Karjakin wants to become President of the Russian Chess Federation

by André Schulz
12/8/2022 – The Chechen federation has nominated the 2016 World Championship challenger to run against incumbent Andrey Filatov. Karjakin was banned for six months by the FIDE Ethics Commission for advocating Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and continues to be an ardent supporter of Putin. | Photo: Tass

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Russian media report that Sergey Karjakin is running for the post of President of the Russian Chess Federation. He is running against incumbent President Andrey Filatov, who has nominated Natalya Komarova, Alexander Zhukov, Andrey Guryev, Pavel Shinsky and Sergey Smagin as his vice-presidents for the upcoming election.

In Russian chess, candidates for the post of federation president are nominated by the regional federations. Filatov was nominated by the federations of Moscow, Amur, Bryansk, Vologda, Voronezh, Kemerovo, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Pskov, Tula, Yaroslavl, Transbaikal, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, as well as the federations of the republics of Altai, Bashkortostan, Dagestan, Crimea, Khakassia and Chuvashia. Sergey Karjakin received his nomination from the Chess Federation of Chechnya.

Sergey Karjakin announced his candidacy on his Telegram channel and said that he particularly wants to promote young talents. The election will take place at the next Congress of the Russian Chess Federation on 17 December in Moscow.

Filatov, the federation's president since 2014, looks back on a successful tenure in which the federation organised many top-class tournaments and Russian players and teams celebrated many successes.

After 2014 and under the leadership of Andrey Filatov the Russian Federation organised three World Championships in classical chess, three Candidates Tournaments and four World Championships in rapid and blitz chess. Three times Russian chess players were able to qualify for World Championship matches as challengers. Russian teams celebrated numerous successes and according to the Russian Chess Federation Russian children and juniors won over 200 medals at the World Junior Championships.

However, the series of successes ended with Russia's attack on Ukraine, as Russian players were excluded from events or are only allowed to participate under the FIDE flag. FIDE tournaments no longer take place in Russia.

Sergey Karjakin was born in Simferopol in Crimea in 1990. He was awarded the title of grandmaster at the age of twelve and held the record as the youngest grandmaster in chess history for 19 years. Karjakin played for the Ukrainian Chess Federation until 2009. After that he switched to the Russian Chess Federation.

For many years, Karjakin was one of the best players in the world and in the World Championship match in New York 2016 he challenged Magnus Carlsen for the title. After narrowly holding a couple of worse positions Karjakin took the lead in the match but lost the play-off after Carlsen equalised.

Karjakin is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and supported Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. After the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Karjakin published an Open Letter to Vladimir Putin in which he supported the Russia's invasion.

Photo: Karjakin/ Twitter

On 21 March 2022 the FIDE Ethics Commission then imposed a six-month ban on Karjakin for "public support of an unjustified military action", which is a violation of the FIDE Ethics Principles. Karjakin was then unable to take part in the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament, for which he had qualified. The ban expired in September.

Even after the verdict by the FIDE Ethics Commission, Karjakin was not deterred from propaganda actions and published, among other things, a photo showing him with the Victory symbol in front of the Moscow headquarters of the Wagner mercenary group.

Karjakin recently criticised FIDE for only allowing Russian and Belarusian players to participate in FIDE tournaments if they play under the FIDE flag.

Sergey Karyakin: "Some are pleased that this allows Russian and Belarusian chess players to play in FIDE tournaments. But I will not compete under the FIDE flag. It's a pity that FIDE is going this way."

In Karjakin's view, Russian players should be allowed to compete under their country's flag and FIDE should work to make that possible. This message is directed primarily at the Russian federation president of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, recently re-elected. It is the duty of the chess federation to defend the rights of Russian athletes, Karjakin says.

FIDE had extended the permission for Russian and Belarusian chess players to play under a neutral flag until 1 January 2024.

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.