Monday, January 21, 2008

Shake Hands Or Else!

A huge uproar has come up in Corus that threatens to turn things on the head.

The Round 8 Corus B game between Nigel Short and Ivan Cheparinov descended into chaos after Ivan Cheparinov refused to shake hands with Nigel Short (presumably still sore over Short's comments about Topalov's behaviour during the Kramnik-Topalov match in 2006) and was forfeited in favour of Short. Cheparinov was of course, Topalov's second during that much heated match.

For more details, please see ChessVibes website which has also put up a short interview over this news breaking story. Chessbase has also put up some information on their website.

This is a very interesting development considering that Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov are scheduled to play each other for the next game and we all know how "chummy" these 2 people are with each other the last time they met. Just so you know, in last year's Corus, Topalov refused to shake hands with Kramnik during their game.

The Topalov team are planning an appeal against today's decision to the Appeals Committee. The irony of it all is that Vladimir Kramnik is one of the members of the Appeals Committee so the Topalov camp is in effect, appealing to Kramnik. :)

Transcript of Short's video interview on Chessvibes below:

(start of interview)

Reporter (R): Nigel Short, you just won your game over Cheparinov in a very odd manner. What happened?

Nigel Short (S): Well, yeah. It was a fairly short game. It was my quickest game so far. So I came to the board and I opened 1. e4. My opponent was not there. He arrived after a few minutes.... (he) sat down... I was standing up at that time. He sat down and quickly played c5. I came back to the board immediately because I was nearby... and I stood by, offering my hand to him. And he was very pointedly looking down at his scoresheet, somehow, down, sort of out of the way. So I was standing there for quite sometime with my hand. It was very clear that he didn't want to shake my hand but just for clarity, I sat down at the board, waited for sometime until I caught his eye. Then I put my hand across, and he sort of shrugged or ... just sort of, you know, indicated that he sort of doesn't want to shake hands.

R: Didn't shake hands?

S: Refused to shake hands and I so informed the arbiters, one of whom has seen the situation and I claimed the win.

R: Because recently, there has been a new rule, (from) FIDE, you would say?

S: That's correct. Well, the rule states that, if you refuse to shake hands, this is punishable with an immediate forfeit.

R: It's already in the official rules?

S: Yeah. It's a (FIDE) presidential board decision. It's on behaviour and I think, it appeared in June of last year.

R: Were the arbiters aware of this?

S: No.

R: What happened?

S: Well, in my experience, maybe I'm completely biased here but there are only 25% of arbiters who know their job properly but it is a difficult thing to do because the regulations are not updated. The FIDE website is not updated (as) it should be. So then I informed them that it was on the FIDE website. The other players, they were very well aware of it - it had been up there on the FIDE website for days.... so the players were well aware of it, that this thing existed. And they duly located the presidential board decision and that's it.

R: So I guess this is the first time that this rule is applied then?

S: Yes that's correct. Yep.

R: And so what do you think of it?

S: History making (laughs).

R: What will be the consequences of this now?

S: I think people will think very carefully about making calculated insults like this. And it was clearly (a) very deliberate, very calculated insult on his part. So....

R: So personally...?

S: Personally, I have no disagreements with Cheparinov. In fact, I barely conversed with him. I've never played him before but he is of course part of the Danailov-Topalov camp and they were unhappy with some remarks I made on the Kramnik-Topalov match. So, in my opinion, if you're looking for an answer, you have to ask Cheparinov himself for his motive. It would say to be a collective decision by the Bulgarian camp. Ok.

(end of interview)

Nigel Short is of course referring to the following ruling:

FIDE ruling

Behavioural norms of players in chess events

Having discussed several recent cases in different chess tournaments where the attitude of players toward their opponent or officials, journalists etc. was not acceptable under conventional social behaviour, the FIDE Presidential Board – at the suggestion of President Ilyumzhinov – decided on setting up strict rules regarding such behaviour.

Any player who does not shake hands with the opponent (or greets the opponent in a normal social manner in accordance with the conventional rules of their society) before the game starts in a FIDE tournament or during a FIDE match (and does not do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) or deliberately insults his/her opponent or the officials of the event, will immediately and finally lose the relevant game.

Regarding a more comprehensive set of behavioural and ethical norms to be followed, FIDE Ethics Commission and the Arbiter’s Council are to elaborate guidelines for the players. The guidelines will be published on the FIDE website.


Update: Cheparinov has won his appeal and the game is rescheduled for tomorrow. Short has indicated that he will not turn up for the match.

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