Wife of banned pro-Putin chess star decries ‘dirt and hypocrisy’
International chess bosses are tarnishing the game with “dirt and hypocrisy” by banning Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin for his support of President Vladimir Putin and the military operation in Ukraine, according to the star’s wife.
Karjakin was hit with a six-month ban by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) on Monday after his vocal backing of Putin and the Russian forces as they carry out their offensive in Ukraine.
The decision sees Karjakin barred for all tournaments under FIDE auspices, with the organization claiming that statements by the 32-year-old “have led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed by Sergey Karjakin.”
Karjakin’s wife, Galiya, has now lashed out at the decision in an angry message shared on Instagram Stories.
“Not everyone can play chess the way my husband does!” wrote Karjakina.
“The whole International Chess Federation was frightened and decided not to allow Sergey to enter official tournaments.
“The guys from FIDE hope to get into Olympic sports by currying favor with the IOC and other sports organizations. It doesn't work in other ways.
“Chess has always been a special sport for me! Chess is a sport for the elite, so I said and thought. Chess is a great game!
“And FIDE, with its policy, destroyed this exclusivity and sublimity of chess. Mixing chess with dirt and hypocrisy!
“It’s a pity that the International Chess Federation has dishonored chess so much!”
Karjakin himself responded to the decision on Monday by suggesting it was a cynical attempt to prevent him from appearing at the upcoming Candidates Tournament, where the opportunity will be on offer to set up a world title clash with Norwegian great Magnus Carlsen.
Karjakin met Carlsen in a world championship clash in New York in 2016, losing to the Norwegian in a series of tense tiebreaks after the best-of-12 match ended in a tie.
The Chess Federation of Russia has vowed it will appeal Karjakin’s ban, although the chess star has expressed doubts that the bid will be successful.
A former world rapid and blitz chess champion, Karjakin has been vocal in his support for Russia throughout its actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
Karjakin was born in the city of Simferopol in Crimea and represented Ukraine before switching to Russia in 2009. He vehemently backed Crimean reunification with Russia after the referendum of 2014 in the region.
As Moscow launched its military operation in Donbass and Ukraine last month, Karjakin penned an open letter to President Putin, saying “[Russia] is fighting for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine with its ruling regime, which has put the security of all of Europe and our country at risk, for the sake of its political goals and ambitions…
“I express to you, our commander-in-chief, full support in protecting the interests of Russia, our multinational Russian people, eliminating threats and establishment of peace! I wish you the speedy fulfillment of all the tasks assigned to our valiant army,” added the star.
Karjakin recently said on social media that he and his family had received death threats because of his stance.