Chess News

Vladimir Kramnik: “I am not going to participate in this moral degradation show”

Russian grandmaster and the 14th World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik yesterday participated in’s Online Rapid Chess Championship. Kramnik was disappointed with the new online flagging fashion, writing on his account: “Thank you, it was the first and last time I participate in this event. It is decadence and shame flagging like almost everyone does. I am not going to participate in this moral degradation show :)“. Kramnik later amended the text, and explained in details what happened. (scroll down for the full text)

“I would like to thank for organising this set of tournaments and giving me a chance to play in one of the events. Unfortunately, I have decided to participate only twice, yesterday was my first and last time playing it. Was unpleasantly surprised by the general attitude (fortunately not every player follows it yet) to flag the opponents in dead drawish or dead lost position. I understand that rules (no increment) allow it but in my old-fashioned opinion there are moral values which should be even more important as official ones and such concepts as respect towards chess, your opponent and dignity is even more valuable. Ironically, one of the opponents who cinically flagged me having rook against knight and pawn had a nick “Fairplay (something)”.

To avoid missunderstanding, I enjoyed playing chess a bit after a long break and in any case couldn’t participate in the final on Sunday because must be traveling this day. Just feeling uneasy realizing that the world of chess have changed significantly and what was supposed to be shameful and dirty play becoming a “new normal”. No doubt with such an “easy” attitude cheating will also become morally accepted, just a matter of time. To my conservative standard, being a strong grandmaster, flagging in rapid chess is unacceptable in general, and doing it against a veteran who is twice older than you and a former world champion is just unthinkable and shameful. I suspect new generation has new moral and cultural codes but I would still stay with mine and out of principle refrain from taking part in what I consider a moral and cultural degradation show. This no increment set of tournaments on shows clearly to my regret that nowadays the only way to keep chess a “gentleman game” is to force players being gentleman by adding increment, having very strict anticheating measures, etc.  

As to me, would rather play incognito friendly online matches with players who has similar values, in case I feel like playing a bit of chess, because taking part in the tournament where many players violate basic fair play rules is quite depressing for me. I have known better times with very different unwritten moral standards, when such things were simply unacceptable, and not going to adopt to those decadent new “normalities”. wrote Kramnik.

After 9 played games at the Rapid Chess Championship, Vladimir Kramnik scored 5 points. He lost two games being flagged against Dmitry Andreikin (FairChess_On_Youtube) and Vincent Keymer (VincentKeymer). In the first game played against Andreikin, Kramnik had a theoretically drawn endgame with Knight + pawn against the Rook, but lost on time. In the game against Keymer, Vladimir had a completely winning position with Rook, Bishop and a pawn against the Rook. Despite better time control, Keymer eventually “flagged” the former world Champion.

Replay the game – Dmitry Andreikin – Vladimir Kramnik 1-0, Rapid Championship, July 2nd, 2022

Replay the game – Vincent Keymer – Vladimir Kramnik 1-0, Rapid Championship, July 2nd, 2022

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