BREAKING: Karjakin Banned For 6 Months, Misses Out On Candidates


The FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC) has banned GM Sergey Karjakin for six months from participating as a player in any FIDE rated chess competition. The 32-year-old Russian grandmaster, who is a fierce supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was punished for his recent statements on social media and will be missing out on this year’s FIDE Candidates Tournament.

The First Instance Chamber of the FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC), formed by Yolander Persaud (Guyana), Ravindra Dongre (India), and Johan Sigeman (Sweden) as Chairperson, unanimously decided that Karjakin was found guilty of breach of article 2.2.10 of the FIDE Code of Ethics. The sanction is a six-month, worldwide ban from participating as a player in any FIDE rated chess competition, taking effect from March 21, 2022.

The specific article of the Code of Ethics reads as follows:

“(…) Disciplinary action in accordance with this Code of Ethics will be taken in cases of occurrences which cause the game of chess, FIDE or its federations to appear in an unjustifiable unfavorable light and in this way damage its reputation.”

In a 10-page document (here in PDF), the members of the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission write:

The statements by Sergey Karjakin on the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine has led to a considerable number of reactions on social media and elsewhere, to a large extent negative towards the opinions expressed by Sergey Karjakin. (…)

A necessary condition for the establishment of guilt is that the statements have reached the public domain. This concept, with respect to disrepute clauses in sport, is not the world at large but the sport in which the accused engages, such as chess. Information concerning the accused’s conduct which is not published in the media, but which can be learnt without a great deal of labour by persons engaged in the chess world or a relevant part of it, will be in the public domain and satisfy the public exposure element. The EDC Chamber is comfortably satisfied that this condition is fulfilled in this case.

The EDC Chamber finds, against the background given above, on the standard of comfortable satisfaction that the statements of Sergey Karjakin, which, by his own choice and presentation, can be connected to the game of chess, damage the reputation of the game of chess and/or FIDE. The likelihood that these statements will damage the reputation of Sergey Karjakin personally is also considerable.

Karjakin could have appealed the decision at the Appeal Chamber of the EDC within three weeks of time, but decided not to do so.

Karjakin, who was born in Simferopol, Crimea and switched federations from Ukraine to Russia in 2009, won the FIDE Candidates tournament in 2016. In early March, the Norway Chess and London Chess Classic tournaments as well as the Grand Chess Tour decided not to invite him to their tournaments anymore as the Russian GM continues to support Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.

Karjakin’s reaction

Shortly after the news came fout, Karjakin gave the following reaction on his Telegram channel:

An expected, but no less shameful decision by FIDE. All selection criteria normally applied in sports have been trampled, the basic principle that sport is not mixed with politics has been trampled.

I went through the toughest selection through the World Cup to the Candidates Tournament. Winning it would take me to the world championship match. Alas, FIDE disgraced not me, but themselves. And now we can all be convinced that the international sports officials, who have been banning Russian Olympians in recent years with or without cause, have reached chess, which has always been far from this lawlessness.

And most importantly. First of all, I am a patriot of my country, and only secondly – an athlete. If my thoughts return to the situation when I supported the president of Russia, the people and the army, then I would have done exactly the same. I do not regret anything.

Thank you very much to my fans, from whom I receive support from all over the world! Life will surely put everything in its place.

Shipov not sanctioned

GM Sergei Shipov, a well-known chess commentator in Russia and also a supporter of the Russian government in the war, was not sanctioned. The commission members explained:

In comparison with Sergey Karjakin, Sergei Shipov is considerably less known and has, therefore, a less powerful platform. The statements made by Sergei Shipov are also of a slightly different and less provocative character than the ones made by Karjakin. In an overall evaluation of the potential negative impact on the game of chess and/or FIDE, the EDC Chamber is not sufficiently convinced that Sergei Shipov’s statements qualify as a breach of article 2.2.10.

Ding Liren

Karjakin missing out on the FIDE Candidates Tournament (June 16-July 7, 2022 in Madrid, Spain) is an unexpected but distant chance for world number three GM Ding Liren, who could not play in the FIDE Grand Prix due to visa issues and therefore couldn’t qualify for the Candidates. The regulations (here in PDF) state the following:

2.3 If any replacement is needed, the highest-rated player in the FIDE May 2022 standard rating list shall be invited, provided he/she has at least 30 standard games rated in the FIDE rating lists from June 2021 to May 2022.

However, the problem for Ding is that he has only played four rated games in this period and so he would need to play 26 more games before May. 


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