy

7/6/2015 – Recently the third-best female player in history, GM Koneru Humpy, forfeited a game and withdrew from a tournament – and explained it to us in a critical interview. Now the Indian Chess Federation is calling on FIDE to sanction Humpy. This could be in the form of a warning or reprimand, a fine up to $25,000, revocations of her GM title and a ban from chess for up to 15 years.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!

Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!


Clarification not sought

According to the complaint, “Only her ignorance of laws led to the incident. If she had any doubt, Humpy was within her rights to ask for clarification from the arbiters. She, however, chose not to seek any clarification.” The letter indicates Humpy breached Rule 2.2.4 which refers to, “Failure to comply with normally accepted standards of courtesy and chess etiquettes” by declining to (immediately) sign the score-sheet after her game.

Further, Humpy violated Rules 2.2.6 (withdrawing without valid reason and without informing the tournament arbiter), 2.2.9 (unjustifiable accusations against an official) and 2.2.10 (that deals with occurrences which cause the game of chess, FIDE or its federations to appear in an unjustifiable unfavourable light and in this way damage its reputation).

Note: the paragraphs above refer to the FIDE Code of Ethics which, according to the Indian journalist who
pointed out this article to us, "contains no regulations to protect a player when officials harass him/her."

“Before the first round Mr. Srivatsan made formal announcements on the number of rounds, time control and the grace time. It is an irrefutable fact that he mentioned only “grace time” but in her letter addressed to the Appeals Committee, Humpy mentioned it as ‘additional time’ which was a clear case of not hearing an announcement properly or not understanding,” points out the letter.

The letter highlights an apparent discrepancy in Humpy’s account saying, “It will be very interesting to note that Humpy, in her letter to the Appeals Committee, mentions another player Tania Sachdev [photo above] who lost in the first round itself on time. So it is very clear that she cannot say that she was not aware of the rule.”

GM Koneru Humpy (Elo 2589) was leading the Commonwealth Championship with 3.0/3
when she defaulted on time and withdrew from the tournament

Making a strong case for action against Humpy, the letter points to the violation of Rule 2.2.11 (any conduct likely to injure or discredit the reputation of FIDE, the events, organisers, etc). “She had deliberately and wilfully damaged the reputation of the organisers and also that of the AICF by giving an interview to the with reckless allegations, which cannot be taken lightly.”

Here's what Emil Sutovsky, President of the Association of Chess Professionals, wrote on his Facebook page:

[The] Indian Chess Federation (AICF) attacks its best female player, ACP Premium Member Humpy Koneru with the appeal to FIDE Ethics Commission and very harsh rhetoric. The ACP is concerned about the situation and will monitor it closely, asking FIDE to investigate this case thoroughly, checking the possible misconduct by the organizers and arbiter(s), which served as a trigger for the whole case. Please, find below Humpy's statement we have received in this regard:

"It`s painful to read such adverse and annoying statements by my own federation published in "The Hindu". But what I have done is for justice and for respect towards chess players in India. I believe change cannot be achieved without difficult situations, struggle or the pain. I wish that in future no player should suffer facing such circumstances."

Previous reports

2015 Commonwealth: Gupta leads; Humpy protests
6/27/2015 – World Champions are always closely watched by the chess world, which follows their example at the board. The current World Champion Magnus Carlsen is no different, in that he has started a trend of… players losing on time! The 2015 Commonwealth Chess Championship witnessed top Indian woman players, GM Humpy and IM Sachdev, losing on time for not knowing the time control.

2015 Commonwealth: interview with Humpy by Sabrina Chevannes
6/29/2015 – "Nobody believes Humpy" was a typical headline in national newspapers, after top female GM Koneru Humpy, who was leading with 3.0/3, withdrew from the event. Like her colleague Tania Sachdev, Humpy had forfeited a winning game after misunderstanding the time control rules. Sabrina Chevannes, who is on the appeals comittee, interviewed Humpy to find out exactly what happened.

Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

Ramvakh Ramvakh 7/11/2015 12:05
sorry sir very sorry but why our good friend Anand is silent on this now he should speak out and come out in support of Humpy
Bull fighter Bull fighter 7/10/2015 11:55
All the Indian players must show their unity by strongly protest against AICF. Most of the chess players in India have had to done everything by their own so why they obey AICF's brutal behavior?
royc royc 7/9/2015 04:14
Does a player (and in any tournament anywhere in the world) have no right to withdraw from a tournament? Wheeh, this is weirdo to me!
sivakumar R sivakumar R 7/8/2015 06:08
@ Aighearach

A lot would depend on the factuality and "tone" of the report going from AICF to FIDE

Considering the general ethos of the sports governing bodies in India , I seriously doubt the neutrality of both these elements.

I wish I am wrong!
bronkenstein bronkenstein 7/8/2015 03:36
To anyone claiming that magnus took 100% responsibility for his (and quite clearly only his) mistake: while speaking in the TV2 studio, he "felt that the organizers could have made it more clear" having time control in mind. This not only contradicts "100% responsibility" fairytale, but becomes even more ridiculous if you know what actually happened - read below.

Time control was mentioned in the players’ contract (which neither he nor his seconds bothered to read) and just to be sure, the chief arbiter announced it to the players at the start of the first round (Magnus was simply late for the beginning of the first game). Also he could - as some players did - doublecheck the time controlls during the round by asking an arbiter (he didn`t) and especially do it after 60th (which he also didn`t bother to do).

Even hinting at anyone else`s responsibility after all that is not only much less than "100% responsibility" but also a sign of bad manners.
Aighearach Aighearach 7/8/2015 02:37
I just wanted to add, if it was up to me players would be allowed to tarnish the organizers. As an American, it seems obvious to me that freedom of speech benefits the players more than helping bad organizers "save face." But as an amateur chess competitor, I expect existing rules to be enforced, not just rules I like.

If I was writing the rules, she'd have only violated rules by making a threat about the outcome of an appeal, which is totally unacceptable, and appealing a result where there was no valid grounds for an appeal. I'd support a 1 year tournament ban against any player that makes an appeal and includes threats to coerce the committee by threatening actions if they don't get the ruling they want. An appeal should only include what happened, what was ruled, and what the FIDE rule they claim the arbiter got wrong.
Aighearach Aighearach 7/8/2015 02:29
@sivakumar R

You were successfully confused by the sensationalist reporting by The Hindu. They simply made a complaint to FIDE about her unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalties listed are not being asked for, and are not part of the complaint. Those are the maximum penalties for the regulations violated. Nobody is claiming she has committed the worst unsportsmanlike conduct in the history of FIDE, so nobody thinks she would get those penalties... except sloppy readers of the sloppy reporting by The Hindu.

Her fans don't seem to read any more carefully than she does.

@faceofbear : Indeed, in her interviews where she defends her behavior, she does try to walk back that point. However, there is nothing other than the decision that she lost on time that is even possible to appeal. The actual decision made by the arbiters is all you can appeal. You can't appeal for a non-chess thing, like an apology. Her original appeal made it clear the subject of her appeal was her loss. You're saying she appealed asking for nothing, and threatening to withdraw from the tournament unless they reversed... what? What else would she be demanding they reverse? It is a really weak defense for the behavior, because if she knew she was threatening to withdraw unless she won a fake appeal, that is even worse sportsmanship than making an unfair request to change the result.

Your belief that sportsmanship is a side issue explains why you don't understand what is going on. Sportsmanship is 100% of the issue. Your supposed "right" to whine loudly in a way that makes the organizers look bad doesn't exist in the FIDE rules. Even if you advocate for such a change, chess is a game of concrete rules, and the current rules are the current rules for everybody, even for people advocating that they be changed. Such is the nature of sportsmanship. And it isn't (can't be) retaliation to request the penalty be imposed for the exact thing they're mad about, which is her public statements tarnishing them. Retaliation would be if they made a complaint about a different point or rule than the one they're actually upset about. All they are doing is asking the existing rules covering the incident to be enforced. That is called Justice, not retaliation; even if you don't like the rule!
Abhy Venkat Abhy Venkat 7/8/2015 01:13
The AICF is trying to hurt their best female player? I cannot understand what kind of organization would do that.
FoxForceFive FoxForceFive 7/7/2015 09:57
It just goes to show what a backwards country India is. In America we have freedom of speech. She has every right to complain without retaliation from people in positions of power. I always wondered why Anand never played in Indian chess events and now I have the answer. Leave India and come to the USA. We need winners like you Humpy.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/7/2015 06:28
"I would have thought this to be a April fool's joke had it appeared on the correct date"

Except this is in no way funny...

"Yet again we make the mistake of assuming that one side is completely right and the other side is completely wrong."

Who said that? The organizers ARE completely wrong. Nobody said Humpy is completely right, though... She was right to withdraw, in my opinion (when organization is so poor that it's a chore just to keep playing, I think anybody should have the right to withdraw), and to ask for an apology, which is what I said, but she wasn't right to not investigate more thoroughly about the time controls, and paid for it with the point (and more, sadly). I never said she was blameless in that respect - and I don't remember anybody else saying that either. Also, she didn't blast the organizers for HER transgression (losing the game), she blasted them for THEIRS (making a very confusing announcement and behaving like ******** afterwards).

"Any person making and serving such accusations (against Humpy) should be kept away from any organizing activity, ever."

sivakumar R sivakumar R 7/7/2015 05:52
Even if one assumes that AICF is factually correct , this is too harsh a punishment.

India and AICF should never forget the glorious moments brought by Humpy in the past (and quite possibly in the future too)

I wish FIDE is sensible enough to realize it and brings relief to Humpy.

gypsy210 gypsy210 7/7/2015 03:19
See who is making a complaint to FIDE ethics commission !! The federation without any ethics !! AICF has destroyed career of hundreds of chess players in last 5 years by removing their rating and denying them participation in tournaments. They are champions in harrassing players ,filing false affidavits in different courts of the country and are instrumental in delay of case related to Rohan Shandilya taken up by FIDE ethics commission in 2013. Let's see if this case is decided first or the case of Rohan which has been lingering in Ethics commission for last 2 years.
hariharansivaji9 hariharansivaji9 7/7/2015 02:16
It's better for her not to play in tournaments in India, unless she got invited and she should charge appearance fees.
Jonmeista Jonmeista 7/7/2015 02:13
Humpy is *not* threatened with penalties such as forfeiting her GM title or a 15-year ban. That's just ridiculous sensationalism on the part of the journalist, whose purpose is to rile up those who can't think for themselves, such as many commenters on this thread. C'mon, people. It's a common "sky-is-falling" technique to take the worst possible penalty and tout it as a possibility, or even reality. What's the other end of the spectrum? "A warning/reprimand". Wow!! A warning/reprimand. Tough language, huh? Actually Humpy deserves a warning/reprimand for her unsportswomanlike behavior, i.e. withdrawing from the tournament due to her own lack of understanding of the time control.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 7/7/2015 01:52
AICF bigwigs have persecuted Humpy before. They see this as a welcome opportunity to conduct a witch hunt.Until players unite and show “zero tolerance” to such actions talents like Humpy would continue to suffer. I support her cause.
Ishan Deshpande Ishan Deshpande 7/7/2015 12:27
She is really innocent but the action by AICF is really worse. If anything happens to Humpy, the players aregoing to lose faith on the FED.
faceofbear faceofbear 7/7/2015 12:08
Aighearach: You claim that Humpy requested the that the arbiters "restore her game after she lost". Do you have a reference to back up this claim? Granted, I've only read the interview with Humpy on this site, but there was absolutely no indication in said interview that she did this. There was only mention of her protesting what she and many other players felt was an unclear announcement of the time control, as well as complaints of poor organization in other areas.

In fact, she is quoted in the Chessbase interview as saying "The protest was only against the arbiter - I didn’t plead for my game point. The protest was not for the game point, only to make them understand that when they are hosting events like the Commonwealth Championship, they should maintain standards."

A few commenters on here say that Humpy acted disgracefully by complaining to the appeals committee. Whether or not her actions reflect proper sportsmanship (and it seems clear to me from the interview that they do) is a side issue. There is something much more important at stake, namely, the right of players to level reasonable criticism against organizing bodies without fear of retaliation. Humpy is now threatened with severe penalties, including loss of her GM title and a 15 year ban from play, simply for pointing out that other players were similarly confused about the time control, and suggesting that the arbiter's unclear announcement might be partly to blame. This sets a troubling precedent - there is nothing about criticizing the organization of a tournament that warrants such extreme punishment.

Pionki Pionki 7/7/2015 11:21
I am suprised that in an important tournament players rely on the announcement of the time control made at the very last moment, just before the games start. Surely it must have been announced earlier, e.g. in the invitation letters, in agreements, in general announcements.
NimzoCapa NimzoCapa 7/7/2015 08:43
Both sides have acted without class on this. But federation officials have the responsibility to be above that.
amarpan amarpan 7/7/2015 08:31
Hankins is missing a few points. (1) Carlsen arrived late and never heard the announcement. (2) Nevertheless the organizers apologized for what happened in Norway. (3) In Norway, this incident happened to only one player in the tournament. None of these apply to to the incident in Delhi. AICF has only asked FIDE to "take necessary action as deemed fit", that's all. Its unlikely much will happen given that all evidence points in Humpy's favour.
Example123 Example123 7/7/2015 08:19
Hankins seems to be one of the few putting forwwrd a sensible argument here! If something like this happened on the tennis court or football pitch, there would have been a red card or fine. Now that people want to make a case for chess being a sport, why should chess players be treated differently?
James L Hankins James L Hankins 7/7/2015 07:50
Compare the way the World Champion handled this situation with the way that Ms. Humpy did. The World Champion, in the setting of a much more important and prestigious chess event than that attended by Ms. Humpy, set an example to others by acknowledging that the mistake was his fault, and his alone, he took responsibility for it, did not try to blame others for his carelessness and inattention to the basic rules of the tournament regarding time controls, and he played out the tournament after it happened without complaint. This is an example of how a person of character acts in such a situation. Ms. Humpy and her supporters should take note of it. I agree that FIDE should simply institute a standard time control for classical chess events. It just makes sense. But, until it does, it reflects very poorly on those players who lose in this way when they seem oblivious to any responsibility of their own to know and follow the basic rules of the game.
James L Hankins James L Hankins 7/7/2015 06:32
I am pleased to see that the World Champion is leading by example on matters such as this. Compare his behavior with that of Ms. Humpy, when the same thing happened to him in a much more prestigious chess event. He took full responsibility, made no excuses, did not complain about it, realized that it was *his* mistake for not knowing the most basic rules of the tournament, and he simply played on and finished the tournament. That is an example of acting with character, and comes from having personal integrity, a sense of personal responsibility, taking responsibility for one's own actions, and living with the consequences of failing in this regard. Ms. Humpy, in contrast, seems to blame everyone but herself, in the most petulant manner.

I agree that FIDE should have a standard time control at major tournaments. None of that should be a surprise. But, when players of the caliber of the World Champion and Ms. Humpy lose games in this manner, it is simply carelessness on their part. No one else is to blame, and Ms. Humpy should receive some sort of punishment for her conduct, in my opinion.
Aighearach Aighearach 7/7/2015 05:23
She has lots of fans here to support her, but in chess that doesn't matter.

Her opponent would be wronged by denying them the (very real!) win. She was demanding that the arbiters cheat to help her and restore her gave even after she lost. That is a disgusting attack on the other player.

If you are her fan, please think carefully is supporting this position actually helps her, or magnifies the harm to her. She has disgraced herself, and is continuing to by defending the position. Having mobs to shout her case might not help that.
digupagal digupagal 7/7/2015 04:57
if i have to play OTB chess in India, i will ignore all these things. It is better not to expect anything from anyone. If you have no expectations, you are not disappointed. In India, systems are so corrupt, it is better to ignore everyone around you.

If Humpy now overreacts to above complaints, she would be unnecessarily giving importance to some irrelevant people. She should ofcourse fight it out with FIDE. But Humpy pl. don't respond to these local people, they have no talent and no business being administrators.
Dhiraj Pallin Dhiraj Pallin 7/7/2015 04:20
Ok upon reading this article again, I realize that this is largely sensationalism on the part of the chess journalist from the Hindu Times. All AICF did is refer the case to FIDE. That's it!
amarpan amarpan 7/7/2015 04:19
Its a little premature for others such as Anand to jump in, this might happen, openly or
behind the scenes. Furthermore, there are sportsmen such as Sachin Tendukar whose
support could prove to be very beneficial, and this might happen too. We have to wait
and see.
Dhiraj Pallin Dhiraj Pallin 7/7/2015 04:09
Revocation of GM title?? Ban for 15 years??? Come on, why can't we all treat each other like human beings. I don't believe the reputation of the organizer was particularly damaged. I don't even remember his name! Some people seem addicted to drama instead of resolving a dispute in an emotionally mature fashion.
Rob King Rob King 7/7/2015 03:00
In situations such as this, where is the leadership of players like Anand ,Harikrishna, or Ganguly? They probably have more clout than the ACP in this matter, so why wouldn't they speak up in defense of a fellow chess player?
Bill Alg Bill Alg 7/7/2015 02:09
What does Anand think about all this?
faceofbear faceofbear 7/7/2015 02:07
Given the atrocious status of women in Indian society, this news is as unsurprising as it is unfortunate. I can't imagine that the reaction from AICF would be nearly as severe if one of India's top male GMs complained about poor organization or unclear rules. Apparently any respect for one of the country's top sportswomen will fly out the window as soon as she expresses an opinion.

Also, as at least one user has already pointed out, Humpy was unaware of Sachdev's forfeit until after Humpy ran out of time herself. The allegation from AICF that Humpy knew about the time control at the time of her forfeit is therefore baseless.

Humpy's quote at the end of the article shows strength, levelheadedness and maturity. Her ability to remain cool while not backing down from what she believes is truly commendable.
Javier Gil Javier Gil 7/7/2015 01:50
How dare the president of the Indian Chess Federation make such an outrageous request?? Where is his sense of fairness, equity and proportionality? Why are you insulting all the chess followers that Humpy has both at home and overseas? Aren't you supposed to be promoting and helping Indian Chess and Indian Chess players?
You should be ashamed of yourself!! ASHAMED!
Yes, Koneru made a mistake, but if you´ve been a chess player, you should know how hard it can be losing a game in those circumstances and her decision was perfectly understandable, although the way she did it was admitedly not the wisest one.
But asking FIDE to take away her title and ban her for several years is absurd and if anything, it portrays a pretty clear picture of who is in charge of Indian Chess, and let me tell you, it's not a nice picture.
You're the one who should be banned. BANNED FOR LIFE!

I.M. Javier Gil.
fons fons 7/7/2015 01:15
This just proves what a bunch of misogynistic people they are (amongst other things).
May Ha May Ha 7/7/2015 01:11
Let us play chess correctly. All of us have to behave peacefully. The arbiter has to be clear in his words. The action of AICF is small. It just revenges to cover up its mistake. Here it is in the counter-attack mode. AICF sacrifices its queen. Humpy is a GM, no matter what. My 2 cents.
bronkenstein bronkenstein 7/7/2015 12:32
It is quite amusing to compare what happens in Norway and India after such situation. Both are extreme and funny in it`s own way :)
The_Tenant The_Tenant 7/7/2015 12:02
I think butthurt is probably a more appropriate term.

Can somebody please give the arbiter in question a box of tissues. And maybe even change his diaper while you're at it. Thanks.
solskytz solskytz 7/6/2015 11:47
Another reader starts his comment with the sentence - "So AICF is hurt because the actions of one of its arbiters was criticized?"

AICF is hurt - but the slang term "butthurt" definitely comes to mind as a far more fitting wording! :-)
solskytz solskytz 7/6/2015 11:42

Humpy mentioned that she heard that Sachdev lost on time AFTER losing on time herself. What a twist of fact.

And such cynical "get even" with petty mentions of FIDE regulations allegedly "broken" while a player is obviously upset by an arbiter's foul up.

Any person making and serving such accusations (against Humpy) should be kept away from any organizing activity, ever.

There's certainly nothing wrong with playing chess in India. That is - except where such people are allowed to breed hate and conflict, and are in any way involved in the organization.
MarkTrevorSmith MarkTrevorSmith 7/6/2015 08:26
The arbiters were careless, and now they are being ridiculous. I hereby appeal to Rex Sinquefield to reach into his bags of money once again and bribe Humpy to move to USA, become American citizen (optional) and play shoulder-to-shoulder with Nakamura, Caruana, and So !
iComeInPeace iComeInPeace 7/6/2015 08:23
cmon give her a break... AICF... she doesnt deserve to be hunted... girls has done us proud, and its ok losing her cool once in a while... forgive and forget