Chess News

Public Reactions About Vassily Ivanchuk’s Case

No decision yet, case referred to the FIDE Medical Commission

A brief announcement on the FIDE website clarified that “Vassily Ivanchuk’s case” has been handed to the FIDE Medical Commission:

Under the FIDE Anti Doping rules, the Ivanchuk case has been referred to the FIDE Medical Commission which has to meet within three months. No decision has yet been taken by any party, and GM Ivanchuk will be able to state his case to the Medical Commission.

There have been many reactions since an interview with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov appeared in Russian “Sport-Express”. The first to raise his voice was GM Alexey Shirov with an open letter to ChessBase:

According to the Russian totally non-free chess journalist Yuri Vasiliev (fortunately not the most reliable one whom we know for bringing up the ghost of Alexander Chernenko) Ilyumzhinov has already stated that Vasily Ivanchuk might get severely sanctioned for the doping test refusal after his game against Gata Kamsky.
Can we believe such news? A player who has been in the very top for more than twenty years since winning New York Open in the beginning of 1988, an absolute record from currently active players, gets banned simply because he wanted to calm down after a lost game? Boris Spassky has already given his opinion about the situation, but it’s not published anywhere. Suddenly Ilyumzhinov wants to say that the rules are the rules.
But the rules don’t seem legal to me unfortunately. IOC has never guaranteed that chess would become the Olympic sport, so the FIDE policy in licking their posterior is at least questionable. After the success of Intellectual games festival in Beijing it’s time to STOP trying to get into the Olympic movement. I personally feel guilty for participating in the Olympic exhibition in Sydney 2000, but at least then it seemed that the chessplayers were going to be welcome with open heart. As it hasn’t happened we have our way and we cannot lose our best representatives like this.
If FIDE and Ilyumzhinov don’t stop destroying our intellectual sport something should be done. At least step by step. I hope Mr. Hans-Arild Runde would not mind to keep calculating Ivanchuk’s results, so any organizers who still respect our game should deal with him and no longer give the official rating reports to FIDE. In fact the rating reports are generated automatically nowadays, but somebody should still control that they are not changed by canceling results.

A Facebook Group created to support Vassily Ivanchuk already gathered 323 members. Mig Greengard wrote earlier on Chessninja.com (read the full post):

According to the rules, Ivanchuk’s Olympiad results could be stripped and he could even be banned for two years. I refuse to believe either of these things will happen. It usually requires the high-profile breaking of a stupid rule for its stupidity to be clearly seen by all. Consider it a constitutional challenge, the way bad laws get overturned all the time in the US.

There are different opinions. Agency Focus quotes Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, FIDE Vice President:

“Ivanchuk is a good friend of mine, but my basic position on this issue is: it was a big mistake not to attend the doping control and awarding ceremony. If you ask me, what kind of punishment the Ukrainian Grandmaster deserves, I will answer that he should be warned for being absent from the awarding ceremony, but for the primary violation Vassily should be punished as any other athlete. For example, as my countrywoman Suriya Ayhan was penalized, with two years ban from competition. We consider chess to be a sport and we have to obey the regulation. We don’t have the right to make exceptions for anyone,” said Yazici, cited by Ukrainian Edition Sport Segodnya.

Finally, popular Russian blogger Mihail Homich succeeded in getting a short statement from Vassily Ivanchuk himself:

All this looks like a complete delusion! But such spectacles can happen in our world. I just left, nervous after the lost game, and did not listen to a man whom I saw for the first time in my life, and still do not know who that was. This is such a comedy :-)

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