This is the stuff that makes international chess so entertaining…
Remember a year ago when Topalov and Danailov made an uproar about Kramnik’s frequent visits to the mens room during the match for the World Chess Championship (visits that were most likely smoking breaks)?
During the last couple of days another stupid incident took place in Wijk aan Zee, once again with the Bulgarians in the headlines:
[Nigel] Short came to the board, and with his opponent absent, he played the move 1.e4, and walked away. A few minutes later, Cheparinov came to the board, sat down, and played 1…c5. As Short came over, and held out his hand for the traditional pre-game handshake, Cheparinov pointedly kept his head down over the board and his scoresheet. After a few moments, Short sat down, and waited for Cheparinov to raise his head. When he did so, Short again extended his hand, only for Cheparinov to shrug in refusal.
Short then stood up and approached the arbiter, pointing out that his opponent’s actions are a breach of FIDE rules, which prescribe an immediate forfeit as the penalty for refusing the handshake. […] “It was clearly a calculated insult”, said Short. The arbiter was forced to agree, and the official tournament record now shows the game Short-Cheparinov as having gone 1.e4 c5 1-0.
That was not the end of it though…
In case you were wondering, I was being ironic in the headline. The last thing international chess needs right now is a bunch of dimwits destroying the sport while acting like a bunch of teenagers (hint: by ‘dimwits’ I mean Bulgarian topplayers affiliated with Danailov). What Cheparinov did was despicable. Luckily, even if the game should never, never have been replayed, it did turn out reasonably well. However I’d have preferred that Cheparinov had been thrown out of the tournament altogether. If so, the message would have been clear enough even for Danailov to understand it: If you behave like an asshole, don’t expect to be allowed to participate in top tournaments.
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