Kovalyov: The Canadian Case

10/8/2017 – The Chess Federation of Canada will present their case on behalf of Anton Kovalyov on Monday morning at the Ethics Commission hearing during the 88th FIDE Congress, in Antalya, Turkey. Before heading East, Canadian delegate to FIDE, Hal Bond, gave us a preview of some of the issues that are likely to come up in the meeting. | Pictured (clockwise from top left): Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Francois Strydom, Anton Kovalyov, Rajesh Hari Joshi, Willy Iclicki, Ion Dobronauteanu, Pedro Dominguez Brito | Photos: FIDE.com (except Kovalyov: Amruta Mokal)

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Anton Kovalyov: What comes next?

Yesterday, in "Kovalyov case moves to Ethics Commission", we set the stage for tomorrow's Ethics Commission hearing in Antalya, as part of the 88th FIDE Congress. Today we'll look at the position of the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC). What's their argument, how might it play out, and what do they hope to accomplish?

Going to bat for Kovalyov

The CFC got involved in this case immediately, first contacting the World Cup Appeals Committee, and then reaching Kovalyov while he was at the airport preparing to leave Tbilisi on September 9th. He was alone at that point, after his compatriot Bator Sambuev had been knocked out in the first round and left town.

Since then, they have been acting as an intermediary between Kovalyov and both the World Cup organisers and FIDE officials. They also initiated a formal complaint with the Ethics Commission (also known by the abbreviation EC and ETH).

Hal BondHal Bond, the CFC Delegate to FIDE, sent a letter on September 13th, declaring their intention to pursue a complaint on Kovalyov's behalf:

The issue is the behaviour of chief organiser Zurab Azmaiparashvili in taking it upon himself to insult and threaten our young Canadian player just minutes before his scheduled third round game, resulting in the latter's withdrawal.

The reply, from FIDE's Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, echoes Azmaiparashvili's perspective and frames the question as one of "respect", while strongly implying that his actions were justified while Kovalyov's behavior was not. Makropoulos:

You can also understand that under such psychological pressure to secure [funds for chess], especially for the Chess Olympiad next year, it is not strange that an organiser expects the players to have a proper appearance and show respect to sponsors and the public. This does not mean that organisers cannot be held accountable for their actions:

FIDE has regulations and procedures in all top events allowing players to appeal against any action or decision of any FIDE official.

This response was obviously regarded as unduly dismissive by the Canadians, who promptly circulated a more strongly worded "open letter" signed by CFC President Vladimir Drkulec in return, castigating Makropoulos for placing the focus on the alleged dress code violation:

I am certain I don’t need to point out that this has brought a great deal of unfavourable attention to chess and FIDE in the worldwide press coverage.  Please do not stoop to explanations which attempt to justify the unjustifiable.  We can accept the idea that there can be a dress code for chess competition.  Given everything that has gone on before and during this World Cup, we cannot accept that a young Grandmaster deserves to be distracted and insulted moments before a game that is part of the qualification for the World Chess Championship, merely because the organizer doesn't like his pants.

In an interview with ChessBase last week, Bond elaborated on the position of the Canadian Federation in defense of Kovalyov's decision to forfeit his third round games and withdraw from the tournament.

On the FIDE EC process:

Hal Bond (HB): They would like to conduct an oral hearing with various parties to understand the situation better, because the various written accounts — they feel they'd like some clarification directly. We have heard that much. Anton is reluctant to get a whole lot more involved in this. It remains a very upsetting incident for him, and I think rightly so. It's not clear that we'll be able to satisfy the requirements of the Ethics Commission in terms of the investigative phase.

Macauley Peterson (MP): In other words, him being able to give some kind of oral testimony...

HB: Right. They would like him to attend the Congress in Turkey. I can understand — I know that people on the Ethics Commission are good people and they want to do a thorough job. I don't know how practical it will be for us to meet that requirement.

At the Ethics Commission, a set of procedural rules apply. Among them is a provision regarding giving testimony remotely:

The EC may exceptionally authorize the hearing of witnesses and experts, even via tele- or videoconference.

We asked two members of the committee (the Chairman Francois Strydom, and Ion Dobronauteanu) whether there was any precedent for this in practice.

[Update October 9: An arbiter from the United Kingdom wrote in to note a 2006 precedent in the so-called "Moroccan Arbiters" case. One of the arbiters, Youssef Boukedir, gave evidence by telephone.]

[Update October 9: Mr. Strydom replied, "CFC has indicated that GM Kovalyov is not available to come to Antalya on the given date and the possibility of taking his evidence over Skype is currently considered, but there is no commitment from GM Kovalyov yet to participate in such a procedure.
At this stage it remains unclear whether the complaint will be judged admissible and if so, whether the proposed hearing will proceed."] 

HB: Anton remains pretty upset about it, and he doesn't want to participate in this because he doesn't trust the process. Here we have Zurab — the chair of the Appeals — sort of judge, jury and executioner, and he's rather skeptical of any tangible results coming from the appeal. So in that sense it's a slight impediment for us to try to achieve anything via the Ethics Commission.

MP: What is the connection between an appeal in the context of a tournament ruling by an arbiter involving the Appeals Committee from the event, and the Ethics Commission?

HB: They're two separate things. Typically an appeal has something to do with the laws of chess or some kind of chess incident. This could have been appealed however, because the Appeals Committee is there to hear grievences against any officials during the event. But I think Anton was aware that Zurab was the chair of the Appeals and he just didn't see any point in going down that road. He was humiliated and threatened right before the round. He was infuriated, and so he thought, "I've just got to remove myself from the situation".

MP: So once the tournament is over, then is there even still a role for the Appeals Committee in the event?

HB: No, the Appeals Committe has specific timelines. You only have so much time after a game to file an appeal.

MP: Very limited time, actually.

In fact the regulations stipulate: "All protests must be submitted in writing to the Appeals Committee not more than two hours after the relevant playing session, or the particular infringement complained against." In theory, Kovalyov could have appealed his treatment by Azmaiparashvili at the time, or appealed his third round forfeiture. Within the purview of the Appeals Committe are:

c) a complaint alleging false interpretation of the regulations,
d) a request for the interpretation of specific regulations,
e) a protest or complaint against any participant

Appeals Committee

The World Cup 2017 Appeals Committee: Azmaiparashvili, Jorge Vega, D.V. Sundar | Photos: tbilisi2017.fide.com

In addition to acting quickly, any protest Kovalyov could make would have needed to be accompanied by a deposit fee of USD $500 (or equivalent in local currency) which is at risk of forfeiture to FIDE if the protest is rejected.

This underscores the stark conflict of interest problem inherent to Azmaiparashvili's serving as the Appeals Committe Chairman, as he was also the principal organiser of the World Cup, as well as FIDE's Continental President for Europe. While it is apparently completely acceptable under FIDE's rules, it certainly seems dubius on its face when one considers the potential ramifications. In many other (non-FIDE) events, the Appeals Committee is comprised of disinterested volunteers, often elected at the technical meeting that precedes a tournament.

MP: The other thing that could be appealed, would be over his prize. From what I understood from Kovalyov's public Facebook post he doesn't seem to have a great deal of interest in pursuing his prize money. Has that changed?

HB: No. I think FIDE would release his earnings without a whole lot of fuss, but Anton doesn’t want it. He’s sticking to his principals and he doesn’t want anything to do with them. I can’t get his money for him — I mean I can, but he doesn’t want it — so I believe those earnings could be gotten.

MP: [The lack of witnesses] poses a problem because essentially what this boils down to is a characterisation of a conversation which is very much a question of perspective. You have to kind of get inside the heads of the people in a way which is very difficult to—

HB: Cleary [Gypsy] was an intent to insult. If it wasn’t a racist comment it was certainly an insulting one. So that’s problem enough. He was threatened with fines from FIDE for violations of the dress code, which he really didn’t understand — Zurab just started telling him you can be punished for this. Referring to him as a Gypsy — that’s like saying “you look like a slob” — I mean that’s the best possible light you can put on it.

FIDE has a Code of Ethics, and there are a couple of terms which could be applicable in this case:

2.2.3 Organizers, tournament directors, arbiters or other officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner.

2.2.4 Failure to comply with normally accepted standards of courtesy and chess etiquette. Misbehavior of a personal nature which is generally unacceptable by normal social standards.

On the other hand, we could see that Kovalyov himself may be in some jeopardy for violations of other provisions of the code, namely:

2.2.6 Players withdrawing from a tournament without valid reason or without informing the tournament arbiter.

2.2.8 In any top level tournament, players, delegations or teams must comply with a high standard dress code. 

In both cases, these provisions of the code are open to interpretation by EC members.

Aronian cat t-shirt

Contrasting styles: Suit and tie or "cat t-shirt" (Click or tap to expand) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Relavant to the first point, Bond stresses the emotional strain that Kovalyov was placed under:

HB: Obviously in a perfect world, Anton recovers from this ambush quickly, gains his composure, appeals the decision, sticks around, wins the next game or something and fights the good fight. But he was so insulted and so upset by the incident that, rather than do something regrettable like punch him in the nose or something, he just left. And OK, he's a young guy — you know it's tough — you put yourself in his shoes and what would one do? I can certainly understand his reaction. I mean he didn't throw the first punch. He was the one who was attacked. This article from this journalist [referring to the Qipshidze report -Ed.] there were so many people talking about the dress code. The dress code is not the argument, but if you want to go down the dress code route, he wasn’t the only guy dressed casually. There was abundant precedent for his mode of dressing being OK. He even asked specifically in Baku if what he was wearing was OK, because he was ready to change if necessary.

MP: Sure, although there they would have a different player agreement, and different arbiters. There are a number of variables.

HB: Fair enough, but there was no intent on his part to discredit or rebel with some kind of goofy clothing. As far as he knew he was keeping it between the lines — and he had every reason to believe that. It's also curious to me if anybody else was approached about the manner of dressing. He wasn't the only person in casual dress. Zurab was wearing capri pants one day, and he was always dressing casually, with jeans and an open golf shirt or something, so this dress code issue is completely specious.

Below: Nona Gaprindashvili (seated) chatting with Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Magnus Carlsen | Source: Chess-News YouTube

Nona Gaprindashvili, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Magnus Carlsen

HB: The bigger part is the organizer has no business being on the floor before the start of the tournament talking to players. This is the arbiters' territory now. The arbiter is looking after the room, so if the organiser has a problem he should go to the arbiter and say, "fix this". You don't take it upon yourself to impose on a player right before the game.

All it would have taken was for the chief [arbiter] to say, "Mr. Kovalyov can you please upgrade your mode of attire for tomorrow's game?" That was the appropriate phrase to say at the start of the third round. If he was going to say anything to Anton it should be like this. You know, "can you do this for the next game?" And then we're done.

MP: Instead of implying he should do it immediately.

HB: Yes.

MP: What would you say is a good outcome? What are you seeking as the endgame here?

HB: Procedurally, we would like to make sure that the chief organiser of an event is not on the Appeals Committee. But specifically that Zurab take a time out from being in the tournament halls, because this was really the infraction. He stepped into the playing hall and took matters into his own hands and that was inappropriate. So we would like to see him removed from the playing halls for a period.

MP: Is that something which is within the purview of the Ethics Commission to do?

HB: I believe so, yes. The Ethics Commission is quasi-legal stuff and I'm not an attorney whatsoever, but I believe that could be a result that they could impose. Anton would like to see Zurab banned for life from organising tournaments, but I don't know that that's going to happen. He said if I could achieve that, then he would be willing to continue playing, but short of that he can't forgive the incident...that's another tall order because Zurab is also the kingpin with the Olympiad, so getting him to sit in the penalty box during the next Olympiad would be quite a trick.

Nevertheless, Bond expects to have a fair hearing on Monday:

"I have great respect for these guys. They’re not looking for an easy out. They really do try to remain independent of the rest of the FIDE Executive and Delegates — the whole community. I really think they try to perform at a legal professional standard."

One issue to watch for is weather Ion Dobronauteanu will recuse himself as he did in 2015 in another case involving Azmaiparashvili, on account of Dobronauteanu's position as Deputy President of the ECU. Responding to our emailed question he declined to comment, deferring to the chairman Mr. Strydom to release any information to the public.

Hearings of the Ethics Commission are generally open to the public, unless the EC decides otherwise. In an unusual move, the EC has indicated to the Canadians that they wish to resolve this case during the FIDE Congress, rather than having a more typical months-long deliberation. Watch this space!

Correction October 9, 13:50: Francois Strydom, the EC chair, did reply via email to our inquiry prior to this story being published, and the relevant portion has been quoted above. 

Update: October 9, 09:55 (CEST): From the start of the meeting, we've learned from someone in attendance:

1. Kovalyov isn't interested in pursuing it and wants no part of a complaint.
2. Azmaiparashvili has offered to apologize, and gave reasons for his losing his temper
3. A large majority agree that Kovalyov should have been better dressed and saw no excuse for his not bringing trousers and more than a few t-shirts.

Update: October 9, 11:15 (CEST): The FIDE Ethics Commission drafted the following statement prior to its Monday meeting, which was read at the start of the meeting and subsequently published on the FIDE web site at approximately 11:00:

This statement is released on occasion of the meeting of the FIDE Ethics Commission (EC) in Antalya, Turkey on 9 October 2017. Its purpose is to make known the EC’s decision in case no. 2/2017 and the reasons for the decision in the light of the wide-spread interest in the matter.

On 9 September 2017 and shortly before the start of the third round of the FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia, an unfortunate altercation took place between the head of the organisers GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili (“the organiser”) and one of the players GM Anton Kovalyov of Canada (“the player”). This resulted in the decision by the player to withdraw from the tournament.

On 27 September 2017 the EC received a formal complaint against the organiser of alleged breaches of the FIDE Code of Ethics from the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC). The CFC asserted that it was acting “in and for itself and on behalf of GM Anton Kovalyov”. The complaint was not supported by any statement by the player.

The EC chairman requested from CFC a power of attorney or letter of authorisation under the signature of the player enabling the CFC to represent his interests. The CFC’s submissions were also sought on the issue of whether CFC in its own capacity enjoys standing to act as the complainant. 

In addition, the EC chairman announced to the parties in terms of Rule 8 of the EC’s Procedural Rules that an oral public hearing was necessary and that such public hearing would take place at the FIDE Congress in Antalya on 12 October 2017. 

Subsequently the CFC advised that the player is not willing to participate in the public hearing, whether by his personal appearance in Antalya or by way of video-conferencing. The player also failed to provide the CFC with written authority for the federation to represent him.

At the outset the EC wishes to make it clear that the decision of the player not to participate as a complainant in the proceedings before the EC is the player’s prerogative. No doubt GM Kovalyov has his reasons and his decision must be respected.

However, without authority from the player, it is not possible for his federation to proceed with the complaint on his behalf. Also, the standing of the CFC to act as the complainant in its own capacity, is dubious. It is required that a complainant must have a direct and personal interest which was adversely affected. CFC claims that the negative sentiment arising from this incident will prejudice its efforts in Canada to popularise the game and to find sponsors for future events. It is debatable whether this represents a sufficiently direct interest, but in the light of the further consideration mentioned hereafter, it is unnecessary for the EC to decide the issue of CFC’s locus standi and the issue is left open.

The major obstacle to this matter proceeding before the EC is the lack of a statement from the player as to what exactly transpired between him and the organiser and his unwillingness to give evidence in this regard at the hearing. One only has an idea of the player’s version from remarks made by him on facebook. This does not form part of the evidence before the EC. In any case, these remarks lack important details and do not constitute a reliable factual account on which the EC can be expected to make findings against the organiser. The EC cannot decide disciplinary matters on hearsay evidence or third party constructions as to what has happened. Although the EC is not a court of law and there is no requirement for sworn evidence, at the very least the EC must be satisfied that a truthful and factually accurate version has been placed before it. 

The result is regrettably that the complaint by the CFC, raising important issues of general concern for the better functioning of FIDE, cannot be admitted for want of a prima facie case due a lack of reliable evidence. This is not a decision on the merits of the complaint.

However, it is obvious that the incident between the organiser and player has revealed a number of grey areas in tournament administration and every-one agrees that there is a need for greater regulation on matters such as the dress code for players and officials at different types of events, clarity regarding the responsible persons to enforce such regulations and the appropriate handling of a situation where a player is held to be in violation of the regulations. All of these aspects will receive attention in the meetings of various FIDE Commissions currently taking place here in Antalya.


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floryncd floryncd 10/14/2017 10:47
@fgkdjlkag: That is the exception that confirms the rule, dear Sir!
Martas Martas 10/13/2017 08:41
@Augusta2022 - I guess Kovalyov fulfils your criteria for "taking responsibility" - for him the case is closed, doesn't want money which belong to him, he didn't involve himself in the discussion with ethics commission. Yes, Kasparov or Topalov would have handled the incident different way. Are you fine with that?
But the other thing is behaviour of organizer and how other players are accepting it. And the main problem with Z.A. is that this is not his first such incident. And in each case you can find his reasoning, which might be partially valid, but in general his behaviour in each of these incidents is far from acceptable by majority of players. So do you want to tolerate his behaviour and accept similar incidents in future?
raimbert raimbert 10/13/2017 04:55
@Augusta2022 & Petrarlsen. What I meant in my post is this: The Laws of Physics apply universally, they cannot be made to depend on someone's appreciation of a given situation.
And a lie is a lie no matter the mitigating circumstances (Immanuel Kant)
Now, we can argue for ever on the Kovalyov-Azmaiparashvili case. To what end? The case is closed, as rightly pointed out by Augusta2022. What I particularly appreciated in all of these posts is this: as humans, we still loathe injustice in whatever form. But for how long?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/13/2017 12:39
@ Augusta2022 :

This time, I am sorry to say that I find this quite funny ! You don't even state ONE single argument ; just a full heap of insults !! If I can permit myself to be a little caustic (but, in comparison with your own "rich" repertoire, it will nonetheless be rather "tame"...), considering the level of your last arguments (...or, rather, I must say, absence of arguments...), if I am in high school, most probably, you must yourself be in "low" school !!!

Cheers !
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/12/2017 10:59
Time to leave the world of university or perhaps high school in your case. You just write rubbish.
You are one sick individual getting on the same train as raimbert.
I won't have any further discussion with you or raimbert for that matter. The quote "Argue with an idiot and they will drag you down to their level" seems very appropriate discussing this with you (not so) fine gentlemen.

You may write whatever you wish, I won't read your poisenous post.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/12/2017 09:40
@ Augusta2022 :

"Nothing new under the sun" with your last post, so I haven't much to add (...just that perhaps you understand what "taking responsibility" means for Kovalyov, but, quite surprinsingly, you forget it absolutely immediately when it is Azmaiparashvili's turn... very strange indeed...). For the rest, I note that your manners don't seem to have really improved during the last hours ("To young is my guess" ; "Your 2+2 logic is just nonsense.")... quite a pity !

As for raimbert's comparison, obviously, the gravity degree is much less in the Kovalyov affair that for a rape (but he never intended to affirm such a thing either), but, for the rest, it is quite the opposite of what you are implying ("How dare you to make such a comparision?") : his comparison is particularly interesting, because the two hypothesis are nearly identical in their main elements, and this comparison is very useful to understand better why the Kovalyov affair is really completely unacceptable.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/12/2017 08:41
@Petrarlsen, clearly you don't understand the meaning of taking responsibility. To young is my guess. Your 2+2 logic is just nonsense.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/12/2017 08:39
@raimbert. How dare you to make such a comparision?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/12/2017 04:04
@ raimbert : Thinking of it, yes, your comparison is really completely to the point. It isn't the rapist's fault ; the girl wasn't dressed properly. And it isn't Azmaiparashvili's fault ; Kovalyov wasn't dressed properly.

The conclusion being that, if the girl or Kovalyov could be considered as being slightly at fault, the rapist or Azmaiparashvili could do absolutely ALL they wanted. (Without even debating here on the question to know whether "the girl" or Kovalyov were or not at fault in anything, but, obviously, even if they were, this doesn't justify a completely inappropriate conduct, either on the rapist's behalf, or on Azmaiparashvili's behalf, depending whether we are talking of one or the other case).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/12/2017 03:01
@ Augusta2022 :

As, in your last post, you only repeated some of you previous arguments, I haven't much to add ; only that, as I said before myself, the problem is that your reasoning isn't coherent. If you absolutely want to think that 2 + 2 = 5, it is your problem and not mine. But, personally, I prefer to consider that 2 + 2 = 4. A question of tastes, probably...

And, by the way, I don't think that your posts would lose much if you remained polite and normally respectful ("(...) you don't understand anything (...)" ; "(...) utterly moronic (...)" ; "Why are you still wasting your time on this?")...
raimbert raimbert 10/12/2017 01:12
@Augusta2022. It took 91 comments for me to understand that the poor girl was raped because she was not dressed "properly". We know the name of the game now. "Dress properly"
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/12/2017 12:55
@Petrarlsen Once again you don't understand anything. Case Closed.
You just like to argue for the seek of arguing. Doesn't lead to anything discussing with you.
AS I SAID: The player is responsible for conducting himself and dressing properly. Everything else is speculations but you seem to love to speculate about everything.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/12/2017 12:13
@ hserusk :

In fact, I think that we nearly agree !

Two small points, nonetheless :

- An Azmaiparashvili will, in my opinion, ALWAYS attack a Kovalyov or someone with a comparable "psychological outfit" and a comparable situation, so his "chosen victim" will NEVER resist. No chance he would attack a "warrior" like Topalov or a player heavily supported by a powerful national federation (...imagine, for example, if he, for one reason or another, had something against Karjakin, and attacked him : with the power of the Russian federation, I think that very probably, in the end, he would be quite simply fired for that...) ; he knows perfectly well that this would mean heaps and heaps of problems for him, and he would NEVER go into such a direction ! And, for us, I nonetheless think that, as much as possible, it is better to try to do what can be done against such things.

- I don't think that Azmaiparashvili must be so pleased with all that ; there has really be a lot of publicity on this problem. Yes, in the end, he won, but there has been some "unpleasantness" on the way ; this will be remembered by quite a lot of people, and the persons who act like Azmaiparashvili generally much prefer things to go quite smoothly, without anyone "getting in the way"... This will certainly not stop him for doing such things in the future, but, at least, I think it isn't impossible that he will do this less freqently if there is a whole heap of negative reactions than if all goes perfectly "according to schedule", without anyone saying anything ("mafia-style", so to say !...).
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/12/2017 11:43
@ Augusta2022 :The problem is that, in my opinion, your reasoning isn't coherent :

Either you consider that FIDE, Azmaiparashvili, etc. are corrupt, and that this is normal, and then, the problem isn't to know if Kovalyov has any responsibility in this affair ; even if Azmaiparashvili or others eliminated completely arbitrarily players from a competition for whatever reason, it wouldn't be a problem.

Either you consider that we are trying to establish who is responsible for the "Kovalyov-problem", and then, it necessary to take into account ALL elements, including those that point into the direction of a responsibility of the organizer.

Very typical is when you say : "Azmaiparashvili isn't a player" ; it clearly means, quite simply, in its context, that only the players' responsibility can be taken into account, for you ! Quite astonishing !

One more time, it is necessary to make a choice : either you simply consider it normal that "the strongest wins" (the strongest being most of the time FIDE and the organizers, and not the players...), or you try to ascertain responsibilities, and it is then necessary to take into account the player's side AND the organizer's side. De facto, even if it isn't your intention, your reasoning is incredibly lopsided in favor of the organizer...
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/12/2017 10:16
@Petrarlsen Once again you miss the point. Azmaiparashvili isn't a player. And yes he did also dress poorly.
In the end you should take responsibility of your own actions and Kovalyov surely felt what that is like.

Your standpoint is so flawed, because you reason like the world is fair- newsflash it isn't. Kovalyov decided himself to leave and he didn't dress properly. If Azmaiparashvili would or would'nt attack him even if he dressed properly is simply just speculations and not intresting.

Raise your standards, do you think Kasparov would've come to such an event in shorts???????? Sokolov in the first article was spot on. It's about common sense, you can't go to such a prestigious event and dress in shorts and Kovalyov isn't a junior anymore.
hserusk hserusk 10/12/2017 08:34
@Reynaud, Good on ya! But we might also consider onesies eh? Heard they're making a comeback.
hserusk hserusk 10/12/2017 08:08
@Petrarlsen, "So I think that the only positive thing that we can do is to speak of it, and show that we don't agree. It isn't much, but I don't think Azmaiparashvili must be very pleased of it, nonetheless.."

- I understand your sentiment here and the offence you take of that line. I really do:) But honestly mate, if I am Azmai, I would pour myself a vintage Georgian brandy and toast to the kid who walked away from an almost sure win against me. Not read comments and feel baaad -he ain't no Kovalyov remember? ;)
hserusk hserusk 10/12/2017 08:02
@fgkdjlkag, Can you read good sir? He was given a chance to give a statement via video conference -but refused to.
This was a promising case with plenty of public and the national federation's support and could've been won if he wasn't such a wuss.
And if that's how we are going to fight the corruption and cronyism in FIDE (and defend the ones who use such brilliant 'hide-under-the-doona' strategy), no wonder we're chasing our own tails!
Reynaud Reynaud 10/12/2017 04:50
Solution: distribute uniforms. One-size fits all bathrobes. Very classy.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 10/12/2017 12:59
@hserusk, you do not seem to be considering opportunity cost. What would Kovalyov gain by flying there (and the expense) to make a statement to the ethics committee? The result is already known in advance. He has already gained international press, and he would not attract any press or really accomplish anything by going. Do you think FIDE is going to be intimidated if he goes?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 11:14
@ hserusk : "Now let the whining continue." In my opinion, when you do irregular things, as Azmaiparashvili did, you certainly don't want everyone to speak of it, and to criticize you. He would have certainly much prefered all this to have been immediately hushed up. So I think that the only positive thing that we can do is to speak of it, and show that we don't agree. It isn't much, but I don't think Azmaiparashvili must be very pleased of it, nonetheless...
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 11:06
@ Augusta2022 : Perhaps you are only biased "anti-Kovalyov" and not "pro-Azmaiparashvili", but this doesn't change much... The fact is that you don't explain at all why Azmaiparashvili could wear the same sort of garments than Kovalyov, and still attack him for this. Or, if you admit that Azmaiparashvili didn't conduct all this correctly, you can't say as you did : "Kovalyov should take responsibility for this whole thing." If you say : "Kovalyov should take responsibility for this whole thing", it necessarily means that Azmaiparshvili did everything correctly.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/11/2017 10:16
@Petrarlsen I couldn't even care less what Azmaiparashvili does. He works at a corrupt organization and is probably corrupt himself. You can't change men like that.

Your insuations that I would be pro Azmai and against Kovalyov is utterly moronic.

YOU NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR ACTIONS. Kovalyov should take responsibility for this whole thing. Go back home and do it better next time.
hserusk hserusk 10/11/2017 06:30
Some can't read but can write apparently -strangely enough.

...@All, It's important to understand that this has nothing to do with the shorts, shoes or bootlaces. This is about intimidation tactics. And they work so well (and that's where having some strength of character and mental fortitude -or lack thereof comes in) that the person doesn't even dare give a statement to the ethics commission -even if his federation is fully supportive and ready to do much of the heavy lifting.

Now let the whining continue. Toodles.
Martas Martas 10/11/2017 04:17
@fgkdjlkag: Tennis story of Capablanca is unclear, oldest known version of this story is from 1936, game was supposed to be played in 1919.

But still, if action from Z.A. is considered as proper, then Aronian should have lost his tiebreak with Matlakov due to his cat-tshirt, which is far away from Capablanca / Botvinik style ..... actually his explanation was that he decided not to bring too many clothes because of being eliminated too soon in previous world cups .... sounds familiar? :-)
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 10/11/2017 03:18
The shorts were allowed by the official rules and Azmaiparashvili, not being an arbiter, had no business or right to confront a player in the playing hall. So Azmaiparashvili is at fault here. End of story. All this nonsense about Kovalyov should not have worn shorts ignores that it was allowed by the rules. If you don't think he should have worn shorts, that is your personal, subjective feeling, and nothing more.

All this stuff about players needing to be more of a man (or woman), is rather vague. What would be your recommended action in Kovalyov's situation? He said that he left so as to avoid punching Azmaiparashvili in the face. Would that have made him more of a man? Is that what Kasparov would have done?

@floryncd, someone replyed to your post in the other thread and cited an example of Capablanca going to a match in tennis shorts. So it seems that your example is not valid.
Lena_Minsk Lena_Minsk 10/11/2017 12:13
I have read once in a manuel for arbiters in amator chess competition that the most important issue arbiters should keep in mind in interfering with players is as follows: the players should have fun when playing.
I read here astonishing (to me) comments about Kovaliov shorts or Kovaliov ability to endure very unprofessionnal (to say the least) behavior from both the arbiter and then Z. A who clearly thinks he can say and do anything in the chess world (too bad for "gypsies").
How come one can forget Kovaliov has missed which might have been the best tournament of his life ? How come only a few people writing here seem to understand the interest of chess itself has been torn apart by the very ones supposed to promote our beautiful game.
The spirit with which the arbiter should have handled the "shortsgate" should have been above all to do whatever was necessary so that Kovaliov astonishing performance for a young player could go on. In doing so, these persons would have protected the tournament, Caissa reputation and, in the long-term, interest of chess. It looks to me they have done exactly the opposite.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 11:12
@ hserusk : Yes, me too, per se, I would like Kovalyov to be more assertive. But some persons are like that ; they will probably never change... And I think that it would be a pity that a (strong) player quit chess just because of that.

"It's important to understand that this has nothing to do with the shorts, shoes or bootlaces. This is about intimidation tactics. And they work so well that folks don't even dare give a statement to the ethics commission -even if their federation is fully suportive and ready to do much of the heavy lifting." Quite true ; I agree completely...
hserusk hserusk 10/11/2017 11:02
@Petrarlsen, Well of course I agree with you -except that one doesn't need to be a warrior to be more assertive and be aware of basic frame control.
The point is, we will just see more of these sordid episodes if people keep this up (both parties) and there will just be more whinging in these sections by others.
And I for one never cared much for whining and whinging. So, it is what it is and it will be so.

@All, It's important to understand that this has nothing to do with the shorts, shoes or bootlaces. This is about intimidation tactics. And they work so well that folks don't even dare give a statement to the ethics commission -even if their federation is fully suportive and ready to do much of the heavy lifting.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 10:48
@ floryncd : I must say that I don't like at all either shorts and other comparable garments for a high-level chess competition. And I would myself be completely favorable to forbid such cloths, for these competitions.

But my opinion is that, as such was not the case, it wasn't possible to choose such an extreme course as the course that was chosen by Azmaiparashvili. If it had simply been asked to Kovalyov not to come for the next game in shorts, it would have been perfectly satisfying for everyone.

As I said in a previous post :

IF Kovalyov hadn't already played the 2015 World Cup and (more importantly) the first rounds of the 2017 World Cup in shorts.

IF the dress code had clearly forbidden wearing shorts, for participants.

IF Azmaiparashvili had himself been correctly dressed (...to see him criticize Kovalyov's attire is nothing more than a farce, in view of what he wore himself...).

THEN it would have been possible, for the officials, to take against Kovalyov as strict a course of action as the one which was chosen.

But such was not the case, and very far from it.
floryncd floryncd 10/11/2017 10:16
@Petrarlsen: The problem does not lie in writing dress codes and respecting them.

The problem is that all chessplayers and organizers, with no discrimination, should abide by basic urbane behavioral and dressing rules. I referred to Capablanca and Botvinnik as standards in this field. I mean, generally speaking, that nowadays there is a sensible degradation in this field among players (and organizers)...

The paradoxical morale of 100% of professional chessplayers is: "if I am a strong master, why should I wear suits??? I know how to move the chess pieces, and this is a sort of "redemption" for my ugly and unappropriate attire".
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 09:48
@ floryncd : "In the same time Mr. Kovalyov dressed unappropriately."

Simple solution for FIDE : to adopt a clear dress code. I could write it in 10 minutes and there are certainly dozens of persons who could do it at FIDE ; where is the problem ?
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 09:37
@ hserusk : Yes, a Topalov or a Kasparov wouldn't for an instant think to accept to be bullied like that. I am not a professional chess player, but if I were one and had been at Kovalyov's place (...not for wearing shorts, because I wouldn't think one second to wear shorts for an important tournament like the World Cup...), I certainly wouldn't let an Azmaiparashvili do what he would want with me.

But you can be a very strong chess player without being a "warrior", too. Historically, I think that, for example, Akiba Rubinstein wasn't at all a warrior, and, nonetheless, he was a very great chess player. Today, I don't think, for example, that Ding Liren would know how to deal with an Azmaiparashvili (...I suppose nonetheless that he would be defended powerfully by the Chinese federation, but this is quite independant..). I'm not sure that Wesley So would react energetically either. And I don't know about Ivanchuk (he seems rather complex, and I am not sure if he would know how to react in such circumstances).

So I don't think that it would be logical to consider that a chess player who isn't a "warrior" would do better to quit chess ; there are chess players who are not "warriors", and who can nonetheless play great games, and I think it would be a pity to make them quit chess because of the shameful conduct of some chess officials.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/11/2017 09:17
@ Pionki : You say that I am biased in favor of Kovalyov ; I say that you are biased against him.

One simple question : why Azmaiparashvili could dress as he wants, and attack Kovalyov for doing exactly what he does himself ?
floryncd floryncd 10/11/2017 09:03
Mr. Azmaiparashvili acted shamefully and dishonestly.

In the same time Mr. Kovalyov dressed unappropriately.

Can anyone imagine Capablanca, Botvinnik and the likes otherwise than in a suit???

Do not delete my comment, please, like you did in the past!!
hserusk hserusk 10/11/2017 08:22
...either that or he can play the victim till the cows come home and nothing would ever change. We'll keep hearing how so very fantasamagorically corrupt FIDE is etc -as usual!
hserusk hserusk 10/11/2017 07:28
@Petrarlsen : Nobody says he doesn't. But if you want to stand up to bullies and do something about people who step on your toes or get on your nerves, you need to be a better man. Like the other guy said, try pulling this stunt against Topalov (who served in the army) or against Kasparov (who's mental fortitude is legendary) and you'll understand how power dynamics work among people.
Offramp Offramp 10/11/2017 04:20
Kovalyov's shorts are identical to the Dude's shorts in "The Big Lebowski".
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/10/2017 10:57
@ hserusk :

For me, what can be asked from a professional chess player is to play good chess and to follow the rules and regulations. For the shorts, as we have seen, the dress code wasn't precise, and this is FIDE's responsibility ; for the chess part, in my opinion, a player who beat Anand (an ex-World Champion and still a near-2800-player) in a World Cup match hasn't anything more to demonstrate : he deserves a place in the world of professional chess.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/10/2017 10:56
@ Augusta2022 :

"He should dress like a pro (...)" And Azmaiparashhvili can dress as he wants, and, nonetheless, treat Kovalyov like that.

I don't know why, but, clearly, you are biased in favor of Azmaiparashvili, and against Kovalyov.