‘Stop the war.’ 44 Top Russian Players Publish Open Letter To Putin


Forty-four top Russian chess players published an open letter to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, voicing firm opposition to the war in Ukraine and expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Signees include the most recent world championship challenger, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi; 12th Women’s World Champion and Director of ChesscomRU, GM Alexandra Kostenyuk; eight-time Russian champion, GM Peter Svidler; GM Andrey Esipenko; GM Daniil Dubov; and many more.

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Absent from the list of signees are the five Russian participants of the ongoing FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade, though FIDE General Director GM Emil Sutovsky expressed on Twitter that Grand Prix participants were likely unable to sign for technical reasons. GM Alexander Grischuk and reigning Russian Champion GM Nikita Vitiugov, in particular, have previously voiced their clear opposition to the war, Grischuk in a press conference statement following game one and Vitiugov in a statement on Twitter.

Also unsurprisingly absent from the list of signees is current candidate and former World Championship 2016 Challenger GM Sergey Karjakin, whose pro-war statements have led FIDE to open an ethics investigation of his conduct. Also missing is former world champion GM Anatoly Karpov, who is a member of the Duma, the lower branch of the Russian parliament, and who voted to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Karpov and other members who voted accordingly have been sanctioned by the European Union.

Appeal of the Russian chess players to the President of the Russian Federation

“We are against any military action on the territory of Ukraine and call for an immediate ceasefire and a peaceful decision to the conflict through the path of dialogue and diplomatic negotiations. For us, it is unbearably painful to see the catastrophe that is happening these days with our people.

“We’ve played for Russia in individual and, which is a special honor, team competitions. We are sure that chess and sports in general should unite people. Our country has done its best to organize the most complex and prestigious international events even on the peak of the pandemic.

“Chess teaches you to be responsible for your actions; each move is meaningful and a mistake can bring you to a fatal point of no return. This used to be a sport, but now the human lives, human rights and freedoms, human dignity, the present and the future of our countries are at stake.

“During these tragic days we are thinking of all the people caught in the midst of this frightful conflict. We share the pain of our Ukrainian colleagues and call for peace.”

We share the pain of our Ukrainian colleagues and call for peace.

“The Ukrainian chess team is the reigning European team champion and one of the strongest teams in the world, like ours. We’ve played tens of matches and hundreds of games. For us, fair competition has always been above politics, and the Ukrainians shared this feeling. We beg you to preserve the chance for mutual respect among the teams, players and people from both countries.

“We support peace. Stop the war.”

List of signees:

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