This March 28th Sergey Karjakin gave a new controversial interview. For Russia-1 TV and the pro-Kremlin journalist Korchevnikov. Karjakin expressed his opinion, among other things, on the 6 months FIDE ban, his compatriot Ian Nepomniachtchi, and the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
Carlsen’s coach Peter Heine Nielsen followed-up the interview with a swift reaction and called for a new ban on Karjakin
Here are some bits of the long Karjakin interview for Russia-1.
Korchevnikov: Your six months ban is now long gone. You could have started competing long time ago.
Karjakin: The question is not that I could not participate 6 months in competitions rather that there was a very important event – the Candidates Tournament. The winner of this tournament could participate in the race for the title of World Champion. I have been denied this opportunity […] This is the highest of events and I am deeply offended. After that there was a tournament in the USA, but a Russian citizen could participate only if he signs a letter that you are against the Special Operation (ed.note the War Russia-Ukraine). So it turns out that you have to betray your country to participate.
Korchevnikov: So it turns out that the ban is over, but you have to necessarily sign this “pasquil” to participate in the competition, yet not under your country’s flag?
Karjakin: Yes, not under your country’s flag, this is 100% out of question.
Korchevnikov: Can you explain this to me. For me the beauty, the meaning of sport is to participate in a competition (defending) under flag (symbol) of your country.
Karjakin: I totally agree with you. I took a decision for myself a year ago not to participate in this way. I have stated my position long time ago. I do not judge the people that participate at tournaments at any cost. But this is not my way. The only thing I want to add to this topic is that the Russian Chess Federation took the correct decision to move from the European Chess Union to the Asian Chess Federation (ed. note see the ECU reaction here). This transfer will give us a chance to participate in Asian championships and they are much stronger than the European. Because now China and India have the best chess schools in the world.
Korchevnikov: But still there are [players] which participate and agree to this deal with their consciousness [with no flag, signing the anti-war letter]. Your colleague Ian, whose family name says it all [ed. note Nepomniachtchi roughly translates to “not remembering”] signed everything, signed this denial of his own country, and went on to compete under a neutral flag.
Karjakin: We stopped communicating with Ian an year ago. We have played many years together for the national team. But so to say, our ways have parted. Many people cannot judge right. As one of those negative examples we can give the statement of the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who in general always has his own opinions. [Carlsen] looked normal, he is a European, yes he has doubts, but he always expressed normally when participating in discussions. And suddenly he said that Russians should not participate in international tournaments at all.
Korchevnikov: But this is fascism. Just fascism, right?
Karjakin: I was reluctant [shy/coy] to say this, but maybe it is.
[Follows a segment where Korchevnikov ardently speaks against Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen]
Korchevnikov: And now this Ian Nepomniachtchi will play against who?
Karjakin: With the Chinese Ding Liren.
Korchevnikov: Who are you rooting for?
Karjakin: From a chess player point of view, this match will be interesting, from a fan point of view it is not so important.