Azmaiparashvili in the news; released from jail

by ChessBase
11/1/2004 – The bizarre scuffle during the closing ceremony of the Calvià Olympiad made various mainstream reports. We have press releases from the organizers and FIDE. Azmai has been released and an interview is forthcoming. For now we have some alarming pictures.

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The truth will out

With the inevitable headline "Police checkmate chess grandmaster," the UK newspaper the Guardian ran a story on FIDE VP Zurab Azmaiparashvili's arrest in Spain on charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. The story is co-authored by senior chess author Leonard Barden. The details are familiar to ChessBase readers.

"In the rugby field, certainly. On the football pitch, probably. But yesterday, the usually genteel game of chess was embroiled in its own version of the soup scandal when a grandmaster was arrested at the closing ceremony of the chess olympiad for allegedly headbutting a policeman." [In case you missed soup-gate.]

We have just received word that Zurab Azmaiparashvili has been released and that a hearing is pending. He was let out of Mallorca jail at 14:30 local time today. He spoke at length with ChessBase's Frederic Friedel in an interview that will come out in a few days. Meanwhile, we have a few shocking pictures by Albert Vasse taken during the interview in which you can see the effects the altercation had on the FIDE Vice President.

The Spanish Olympiad organizers and chess federation president issued a press release in response to FIDE's first regarding the events at the closing ceremony that led to Azmaiparashvili's arrest. We give it in full below.

FIDE Press Release - Calvia, 1st of November 2004

FIDE International Chess Federation Vice President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili freed from custody, after 40h of detention following an aggression by security guards at the Closing Ceremony of the 36th Chess Olympiad.

FIDE Federation Internationale Des Echecs Vice President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili has been released from custody by the Palmanova police in Mallorca at 14h30 local time on November 1st 2004, after having been held for over 40 hours by the Spanish police.

The local judge has accepted this release after a deposit of 500 euros was paid. He also said that there will be a full hearing of the case at a later date.

Vice President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili maintains his position that this was an unmotivated aggression by the security guards at the Closing Ceremony of the 36th Calvia Chess Olympiad. He was indeed severely beaten and has still now a big black eye. He will be undergoing very soon an independent medical examination to fully assess his health condition.

His arrest took place on the 30th of October 2004 at the Chess Olympiad Closing Ceremony as it was coming to an end. A special prize bearing the name of a prominent female Georgian player and former World Chess Champion, Nona Gaprindashvili was about to be awarded. However, the Master of Ceremony failed to explain the reason behind the award.

FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili, who is a Georgian, tried to notify this to the organizers, who did nothing to correct this incredible mistake. Despite his clear VIP identification, FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili was severely beaten up by several security guards, according to witnesses. Persons near by, including his wife, Mrs. Marina Milorava, were then themselves beaten up as they attempted to help him.

FIDE is very pleased with this release and regrets this aggression for which the Organisers of the Calvia Olympiad share full responsibility. FIDE still awaits public excuses from both the Calvia Olympiad Organisers and the Spanish Chess Federation, who have both been of no support to FIDE to help the release of FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili.



The Organization Committee of the XXXVI Chess Olympiad and the Spanish Chess Federation, after considering the International Chess Federation’s (FIDE) press statement released yesterday, would like to clarify the following issues:

When the Closing Ceremony of the XXXVI Chess Olympiad was coming to an end, with international, local and regional authorities present on the stage, Mr. Azmaiparashvili tried to gain admittance to the stage on several occasions without authorization. At that moment an agent of the Spanish Police, an elite force that specializes in the security of international events, tried to avoid his admittance to the stage, in accordance with the protocol of the event.

Mr. Azmaiparashvili, without any previous provocation, assaulted the agent with a head butt to his mouth. This aggression caused his arrest, after offering a strong resistance, and subsequent transfer to the Police station, to bring him before the judge.

As the Police Commander explained to the press, the aggression was witnessed by many eyewitnesses. Mr. Azmaiparashvili is at present under arrest, charged with assault and resistance to the authority.

From the first moment of Mr. Azmaiparashvili’s arrest, the whole process is under judicial control, as in any European Union country, Independent medical and legal assistance are guaranteed.

We know that Mr. Azmaiparashvili has apologized to the assaulted policeman, recognizing his faults. The policeman has suffered injuries that have forced him to take sick leave.

Both the organizers and the President of the FEDA, Mr. Javier Ochoa de Echagüen offered the FIDE executives all sorts of facilities, as well as a list of lawyers for Mr. Azmaiparashvili’s defence.

With regard to the prize giving, the protocol at all moment followed the instructions received from FIDE. The Nona Gaprindashvili trophy was given to Russia by the FIDE Honorary President. If there was a protocol error, of which the organization has found no evidence, in no way can it justify the violence exerted by Mr. Aizmaparashvili.

Therefore, the Organising Committee of the XXXVI Chess Olympiad and the Spanish Chess Federation would like to state our indignation with regard to the surprising FIDE press release, and request:

1º The rectification of the lies and distortions, probably caused by the hurry in the emission of the FIDE press release, adjusting it to what really happened.

2º Once the responsibilities have been delimited, disciplinary measures must be adopted with regard to such a serious matter, the centre of attention of which was an executive of the highest body of the FIDE.

Spanish Chess Federation
Mr. Javier Ochoa de Echagüen

Organizing Committee of the XXXVI Chess Olympiad
General Director
Mr. Antonio Rami

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