The Azmaiparashvili Saga – your views

11/10/2004 – The events at the end of the closing ceremony of the 36th Chess Olympiad stunned chess players all over the world. A FIDE vice president beaten and arrested? We returned from Calvià to find a barrage of letters from concerned readers – most in support of "Azmai", but some critical of his conduct in the affair. Take some time for a long but interesting read.

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In the following we bring you a cross section of the letters we have received – selected pretty much at random, leaving out the ones that contained offensive language or all too adventurous orthography. The letters are sorted roughly according to the date of receipt, not thematically or in order of perceived importance. At the bottom of the page you will find an open letter to FIDE and the Georgian Chess Federation by WGM Ana Matnadze.

A number of readers have accused us of bias in our reporting of the case, of giving unconditional support to FIDE and Zurab Azmaiparashvili. Why did we not interview the other side, hear their story and publish details of what in their opinion transpired on that fateful evening? Well, actually we did, in a chance encounter with the main players of the Spanish organisation a few days ago in Calvià. This story will be published soon. If possible you should wait until that appears before you write any more letters to us on the subject.

Feedback on the Azmai Saga

Eyðun Nolsøe, Tvøroyri, Faroe Island
I was sitting on the front row, about 3-5 meters away from the fight between Azmai and the securety guards. I myself had to run away and fell between some chairs when things got hot. I sat with some team mates from the Faroe Island team, and we disagreed somehow in opinion about what happened. I thought Azmai did little to be treaten this way. I was watching him closely, as I felt that something was wrong. But I didn't know anything. Just as he explains in the Chessbase interwiev, he tried to get in contact with someone on stage without trying to enter the stage or to upset anyone at all. He was immediately attacked and brutaly forced to the floor. It was a totally overreaction from a securty point of view and the whole situation was quite spooky. It reminded me of something that could happen under the Franco regime some fifty years ago! Maybe the heratage hasn't quite vanished yet. Even if Azmai was making troubles on the airport at the arrival, nothing could justify this brutal behavior from the police at the closing ceremony. A big anticlimax on the olympic experience in Calvia and a shame to the spanish Chess Federation, who did nothing to correct the disaster!

David Ricardo, Manresa, Spain
Clearly, Chesssbase, for some strange reason, is giving all their unconditional support to Mr. Azmaiparashvili. Please can yo be more objective with this serious matter? Like any other European country, in a major event with VIP authorities, there is high security with special security officers (not simply security men). When there is a minor problem at this events, they have to react rapidly. And trying to interrupt a major event it is a serious matter. Try yourself to do it at the oscars! I have read all reports, and the behaviour of Mr. Azmaiparashvili seems too ridiculous and provocative. He was angry because he thought that a trophy was not be awarded, but it was. So, I don't understand nothing. Could you explain in more detail the reasons of Azmaiparashvili for his behaviour? We have to remember, five months ago another scandal with the Georgian women grandmasters. They said to the press: "Azmaiparashvili responded with usual for him aggressiveness towards an opinion different from his own. He treated us in a hostile and intimidating manner, using inappropriate and vulgar language and bringing to tears our mothers who were also present at the meeting". And some other bad things about Azmaiparashvili.

Jure Dobovsek, Ljubljana, Slovenija
Reading Zurab's interview and seeing those horrific photos was really disturbing. There is no excuse for these actions whatsoever. I would really like to hear an explanation from the organizers for beating an older man and his wife and than holding him in prison for two days. I read that there were plenty of other mistakes in oranization of this year olympiad so I ask myself what are FIDE's criteria for choosing an orginiser. I think FIDE sholud be more careful on that matter in the future.

B. Lithgow, USA
I think that what you are doing in trying to ask people to judge on this case is unfair, because in order to do so both part the GM and the security guards must be heard, plus we have to considered the witness on the audience as well. However I would like to make a comment without judge everything. One thing that come to my mind immediately is the fact that there were hundreds of people in the audience and the security guards only went to this GM, his wife or the other few that were out of order. Why? For not reason at all. Why not the others? If in a fact there was something wrong with the presentation or awards recognition, the GM as vice-president of the FIDE knows that there are many other ways to address those issues after the ceremony was over, like an additional ceremony, awards delivered by mail, posting on the FIDE web page, etc. He should not have done what he did, and he paid the price. But he is a GM, and as in chess, in real life we learn from our mistakes. Lets hope that he learned something from this game that he lost in real life, apply some chess principles to real life, and understand (as he knows in chess) that if he makes a move without evaluating the future consequences he can get check mate or a black eyes as he did.

On the other hand if everything that the GM said in the interview is according to the truth, that he was beaten several times even in jail, was treated inhumane and his rights as a person and visitor citizen were violated, then Spain is still living in the Medieval Ages and this have to be corrected. The GM did it wrong but the police did it worse. The GM must press charges and have some kind of monetary compensation. But everything must be done in the court of law.

Jerker Nilsson
The President of the Turkish Chess Federation, Ali Nihat Yazici, seems to think that people should be treated differently by the law depending on who they are. "Since he is a chess person, because we are friends, you have to do something for him. Please call your sports minister." What kind of a society is he talking about here? If you know the right people or have a nice societal position you should not be able to be arrested? Moreover, he claims that: "If this happened in my country (it would never happen) I would get the person released in a few minutes maximum." I do not see that as something to brag about. It rather shows that the Turkish system is corrupt more than anything else. As i see it Azmaiparashvili was suspected of violating the law, resisted arrest, was detained and then was released. That is how it works. Even if you are a FIDE hotshot.

Windey Francis, Brussels
I learned through Chessbase News what happened to GM Azmayparashvili. I am shocked about the way a FIDE representative and a top player can be treated by organizers and private security services. This goes beyond chessworld: the heavyhanded methods of private corporations so-called security guards are a reminder of an ongoing trends towards privatization of repression and abuse. In shopping centers all over the world, private security guards are often abusing their "power" and so many honest customers have been treated in a humiliating way (for instance, last week in Belgium, postal service employees were treated in a denigrating way by private guards checking for lost material...).

Harvey Patterson, Ottawa, Canada
The scandal in Calvià should have make some interesting waves in the global media. Between Bobby Fischer and Zurab Azmaiparashvili, chess players are getting arrested as often as American professional athletes. We're like basketball players now! Now all we need are cheerleaders and groupies.

Igor Freiberger, Porto Alegre, Brazil
During the past few years there are some incredible news about policial and authority abuse in chess-related incidents hosted by first-world countries. The two more recent shocking news came from Japan (Fischer) and Spain (Azmaïparishivili). I really got impressed. One could argue this is due to a generalized afraid pursued by terrorism. Not true. I remember that Julio Granda Zuñiga was detained in Geneva airport just before the Biel Interzonal, in 1995. This was caused because his skin is somewhat dark to the authorities parameters. Shocking. Instead of our third-world countries to evolute and get near to "civilizated" standards, it seems the civilizated world is becoming more and more "third-worldized". Sad. Of course, Brazil has a lot of problems, but I'm sure this kind of abuse would not take place in a hipotetic olympiad hosted here – mainly because the country lived under authoritarism during almost 30 years and now it seems to have learnt some lessons. When a lawyer asks to see an arrested person, he sees. When an ask to particular medical exam is presented, there is no "police exclusivity". Our Justice may have problems, but it seems to be much forward than Claviá's. So, I would suggest to FIDE to bring more international events to South America. No terrorism, no bad mood against Arabic or Jew people, no elegant MIB brutality – and lots of sun!

Brian Carson, Toronto, Canada
I am eagerly waiting for you to report on the "other side of this equation" Publishing a 'have sympathy picture' of Azmaiparashvili with a black eye is one thing, but the whole truth is this man is prone to violence. He attracts conflict. He likes to provoke the other person. He has a deep seeded 'chip on his shoulder' and often resorts to abusive language. He loves to intimidate, denegrade, insult, slander, and bully others. He feels that he is always in the 'right' and it it just plainly outrageous that the other person doesn't simply comply with Azmaiparashvili's wishes and demands, PERIOD! This man's blood has but one flavor: "do it Azmaiparashvili's way, or, you are an idiot and should be violently taught the error of your ways". Responsibe journalism should take the reader to his homeland where his violence is well documented.

Bri Aninski, Helena, USA
Isn't this Zurab, the same person you wrote about at the women's WC, where he made a contestant outcry, and he was almost violent in his support for some dictator that was acused of civil rights abuses in Georgia???

Claudio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cannot believe the naive explanation from Spanish authorities. Despite the kind - or not kind at all - behavior of Azmai, being arrested in this situation is crazy. Or we may believe that organizers & security forces dont know 'who is who' in the chess world? If the answer is no: they cannot organize this first class events. Never more. If the answer is yes: How they allow (or push?) this for an official FIDE guy? Or was simply a political revenge because he was quite demanding ?

Fernando Semprun, Madrid, Spain
It seems to me ChessBase is taken a definite stand in regards of this matter. I was not at Majorca, and therefore don't really know what happened, but it seems unlikely that somebody is giving a black eye 'without any provocation whatsoever'. As for medical or law assistance, I very much doubt that none was given. Have you attempted to publish pictures of the policeman? If there was indeed an unprovoked attack on Mr Azmai, he should (or indeed FIDE) sue the responsible parties (a lawyer would know better than me) for damages, and not stand trial as the accused. Why is that course of action not taken? It seems normal to me to follow the legally established procedures. If there are enough eye witnesses willing to give evidence, then Mr. Azmai has a case... And this seems to be so. The pictures published are an obvious further proof... But let a judge decide. Get a lawyer.

Kenneth Ho, Hong Kong
FIDE should consider suspending the Spanish Chess Federation from organizing any international events for at least 2 years, or even more. Can't believe such uncivilized actions happened in front of the whole world!

Raul Lagoamarsino, Montevideo, Uruguay
Congratulations Chessbase once again for an objective coverage on the Azmaiparashvili fiasco at the closing of the FIDE Congress. Without even considering who is right and who is wrong in all this mess or who-hit-who first, it is absolutely unjustifiable that a high dignatary of FIDE turns the closing ceremony of a FIDE Congress into a wrestling arena. With the world chess scene at the edge of chaos if the timeline for unification goes down - yet once again - it is shameful that the FIDE VP delivers such a message to the chess world, the general media and the corporate world (as actual or potential sponsors). When will this dark age of world chess come to an end? The chess world needs unification and a clear schedule of tournaments to get on its feet again. If the actual FIDE authorities cant make that happen, for the good of the game, they better step aside and let somebody else give it a try.

Vishal Lama, Siliguri, India
What a shame that Calvia was witness to what the honourable GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili had to go through. After looking at his injuries, it is all the more shocking that FIDE, on it's part, has done almost next to nothing. Is the organisation defunct? Isn't Mr. Azmaiparashvili an active member of the FIDE? This is not to take sides with anyone but only a call to all chess players, both amateur and professional, of the world to strongly comdemn the brutal act that was perpetrated against the victim. In the name of security, was it one of those "pre-emptive strikes" that we hear are carried on in some parts of the world these days? FIDE and the Spanish organisers have a lot to answer.

Csaki Francisc, Livada, Romania
First of all I would like to express my compassion for what happened to Zurab Azmaiparashvili. It is unbelievable that something like this could happen in such a noble sport like chess is. After that, I would like to tell you that I lived in Madrid, Spain for 16 months and there is nothing I could bad I could tell about the Spanish people, their culture or their tradition. But there is a proverb saying that every forest has it's dead trees. I worked a lot with spanish policemen and other authorities and they ther were always polite and correct. In Zurab Azmaiparashvili's case I think we should talk about a special case. The men who had beaten it does not deserve to be called policemen. Their boss who took their part deserves to be judged as well. I hope that Zurab Azmaiparashvili will do everything possibile to bring those people in front of the LAW so that they can pay for what they done.

Sam Arora, London, UK
Didn't think Chess was a contact sport! Harrowing story. Doesn't bode well for the image of Chess in general and Spanish Chess/the organizers in particular. Hope the ones responsible for this incident are held accountable. You wouldn't think such stuff could take place in an EU country! My sympathies to Mr. & Mrs. Azmaiparashvili.

John T. Kunz, Watertown, New York, USA
This is a truly horrendous story. Amazing that this could happen at a Chess event where this gentleman is so well known and respected. I was surprised that Kirsan and others on the platform were not able to stop this outrage. This is a classic example of law enforcement arrogance. Very sad indeed!

Ken Cowcill, Vancouver
Head-butt injuries are usually located in the middle upper part of the skull. Zurab's is off to one side so he either does not know how to administer an effective and proper head-butt or it is as he says and it was an accident. I am curious though how the jostling made it happen. Someone would have had to have pushed him or the police officer from behind so they came together with that much force. Also, how tall were the people involved. To hit the officer in the mouth with that part of his head means Zurab is short or the officer was tall, unless he (Zurab) was slightly bent over and then raised his head at the wrong moment. Even then he would have had to raise it with some force to cause the injury on his head...and there may be many reasons for raising his head with that much force. Did anyone see the police officer's injury? I'm sure you'll keep us informed on the latest updates.

Samuel Abrash, Richmond, Virginia, USA
That a Vice President of FIDE should be forcibly be restrained from approaching the stage at the Olympiad is outrageous. There is no good reason that someone as high ranking in FIDE as Azmai should be prevented even from going on to the stage during the closing ceremonies. The organizers of the event are entirely at fault, because if they had not insisted on keeping Grandmaster Azmaiparashvili from the stage none of this would have happened.

Davit Batashvili, Tbilisi, Georgia
Here in Georgia countries of Western Europe very often are spoken about as examples of prosperity, democracy and respect towards dignity and rights of every personality. But such an attitude towards foreign official is absolutely unimaginable in Georgia. If such a thing can happen there to a man like Zurab Azmaiparashvili, I imagine what can happen to a common citizen in Spain!! This absolutely disgusting incident not only rouses strong anger and indignation, but also gives a lot of material to think about the naivety of our notion of "democratic Western Europe"...

Larry S. Tamarkin, Levittown, NY
No one should have to experience such treatment from police in any country. (But it seems to me that police/security agents everywhere are out-of-control). In reading Zurab's words in your Chess Base interview I hear the sincerity and honesty of what he is saying, and I hope the court see's it the same way. I also hope that when the authorities that so mismanaged this whole affair are brought to trial, they will have to change their ways of handling things from the ground up. Also, thank God the blindness caused to his eye is only temporary & Zurab can go forward from this in good health.

Matthew Rose, Oxford, England
Best wishes to Mr Azmaiparashvili who has certainly been brutalised by the Spanish police. This sort of violence is quite unacceptable. Spain it appears is closer to a third world dictatorship than we thought. Maybe that's why Ilyumzhinov and his cronies (Mr A included) chose this location. I look forward to the next FIDE event in Zimbabwe.

Eduardo Madrid, Chicago, USA
I am writing this in Spanish and English, because it is addressed to both the Spain Police and the organizing comitee of the Olympiad.

To Spanish Police and Organizing Comitee of Calvia Olympiad: I am just a Chess fan who knew about this incident by the news, and of course I am not a witness. But I can't stop thinking about anything else but this "paradox": If you wanted to protect the image and reputation of the organization of this chess olympiad so badly that you wouldn't allow Mr. Azmaiparashvili to get the attention of those on the stage for a minute, then it is unconceivable that you stopped Mr. Azmaiparashvili in such a way as to cause this violent show. That makes me wonder that if things happened how you say, that Mr. A. provoked the whole situation, then, of what use is a security force that at the first provocation fells into it and to supposedly protect the event, that "protection" ends up destroying it?. Therefore, you, Police and Organizing Comittee, are lying, and there is no better explanation for what happened than that you were violent and authoritarian and not only didn't allow Mr. Azmaiparashvili do his job and abducted him, but also stole the rejoicing the chess family has with their Olympiad.

Due to the incredible fact that a Dictatorial country, former supporter of terrorists as Libya is was able to hold the championship without any violent incident, because of the enormously favorable comparison, we have to conclude that can can't count Spain as a civilized nation where something as peaceful as a chess olympiad can be organized, and that has made me as shameful of my Spaniard ascent as I have never felt in years.

I sincerely hope to be wrong, that a faction of the organizing comittee denounces what the other did and apoligizes, and that the forces of law and justice proceed with their full power against those who brutalized either Mr. Azmaiparashvili or his wife, instead of keeping to intimidate Mr. Azmaiparashvili for the coming trial.

Para la Policía Española y el Comité Organizador de la Olimpíada de Calvia: Soy sólo un aficionado al ajedrez que se enteró de este incidente por las noticias, del que por supuesto no soy testigo. Pero no puedo dejar de pensar en otra cosa que esta "paradoja": Si uds. querían cuidar la imagen y reputación de la organización de esta olimpíada ajedrecística tan intensamente que no pudieron dejar al Sr. Azmaiparashvili llamar la atención de aquellos en el podio, entonces es inconcebible que lo detuvieran de tal manera de causar este espectáculo de violencia. Eso me hace preguntarme ¿de qué sirve una fuerza de seguridad que cae en la primera provocación, y para supuestamente proteger el evento, esa "protección" termina por destruirlo? Por lo tanto Uds., la Policía, y el Comité Organizador estan mintiendo, y no hay mejor explicación para lo ocurrido que uds. fueron violentos y autoritarios, que no sólo no dejaron al Sr. Azmaiparashvili hacer su trabajo, y lo secuestraron, sino que se robaron el regocijo que la familia ajedrecística tiene con su olimpíada.

Dado el hecho increíble que un país dictatorial, previo santuario de terroristas como Libia pudo ser capaz de llevar a cabo el campeonato sin ningún incidente violento, por la comparación enormemente favorable, tenemos que concluir que no podemos contar con España como un país civilizado en donde algo tan pacífico como una olimpíada ajedrecística se pueda organizar, y eso me ha hecho sentir avergonzado como no lo había sentido en años de mi ascendencia española.

Sinceramente espero estar equivocado, que una facción del comité organizador denuncie lo que la otra hizo, y que se disculpe, que las fuerzas de la ley y la justicia procedan con todo su poder contra los que brutalizaron tanto al Sr. Azmaiparashvili como su esposa, en vez de seguir intimidándolo de caras al juicio venidero.

Carlos Avalos, Providence, RI (USA)
I believe in your words, you have my emotional, moral and economical support if needed. I wish the best for you and your family.

Duane Archer, Golden, Colorado USA
A harrowing tale, indeed! What an insult to the game of chess. I certainly believe Spain must be boycotted for any and all chess events until 1) Profound apologies are offered and 2) Substantial monetary compensation is made to Mr. Azmaiparashvili and his family.

Kerry Liles, Canada
Disgraceful. Welcome to Spain... Incompetence. Although I think the management of FIDE is a farce and the president of FIDE and perhaps many of his friends are thieves, this should never happen.

Tim Spanton, London, UK
How dreadful that such a thing could happen to a man well known for his even temper, peacefulness and honesty.

Shashanth, India
This is really shocking to say the least. this is certainly not a way to treat anyone without any substantial reason..the fide vice president deserves to be shown more respect. an utterly disgraceful behaviour by the spanish policemen and organisers , and their chief ,whatever his name is. this was not expected from a country like spain which hosts events like linares and other tournaments of prestige in chess. i expect that the organisers will show atleast some dignity by offering their apologies to mr and mrs azmaiparashvilli for the ill treatment apart from their reasons for having done so. also hope that the law will take its judicious course. my sympathies and best wishes for mr and mrs azmaiparashvilli.

Immanuel Singuillo, Monrovia, CA, USA
I do not know Azmaiparashvili personally... in fact i only knew about him because of the news reports. I believe Kasparov should make a statement if he really supports his friend.. when i say statement that also means statement against the spanish fide etc., who seemed, if i am not mistaken, been nice and admiring to kasparov when he was in spain. I believe the police (and all those involved) in spain is being too much and yet they don't want to take responsibility for all that they did to a lone man? It's unbelievable that the organizers and the spanish fide are not ashamed of themselves. It is just right if fide will make acts of sanctions against them.

Mel, USA
Hi, fist of all i'd like to thank your for following up on this story. The treatment of mr Azmaparashshvilli seems to be very harsh, beating in the eye while handicuffed for example is morally repugnant and cowardly. However, one question that needed to be asked,and i believe it wasnt asked in the previous interview is what in his opinion so enraged the Spanish security/police?! There were some reports about prior arguments between mr Azmaiparashvilli and the spanish organizers over hotel rooms but i have a hard time believing there wasnt more to it than that. Azmaiparashvilli, is known in chess circles for his hot "georgian" temperment, but it does not excuse or explain the treatment he has recieved, more facts that preceded the scuffle and arrest need to be clarified for the public.

Shane, Pennsylvania, USA
I am astounded at the events that took place at the closing cermony in Mallorca regarding Zurab Azmaiparashvili. To see a man beaten such as Zurab was is appalling to me based on the fact that he was just trying to relay some information. I don't think I'll be making vacation arrangements anytime soon or in the future to the island of Mallorca. I think the term, excessive force, is an understatement in Zurab's case. Perhaps the Calvia security force should take some lessons in human relations before they needlessly attack a member of one of the most prestigious chess organizations in the world.

Joel Bouard, France
Following IGM Z.Azmaiparashvili brutal and injustified agression by the spanish police , i am horrified , as a human being and also as a (modest) chessplayer , by this savage act of barbarian manners worthy only of an uncivilized country . I am even more shocked by the hypocrisy and the lies that the spanish organisers have poured on their website tryning to "prove" to the chesspalyers that Azmaiparshvili has agressed the spanish police. These manners ( brutality by the police , severe repression by the "judges" ) are only proper to countries ruled by dictators , and in no ways , by "civilized european countries" as the spanish organisers and federation want us to believe Spain to be. I think that these acts are A SHAME TO SPAIN , and not only to the spanish chess federation or organisers. I personally met Zurab Azmaiparshvili in 1986 when he was an IM and came to Tunis for a friendly matche Tunisia-Georgia ( 0-4 , georgian team : Gueorgadze, Gurguenidze, Efimov, Azmaiparashvili). I remember him as a very nice person , and although he most probably forgot about me , I want to assure him of my personal sympathy and support.

As a chessplayer and member of the World Chess Familiy , I would like to suggest to the Fide President and General Assembly to take all the due disciplinary actions according to Fide Regulations , against the Spanish Chess Federation and all Spanish Organisers personnaly involved in these scandalous and shameful acts , that are COMPLETELY CONTRARY to Fide and Chessplayers Code of Ethics , and to the " Gens Una Sumus" motto which in this case has become totally void of any meaning , as far as these spanish people are concerned.

I would be most grateful to you if you communicate this message to Fide Vice President IGM Z.Azmaiparashvili , to Fide President , and to the Presidents of all Chess federations that are Fide members , asking them to put to the vote the appropriate disciplinary actions against the Spanish Federation and Spanish organisers in the next Fide general Assembly or in the next Fide Disciplinary Council if the Fide President decides to reunite it urgently.

Fide Officials and Chess players all over the world should stand in solidarity with one of their family members , a strong Chess player who deserves DUE RESPECT for his Human Dignity and his Chess Art , and whom WE CAN NOT TOLERATE TO SEE TREATED THIS WAY BY THIS SO CALLED "CIVILISED EUROPEAN NATION " , Spain , that acts certainly much more like a fascist and uncivilsed country , contrary to all European and Human principles.

Stefano Freiesleben Sas, Jægerspris, Denmark
I was once of the first to come to the playchess server and discuss the matter after I read your first article. I find the treatment of a senior member of the FIDE body, and former FIDE european champion, namely Zurab Azmaiparashvili, to be completely and utterly unacceptable.

This should have ramifications on a greater political level, as well as with regard to the different chess federations in question. Also it is apparently unacceptable that the FIDE body has so little control over events at such a magnitude of an event as the olympics, that no one manages to be able to do anything to help Zurab at the place when this happened. I believe that it already has, because it is unlikely that spain will ever again (or atleast in the near future) be allowed to host such an event. If situation is really such that spain is a police state and close to anarchy, from what was allowed to happen, - the country should not even be a member of the EU much less be in the human right contract of the FN. But I hope that this will be scrutinized so that people will get all the fact and all the guilty parties be reprimanded for this. It is clear that Zurab has been abused, since in any other country even when there is a disagreement, a controlling body is not allowed to use excessive force, which in this case has been clearly exercised. Also FIDE as an organization seems to be losing its grip on these kinds of events, and why has there not been released (to my knowledge) any statement from the FIDE president? .. And why did he not immediately seek to control the events himself, when he had Zurab in his eyesight (as is written in the article) when Zurab tried to contact them?

I can only say, I support Zurab Azmaiparashvili completely, and can only condemn in the strongest possible terms the abuse he was part of. This is chess, a distinguished sport, - and chessplayers are distinguished and intelligent people, who doesn't deserve to be treated with abuse and violence. This must stop. And FIDE must release a statement of utter condemnation one all the facts are known.

Carl Lumma, Berkeley, United States
I am writing to express my disgust at the events which took place at the 36th Olympiad in Calvià, with respect to the arrest of Mr. Azmaiparashvili. I was not in attendance, but I have news of these events from several sources. My opinion is that event organizers and security personnel acted wrongly, and I hope they will be held accountable for their actions, and that FIDE will blacklist Spain from the possibility of hosting major chess events pending a full apology from Spanish authorities.

Martin Andersen, Naestved
What a terrible experience for you Mr Azma ! One would expect such treatment in primitive countries but certainly not in Spain. I hope you are well and good luck winning the case in court.

Tom Welsh, Basingstoke, UK
This episode demonstrates the folly of having "security guards" in attendance at a peaceful event such as FIDE Olympiad. Just as when the Rolling Stones hired Hell's Angels to "police" their concert at Altamont back in the 1960s, the muscle got out of hand and hurt the innocent. The organizers had no business using the guards to keep a VP of FIDE away from the stage, either. That was a serious abuse of power. As for the behaviour of the Spanish police... The worst of it is that, if real terrorists had attacked, such "goons" would have been helpless to defend the civilians anyway! Mind you, it is difficult to be too critical of the Spanish when so many previous Olympiads have been held under the "friendly gaze" of the KGB...

David, Austin, Texas, USA
This is absolutely scandalous. I've spoken with two witnesses and Zurab's account is true as far as I'd trust my own eyes had I seen it happen myself exactly the way he described it. I'm shocked and disgusted at the treatment he recieved at the hands of these so-called authorities. This is an international scandal and I hope it blows up in their face.

Martin Kopf, Sprockhövel
I hardly can believe, what can happen in Spain to a GM and high representative of the FIDE while the "Games of Peace". There shall be a very hard reaction, and if the responsible persons do not apologize and give satisfaction to the victim and the world, there should be no official chess on Mallorca anymore. It is a bloody shame. Who were the policemen? Who was the judge? Who were the officials? I want to read their names in the newspapers! To my opinion, the trial will last several years. But the "chessies" will not forget. I would like you to install a link to a website just containing this case.

Fernando, Madrid
Why do you take place for Azmaiparashvili: "Zurab Azmaiparashvili was attacked by security guards?" why don't you say samethink like 'security guards were defending' or 'security guards were making their job'? I have felt chessbase take part in this conflict that is not solved until courts finish its work or until we see the true. For me I don't take part, althought FIDE has demostrated that is not a serius institution, all the countrary that spanish police, which is an example for a lot of countries.

Vincent Gagliano, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
What a disgrace to the professional chess world! Lack of temper proved nearly fatal!!

Oliver Gonzalez, Malaga, Spain
I want to give you my support about what happened, I wish you get better these days and I hope to see you back in action soon. That boyguards dont deserve any respect as you do. Hugs.

Atenik, Canada
Georgians are very well known to butt with their heads on the mouth of their opponents. This is what seems Zurab did. I think he was bullying his way to the podium, dragging his wife with him and creating untasteful scenes. By his own admission, even his boss didn't want to intervene. He said they hit him 6-7 times. If it was true he should have wrapped his head with 10m. bandages few times over. It is obvious that he didn't act as civilized andconcientious. The way he mentioned "beating a dog..." etc. is too barbaric. He pretends Kasparov supports him. It is interesting to know if Kasparov supports his actions at the closing ceremony too. To support a person, or to support that person's actions are 2 separate things.

Lai Thiamhee, Malaysia
The closing ceremony was held because of chess, and it is completely normal for the vice-president to interfere the ceremony. Even if it meant that he need to postpone the whole ceremony, it's no big deal. After all, azmaiparashvili is the big shot here, not a nobody trying to disrupt the event, but to CORRECT the process. The organisers should be held complete responsibilities, and also the whole spanish police for defending their actions! The plain and shallow excuse they used was headbutt provoked by parashvili, but it is not the rootcause of the commotion in the first place. And when the police decided to treat a VIP in such a way, the headbutt was no longer the controversial issue. The spotlight should be the inhumane battling parashvili received. No provocation should be entitled for such beating, unless he's a known criminal. The police involved should not be left to escape the law. They have drawn spanish as a hostile country, extremely bad image mirroring terrorism, and do no good to spain. Shame to the authorities who still defend the police action. No more chess events in Spain, who dare to play again? We do battles in chessboards, not with Spanish barbarians! shame on Spain!! We chessplayers will always support you, Parashvili!

Charlie Watt, Boston, MA, USA
I find it outrageous that the vp of fide was thrown in jail. it is following the leadership of george bush. do as i say or i will use my power to throw you in jail. it is all might and power makes right. it is a disgrace that a refined game like chess should have this happen. they treated him like a terrorist when he is a good person and a leader of the group. the entire way that he was treated from beginning to end was a total disgrace to all of chess. I am ashamed to be a chess fan today. I think all chess fans should be outraged. but I dont know what can be done about it. maybe someone like MIG can be the leader of the protest. I think FIDE should compensate him with a very substantial check and a deep deep apology.

José María Fayos Mestre, Madrid
How can this be, that is impossible to find only one word against the catastrophical organization of the Chess event in Mallorca? Why all spanish newspapers write the same false news about the whole event, and also the last day ceremony? Im ashamed of this, i feel like a member of Bananaland, where also journalists are controlled to say only what I want them to say.

Cloy Bloy, Philippines
This is police brutality in its worst manifestation. The local organizers of the FIDE Olympiad should join the complaint against these barbaric cops because they are indirectly injured by the incident. If the complaint will only be pushed by Mr. Azmaiparashvili, the complaint may lose its potency later on and justice will not be served. The incident has proven that muggers rule that part of the country and the same muggers will muddle the issues brought forth by Mr. Azmaiparashvili.

Joel Murang, Kuching, Malaysia
I am very upset that this sort of thing could happen and especially to someone as highl ranked as Azmai. I fully support him going to court and I hope him and his lawyers sue them for all they're worth. I hope Azmai gets better soon. Maybe he should take up a marshall art? Best wishes to Azmai and everyone at

Rafael Llanos, Collinsville, Texas
All I know Mr. Azmi is two things: 1.You are a great grandmaster from Georgia and 2. Your last name is very difficult to memorize. However let me tell you that my family and I not only are sorry for what happened to you but, We hope that should not happen to anyone in the world anytime. Mr. Azmi, the good part (if any) of this incident is that you will find out how many friends you have around the World. For sure you have one here in Texas.

Rudolph Chelminski, Bourron-Marlotte, France
Outrageous, intolerable and anachronistic, too -- this bears a striking similarity to the behavior of Franco's police. I thought those days were behind us.

Jerome Babate, General Santos City, Philippines
What happened to GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili is a wake up call. It's about time that FIDE will take action against the Spanish organizers. This was not a civilized action on the part of Spaniards. The FIDE national federation members must individually send letter of protest to the organizers.

GM Ahhijit Kunte, Pune, India
whatever has happened during the last day of olympiad is really shocking for me. and it was unimaginable that a Grandmaster and fide VP, has to face such a treatment and nobody in the FIDE or Spanish Chess Federation, Press, or from players help him for that two days. I hope FIDE will take necessary action against Spanish Chess Federation and such incidence will not happen again. Till that time all the chess players will support Azmai.

Michael Holmes, Ottawa, Canada
Zurab Azmaiparashvili was roughly handled by the Spanish police, no doubt of that. He was not at fault. However, the ChessBase report lacks context. Why did the Spanish police act in this way? In March 2004, some 200 Spanish citizens were murdered by terrorists. To date, the USA and Spain have borne the brunt of Al Quaeda's jihad. People and authorities are nervous, and when something unusual or seemingly threatening happens, they may over-react. The root of this fiasco is FIDE's disarray. The Olympiad closing ceremony was botched, failing to honour the medalists. Azmai was rightly upset, but his reaction may have seemed threatening to the police, who aren't taking any chances these days. I hope that Azmai fully recovers, that the Spanish police apologize for their over-reaction, and that chess fans blame FIDE, not Spain, for the debacle.

Alexander Goldshtein, Yoqneam-Illit, Israel
I protest against this impossible event. It is absolutely amoral to treat any human being (or even pet)in such a rude manner. I think that people who offendeded or beated GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili must be penulted.

Thomas Lightfoot, Beaumont, Texas, USA
This a a most unfortunate event. I think the the chess federation should not have anymore tournaments in this city. Chess players should not be subjected to such cruel punishment for something so simple as what Zarub was trying to do.

Chessclub Diagonal, Kohtla-Jarve, Estonia
Chessfan: Shame to bodyguards Those happened is the shame! I think the Spanish Government should give official satisfaction to FIDE, Georgian Government, and surely personally to Zurab, his wife, and all chessplayers over the world! They are heels, the most real heels, they took into their heads to asphyxiate grandmaster; there just aren’t words. Brutes! Opinion: Within a decade to prohibit to hold official events for Spain.

Dr Gabriel Roupillard, France
Hi. I just read your interview with Mr. Azmaiparashvili. At first time I thought it was a joke. How can that happened nowadays? Shame on that Mr. Rami! I really think that once this trial is over with good news for Mr. Azmaiparashvili, FIDE should take serious consideration about the whole Calvia tournament: a boycot is simple ans efficient! That is a very important decision to take, but I think it is what must be done! I would blame any other chess player who would play there again, until Mr. Rami is fired. It is clear HE gave the orders, he is the one at the beginning of the conflict by not taking account on what Mr. Azmaiparashvili said. I am still really astonished! Are we in 2004 or 1004? I am looking forward to hearing some good news about Mr. Azmaiparashvili and I wish that this Mr. Rami will be punished severely! Thanks for the publication of this news. Go ahead !

Mike Beatty, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
If Mr. Azmaiparashvili's description of his treatment at the closing ceremnonies for the 2004 Chess Olympiad is accurate - and there is no reason to doubt that it is accurate - then it is quite disgusting indeed. I assume that there is no video that shows the acutal course of events. However, from his statement - there would appear to be many witnesses. If his allegations can be proved, does he have legal recourse? Is there anything that concerned individuals such as myself - both as a chessplayer and, as a human being, someone with a vested interest in human rights - can do to advocate on his behalf and/or to aid in the process?

Wulf Hielscherm, Büdelsdorf, Germany
My wife and I was at the chess-olympics too and plays in the open tournaments. We also meet the closing ceremony but we left a little bit earlier the situation with Zurab Azmaiparashvili happens. It couldn´t be true, that the organizers of the chess-olympics to such subjekt to the vize-president of the FIDE. May be it the chess-olympics was a little bit to hard for the organizers because a lot of thinks went wrong. Also we have little trouble. You can´t see anything at the olympics, we have problems with our cards and also the control every day in the casino has the same trouble. First we went to Mallorca we want go there to have impressions of the olympics, but in this situations we can´t get them. I hope Zurab Azmaiparashvili will feel better now, and my hope is this organizers wouldn´t get such an event again. And I hope Turin and Dresden does it better in future, but I am sure that it will be so.

Aaron Larsen, Winnipeg, Canada
The Spanish Chess Federation and the organizers of the 36th Calvia Olympiad owe the chess fans all around the globe a grave apology. I am utterely surprised and annoyed by the fact that the organizers haven't showed any remorse or regret over this debacle. In my opinion, FIDE should impose a few sanctions on the Spanish Chess Federation, and suspend the organizers from arranging any FIDE rated events in future, or at least quite a long period of time.

Vasilis Kokkalis, Athens
absolutely distressing. but just think this: if these people violate human rights that way during an olympiad closing ceremony, how many unknown stories still exist, when the victim does not happen to be an international organisation vice-president!

Robert Soring, Munich, Germany
Mr. Rami who brought police in this situation is a disgrace for the chess world. He should get punished for his behaviour. Police of Spain, be ashamed! That the police in spain does not respect always the human rights is anyway well known. I am anyway sure that the police will cover their actions with lies, so I think it is not a good idea to come back to this hostile area. Maybe the Chessplayers should boycott the next events in this "friendly" country and all events that get organised from such persons like Mr. Rami. I wish Mr. Zurab to get soon well. Nice greetings to you Mr. Zurab.

Frank Smentowski, Tulsa, OK, USA
It seems that it makes no difference to FIDE that Zurub was a FIDE VP and a strong grandmaster. There are lots of questions: Why didn't Rami or Campomanes or Gelfer intervene in Zurub's behalf? Are they afraid of FIDE? Maybe theses FIDE meetings are too long! Shorten the meetings and leave more time for awards. Why didn't Ilyumzhinov intervene? When good people tolerate beastlike behavior they can expect more in the future. We have some of these beasts in the U.S. Since I'm an aggressive driver, I see them now and then. On the other side, my good friend and chess playing buddy is a police officer!

Brendan O'Malley, Toronto
This incident of Zurab Azmaiparashvili receiving a beating at the hands of a so-called "elite force" is truly bizarre. Photos of the incident and the testimony of Paul Truong constitute strong evidence that Mr. Azmaiparashvili did not behave in a physically threatening manner. You would think that with all of their special training these guys could neutralize the threat with a little more subtlety. What I also find disturbing and surprising is the reaction of various members of the chess world.

I don't claim to know the first thing about the people involved, but it is clear to me that the Spanish chess federation chose to lie in its press release when they said "Mr. Azmaiparashvili, without any previous provocation, assaulted the agent with a head butt to his mouth." None of the photos of the incident seem to contain the police officer who succumed to the head butt wound and was forced to take sick leave. Unless, somehow, the headbutt occured both after these photos were taken and without provocation.

Ana Matnadze obviously doesn't like Zurab, and even though she says she is leaving it to the Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies to decide who was right and who was wrong, she has no problem putting the blame on Zurab. After all he is ambitious and agressive, so the fact that these gentlemen chose to hit him repeatedly is his fault. Ms. Matnadze, if "we all understand that it is not an honorable action to hit a person, who is already on his/her knees" then why did you chose to send your open letter now?

This whole incident has helped me to understand (at least a little) why FIDE can never get anything done.

Michael Mac
I felt physically sick at the harrowing events that led to one of the kindest, and gentlemanly GMs on the circuit. How a group of ignorant security guards went from trying wrongly to restrain Zurab, Vice President of FIDE, while he was going about his business, to unleashing beatings, and tortures on him and then getting him arrested and spending two days in prison. I am appalled at his treatment and the I demand an apology from the security guards involved and the tournament organisers. This is an utter disgrace.

N. Monshi, Montreal, Canada
I would like to start by stating that I have no personal knowledge of the political situation in Georgia or Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili personality. However, I find what is expressed in: "Open letter of Ana Matnadze and Lela Javakhishvili" regarding Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili more disturbing than his recent encounter with the police. The type of personality that the two Georgian women grandmasters are painting is indeed a type who would get into trouble with the police. In his interview with you he says the security officer pushed him in the chest and then their heads collided. If someone pushes you in the chest the reslut is that your heads are going to disntance from each other not collide. I have more to say, but I am going to wait and see if my message is going to be posted or no.

Dr. Bahram Shahi, Dryden, Canada
One does not need to read GM Azmaiparashvilli's comments. Just take a good look at his pictures. I don't care if he has a temper, I don't care if he has had similar incidents (obviously nothing like this), and I don't care about the details of this shameful incidence (all of which I have carefully read). For heaven's sake, the man is the VICE PRESIDENT of FIDE, he is a GRANDMASTER (VIP, mind you) and above all, he is a HUMAN. The Spanish authorities should be ASHAMED of themselves. Worst is their shameless defence of their bloody security in this scandal. The Spanish Chess Federation should be SEVERELY punished by the international chess community and, above all, by FIDE. All their events should be bycotted for an indefinite period of time until such time as they can redeem their lost dignity by ensuring that such barbaric acts will never take place again. Until then, not even a player with the Spanish Chess Federation flag should be allowed to take part in international chess events. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.

Chan, Singapore
In my opinion, GM Azmaiparashvili acted over-zealously at the closing ceremony and was in the wrong. With the current security fears, espcially in Spain, security personnel have a duty to fulfil. When they stop you from charging up onto the stage unanounced, you better listen to them and not insist on having your way! GM Azmaiparashvili was behaving too rashly. The security people were only doing their job.

Nathan Bauman, Seoul, South Korea
I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about this Mr. Azmaiparashvili (I don't even have a national rating, much less a FIDE one). However, I have to say that your "smoking gun" has far less merit than GWB's ever did, and that's what you get for your mean-spirited GWB satire. Anyway, the pictures are hardly brutal, although what we haven't seen in pictures certainly was. Your link to the site hosting the pictures undermines the credibility of this Mr. Azmaiparashvili, which seems appropriate. I can only say, in regards to the Spanish police and Mr. Azmaiparashvili, "a plague on both their houses" (not literally, of course). Kramnik wants out of the Prague unity agreement, the FIDE VP becomes insufferable, Ponamariov goes into hiding -- gee, it's all too much! Whatever else one can say about the huge egos that play basketball and hockey, at least they aren't so solipsistic.

Daniel Pharand, Canada
I support Mr. Azmaiparashvili. I live in a country that will not tolerate such action. Anybody should have the right of free speech as long is not racist or does not harm anybody in any way.

Soren Riis, Denmark
The violent and rude treatment of Zurab by the Spanish police after his arrest is completely unacceptable. In my view (rating 2300) a) FIDE should BAN Spain from holding any international chess event on account of not being able to guarantee the safety of delegates from the Spanish police. The violence against Zurab Azmaiparashvili AFTER his was arrested is particularly inexcusable!! b) FIDE, of behalf on Zurab Azmaiparashvili, should make a complaint to the EUROPEAN COURT of HUMAN RIGHTS.

Ron, Vanden, Osaka, Japan
I have no sympathy for this man. My sources tell me he had it coming to him. If he'd shown a bit of common decency, courtesy and level headedness, the incident wouldn't have taken place.

Antonio Costa, São Paulo, Brazil
"Our heads collided..." hmmmm...

Timothy Taylor, IM, Los Angeles, CA
I just want to express my support for GM Azmaiparashvili. It is clear he did nothing wrong, and was brutally attacked without provocation by the plainclothes thugs. It is a scandal that the Spanish organizers did not help him, and a worse scandal that he had to spend two days in jail, when he should not have spent two minutes. Again, though I don't know GM Azmaiparashvili, as a chess player and a human being I support him and I wish him well after his horrifying ordeal.

John London, Toronto, Canada
This treatment that Zurab has suffered is a disgrace. The Spanish Police has always had a repuation for brutality but after the Madrid bombings they are obviously taking this to a new level. I hope Zurab pursues legal action against those responsible. The Olympia organizers and the Spanish Fide Federation officials should be ashamed of themselves for not even lifting a finger to aid.

Milind P. Phadke, Mumbai, India
What has happened is just not disgusting but utterly shameful and an ultimate insult to the Chess fraternity. These Spanish Organisors, if they were so hell bent on fighting a "physical war " against Zurab they should have done that on "level terms" and not with the protection of the local "official Mafia" called the local Police.Even for the sake of argument, if one accepts the excuse given viz. that Zurab has been "creating problems" right from the beginning , is this the way to "punish" such problem creaters? If that is so, I do "welcome" the "powerful organisors" of this event to some other Chess venues in the World where I am sure that their "hospitality" will be suitably "reciprocated" and they will also get plenty of opportunity to prove their "physical superiority" to win the ultimate award in "Chess Supremacy".

Ted Cross, Beijing, China
I have read everything I can find on the subject, and I hope that the chess world will boycott Spanish chess. They should be ashamed of themselves. However, I am also ashamed of the powers in the chess world for letting the Georgian mens team throw their last match in the Olympiad! You ask for proof, when simple common sense is the proof. Since the US mens team could possibly take the Bronze medal with a great last round performance (which they had) I was worried that the Georgians might throw the match to their nighbors, and when I saw the score the next day, along with the names of the players they used on the boards I could tell that this disgraceful act had happened. This is much worse than any pre-arranged draw, since it actively worked to steal medal hopes away from other teams.

Marco Naletto, São Paulo, Brazil
What happened to Zurab Azmaiparashvili in Calviá was really a scandal. It shows that Spanish organizers were not prepared to receive such important event.

Fabio Popowski, Paris, France
Thank you for allowing me to join in the condemnation of Mr Azmaiparashvili's agression This story is a shame not only for the Spanish chess federation but also for Spain itself This is a country that belongs to the EU and if you are to believe everything Mr Azmaiparashvili said in his interview with Chessbase as I do, then they even owe him 160€! apart from several punches in the same eye as if the time of the inquisition was back This is a very serious issue, and it seems that it could happen to anybody who's caracter didn't fit in somebody else's "taste" I hope this people are going to suffer the concequences of their acts Shame on them!

Charles Wilson, Columbia, SC, USA
I can only judge this traumatic event to the chess world from my home by reading the news online. But even so, it appears the Spanish Chess Federation has betrayed the entire chess world for self-serving political reasons. If the news has a fair amount of truth to it, the organizers of the event should be banned forever from participating in any way in any FIDE event. And Spain should be boycotted in protest of these actions. Yes, even Linares. It is a grave betrayal.

Peter Rhodes, London
There is no surpise here. I had dealings with Spanish Police on these small islands myself. They are a law unto themselves. All I can do is draw the reader to the strong relationship between a countries culture and its ability to create wealth and trust. The only lesson to be learnt is do not take a competition to a location where there is such a high level of corruption and lawlessness. What do you expect?

Thaboss, Germany
I think that FIDE, should punish the Spanish federation of chess, with some kind of sanctions like: taking from them the right to organize Fide Rated tournments for the next 10 years.

Joaquín Tébar, Madrid, Spain
I find your following of the scandal in Calvia, Mallorca, disturbing and biased. All but one of your articles only show the FIDE version and not the organiser's view. For example you don't show the letter by Mrs. where she attacks FIDE, but you include the pictures of the article where the letter appeared, why? In my opinion, because it defends the organisers, is it? I include the letter below to see if you change your mind and include other people's opinion (remember there's always both sides of the story). Just present the facts and let us decide who's right or wrong, Please.

Gyorgy Nagy, Budapest, Hungary
I am deeply shocked at what happened at the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad. I was going to spend some time as a tourist in Spain in the near future, but I will definitely not go to such a barbarian place and will also advise my friends not to go there either.

Arun, Chennai, India
It is very much disheartening to hear such a anti-sportiveness. No matter how good or bad the relation between Azmaiparashvili and the spanish organisers (and fedaration), the way Mr. Azmaiparashvili was handled is highly out of sportiveness and it shows clear preplanned brutal behaviour from the spanish fedration. I wish the people behind this to apologise to the chess world and also to Mr. Azmaiparashvili and pay him million dollars(depends on the Spanish court) as compensation.

Kenneth Ho, Hong Kong
In Spain, again! Some people may recall that in January 1996, during the Woman's World Championship held in Jaen city of Spain, something absurd happened. Xie Jun won the first game and agreed to draw the second and third games with Zsuzsa Polgar after 17 and 19 moves respectively. Mr Luis Rentero, seemed someone from Spain Chess Federation, issued letter to them and allegating them to produce such 'short games' and that they went to Jaen as 'chess tourists'. The harm this letter had made to the two ladies, I believe, is comparable to what Mr Zurab suffered this time, psychologically.

Stefan Haller, Hamburg, Germany
Der Präsident der Türkischen Schachföderation Ali Nihat Yazici schreibt zum Fall Azmaiparashvili: "Please call your sports minister. If this happened in my country (it would never happen) I would get the person released in a few minutes maximum." Dies offenbart ein äusserst seltsames (orientalisches?) Verständnis rechtsstaatlicher Verfahren. Ob eine Person in Haft gehalten wird entscheidet ein Haftrichter, und nicht irgendein "Amigo", den man in solchen Fällen schnell mal anruft.

Fernando, Santiago, Chile
Why this guy or anybody else from the chess world should think chess players are beyond the law and law envforcement? That person is a known vociferous individual and surely deserved every kick in the ass and every minutte he was in jail. Spain has been since lot of time a very friendly country for chess and chess players and the sheer idea some autority of Fide could think in retaliations is preposterous and imbecile.

José María Fayos Mestre, Madrid
It is completely shocking that Spain is in "Europe" and Mr. Nihat country is trying to, but the reason to delay is something about respecting human rights... as we have seen maybe the real reason is having efficient yellow pages. Ashamed, ashamed.

Open Letter to FIDE and the Georgian Chess Federation

by WGM Ana Matnadze

During last two weeks a significant number of world intellectuals were paying close attention to the World Chess Olympiad, 2004, which took place in Spain. It was a great festivity for both chess players and chess friends, but it was partly ruined by the terrible incident that happened during the closing ceremony involving Mr Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

I am not going to judge who was right and who was wrong; this is a privilege of Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies. I just want to say that if FIDE and Georgian Chess Federation had listened to and implemented the message of my open letter, which I wrote in June, 2004 with WGM Lela Javakhishvili and addressed it to FIDE and World Chess Society – "FIDE without Azmaiparashvili", this disgusting fact would not have occurred. If FIDE had published our letter on its web-site, if Mr.Georgios Makropoulos and other FIDE executives had taken the opportunity to express their opinion on Mr. Azmaiparashvili's actions and if FIDE had not limit itself only with an irrelevant response by Stefanova and Kovalevskaya, which provoked only wry smiles all around the world, I believe, that we would not have witnessed the spectacle, involving Mr. Azmaiparashvili, which ruined this beautiful day for all chess players.

I was completely shocked by the speeches of some representatives of the Georgian Chess Federation made during the press-conference, organized by the Georgian Chess Federation, on the 1st of November. We all understand that it is not an honorable action to hit a person, who is already on his/her knees, but how could we interpret words of some GrandMasters saying: "It's true, that Azmaiparashvili often provokes conflicts, but he is a real man and he protested against disrespect towards Georgia". How was disrespect shown towards Georgia and why has this issue become a political one? It's a nonsense. Why do they invoke the name of Nona Gaprindashvili to justify this incident? Some speakers at the press-conference did not even attend the closing ceremony and have no idea, how the incident happened. Maybe it would be better if these people, first of all, respected their country and Mrs. Nona Gaprindashvili and attended the ceremony of awarding a cup named after her? Or maybe, it would be better if Mr. Azmaiparashvili protested against the statement of the Israeli Men's Chess team, which accused the Georgian Team of intentionally and deliberately giving up their scores in the last round? This is where reputation of Georgia was indeed shaken.

Nobody would accuse Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies for their actions as far as they were following their duty and were protecting chess society both in their country and in the world. The time has come that everybody, FIDE, the Georgian Chess Federation, and Mr. Azmaiparashvili himself, start evaluating events and incidents that he is involved in and, finally, come to a relevant conclusion. Never having once been penalized before for his actions has led Mr Azmaiparashvili to believe that, for him, everything is permitted and this swaggering bravado threatens Azmaiparashvili's reputation, career and possibly even his life…

Concluding, I address FIDE and Georgian Chess Federation again to take into consideration all we have said above, to respect the opinions of all chess players, and to bridle the actions of ambitious and aggressive people.

Previous articles on the Azmai Saga

Ali Nihat Yazici on the Azmaiparashvili scandal
07.11.2004 Immediately after the FIDE VP was dragged off to the police station, the president of the Turkish chess federation burst into action. Here he gives a blow-by-blow account of his conversations with the Spanish organizers and federation officials. When he requested a lawyer for his friend Zurab he was told to look in the yellow pages!

Smoking gun in Azmaiparashvili case
05.11.2004 We've seen the before and after photos. Now we have some brutal "during" photos of the altercation between the FIDE VP and the Spanish police from Diario de Mallorca. Will this scandal lead to punitive action by FIDE against the Spanish organizers or federation? Time will tell. For now you can see these disturbing pictures.

Zurab Azmaiparashvili's two days in prison
04.11.2004 FIDE vice president Zurab Azmaiparashvili was attacked by security guards. Two days later he was released by a Spanish judge and was able to return to his native Georgia. We spoke to the battered GM immediately after his release. Let us know your opinion or express your support. Here is Zurab's harrowing story.

Scandal in Calvià, FIDE vice president arrested
31.10.2004 The 36th Chess Olympiad ended with a bang. But not the fireworks we displayed in our previous report, but with the arrest of FIDE vice president Zurab Azmaiparashvili, who tried to get the attention of the organisers on the stage and was wrestled to the floor and dragged to jail by a group of security agents. Hard to believe, but unfortunately true.

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