Wijk R08: Cheparinov forfeits on handshake, appeals

1/21/2008 – In the B Group Nigel Short offered his opponent Ivan Cheparinov the traditional handshake, which was twice refused. Short protested, the arbiters defaulted Cheparinov, whose manager Silvio Danailov lodged a protest. The Appeals Committee decided the game should be replayed after an apology. But Tuesday's game Topalov-Kramnik may exacerbate the situation. Documents and video.

Round eight express

Report from Wijk aan Zee by Steve Giddins

As regular readers of my reports will know, I usually try to start with a light-hearted digression. Today, however, I have to report something far more serious, indeed, one of the most extraordinary episodes I have ever heard of, let alone witnessed, at an international chess tournament. It occurred in the B Group, where Britain’s Nigel Short is playing. Today he faced Ivan Cheparinov, with the white pieces. Short came to the board, and with his opponent absent, he played the move 1.e4, and walked away. A few minutes later, Cheparinov came to the board, sat down, and played 1…c5. As Short came over, and held out his hand for the traditional pre-game handshake, Cheparinov pointedly kept his head down over the board and his scoresheet. After a few moments, Short sat down, and waited for Cheparinov to raise his head. When he did so, Short again extended his hand, only for Cheparinov to shrug in refusal.

Short then stood up and approached the arbiter, pointing out that his opponent’s actions are a breach of FIDE rules, which prescribe an immediate forfeit as the penalty for refusing the handshake. The arbiter was not even aware of this rule, which was announced only recently. He was asked to check, and after going away to do so, he duly found it on the FIDE website. After consulting with Cheparinov, and explaining the situation, the arbiter told Short that Cheparinov was now prepared to shake hands after all. However, given that he had already twice refused to do so, and that Short’s equanimity had by now been totally destroyed, the latter insisted that the offence had already occurred, and that Cheparinov should be forfeited. “It was clearly a calculated insult”, said Short. The arbiter was forced to agree, and the official tournament record now shows the game Short-Cheparinov as having gone 1.e4 c5 1-0.

Nigel Short explaining what had just transpired to journalists in the press centre...

...and especially to our correspondent Steve Giddins (seated)

An incredible situation. Short says that he personally has no issue with Cheparinov at all, but he presumes that the incident arose out of past comments that Short has made to the press, concerning the events of the “Toiletgate” match in Elista, and subsequent cheating allegations made against Topalov. Cheparinov is Topalov’s regular second, and both are managed by Silvio Danailov. Tomorrow is the second rest day here at Corus, which gives an extra 24 hours for the repercussions to rumble on. Of course, it is open to Cheparinov to lodge an appeal. With delicious humour, however, Short pointed out that one member of the tournament Appeals Committee, is... Vladimir Kramnik!

As they say in the press, watch this space!

Video footage of the incident on YouTube [Source: Chessdom]

FIDE ruling

Behavioural norms of players in chess events

Having discussed several recent cases in different chess tournaments where the attitude of players toward their opponent or officials, journalists etc. was not acceptable under conventional social behaviour, the FIDE Presidential Board – at the suggestion of President Ilyumzhinov – decided on setting up strict rules regarding such behaviour.

Any player who does not shake hands with the opponent (or greets the opponent in a normal social manner in accordance with the conventional rules of their society) before the game starts in a FIDE tournament or during a FIDE match (and does not do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) or deliberately insults his/her opponent or the officials of the event, will immediately and finally lose the relevant game.

Regarding a more comprehensive set of behavioural and ethical norms to be followed, FIDE Ethics Commission and the Arbiter’s Council are to elaborate guidelines for the players. The guidelines will be published on the FIDE website.

Press release distributed in the press centre at 17:00h

Official appeal by Ivan Cheparinov

Dear All,

Today during the start of the round the following accident happened.

Mr. Cheparinov refused to shake hands with Mr. Short before the game.

The reason was: some time ago in one of his interviews Mr. Short insulted him and our team gravely.

After that, Mr.Short complained to the Chief Arbiter of the Tournament ,who without previous warning immediately decide to put defeat to Mr.Cheparinov. According to the rules of FIDE, this decision is illegal.

There is a recommendation from the FIDE Presidential Board in Tallin June 2007about the Behavioural norms of players in chess events: http://fide.com/news.asp?id=1391.

First of all, this is only recommendation, not an official FIDE rule because this recommendation must be approved on FIDE congress during the chess Olympiad in Dresden, November 2008.

Even more, if the Arbiter would like to follow the recommendation of the FIDE PB in Tallin ,he made a big mistake ,because obviously he did not even check carefully the recommendation.

Before to defeat the player he must ask him officially on the stage, that if he does not shake hand again he will be defeated.

Instead of this ,the Chief Arbiter call Mr.Cheparinov to the private room and told him that he lost the game.

Mr.Cheparinov replay ,that according to the recommendation (!) of FIDE he should ask him to shake hands ,before to take any decision.

Even more ,Mr.Cheparinov told him very clearly that if he oblige him to do this ,he is ready to do it.

Unexpectedly, the Arbiter did not pay any attention to his explanations and took the decision to defeat him.

We protest this illegal decision, and kindly ask to replay the game in one of the following rest days.

Signed: Silvio Danailov,
Manager of Ivan Cheparinov

Cheparinov (and Topalov) manager Silvio Danailov preparing his appeal

... and talking to journalists in the press center

Decision of the Appeals Committee in the dispute between GMs Ivan Cheparinov and Nigel Short (English)

January 20 2008 – Corus Chess Press

Decision of the Appeals Committee in the dispute between Grandmasters Ivan Cheparinov and Nigel Short (8th round Grandmastergroup B) on January 20th 2008.

The Appeals Committee (GMs Vladimir Kramnik, Michal Krasenkow, Judit Polgar) agrees that refusal to shake hands with one’s opponent before the game is an obvious violation of the behavioural norms of players in chess events.

According to the decision of FIDE Presidential Board taken in June 2007, any player who doesn’t shake hands with his/her opponent (and doesn’t do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) will immediately lose the game.

However, according to the information obtained by the Appeals Committee, in the relevant case GM Cheparinov, after his initial refusal to shake hands with GM Short, didn’t clearly reject the arbiter’s request to do so.


  1. We declare that GM Cheparinov must make a public excuse to GM Short in a written form before 11.00 hours January 21st 2008 for his refusal to shake hands.
  2. Then the game between Ivan Cheparinov and Nigel Short has to be replayed on Monday January 21st 2008 at 13.30 hours.
  3. Both players must shake hands at the start of the game.
  4. Any player failing to comply with the present decision forfeits the game.

In order to avoid any conflicts in future we suggest the following procedure in similar cases: if one of the players deliberately refuses to shake his/her opponent’s offered hand at the start of the game, the arbiter shall officially warn him/her and demand him/her to do so. Only if the player again refuses to shake hand, he/she automatically forfeits the game.

Addendum: Apparently there is no handshake planned for the Topalov-Kramnik game on Tuesday. In an interview an in the Bulgarian sports news agency SportNi Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov was asked: "On Tuesday Topalov plays Kramnik. FIDE has said the players will have to pay a fine of they do not shake hands." Danailov's answer: "I think there will be no shake of hands because nobody will give his hand first."

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