The ACP Board strongly condemns and protests the actions of Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili in his capacity as World Cup Organiser.
Bullying and threatening the player taking part in your event is unacceptable, doing it right before the game is even a bigger sin.
The dress-code policy in the tournament is vague, and it is not even clear if Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov has violated it – but that’s not the point, as up to that moment, he was not even warned about any possible violation, wearing the very same attire in the previous rounds. And then, all of a sudden, he is threatened and insulted. No player can be treated this way and this is unacceptable. Grandmaster Kovalyov felt he got no choice but to leave the tournament, and we understand his decision.
Incidentally, Mr. Azmaiparashvili is not only the Organiser, but also the Chairman of the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee, that is the only body that can correct the actions of arbiters and organizers! This should not have happened, and we strongly blame FIDE for creating this conflict of interest.
We do not expect FIDE to act, and we do not believe they will do anything to remedy the situation. We address the global chess community and national federations.
Doesn’t chess deserve better? Shall we swallow another bitter pill all again? Shall the players feel themselves like secondary creatures, accept these insults and obey? Isn’t it the time to unite and take a STRONG stand? If you feel it’s the time to change the situation drastically, please join our protest and sign this letter.
Here is an official statement from GM Anton Kovalyov on his FB page.
“I wanted to wait a little till I calm down, but I’m tired of seeing lies everywhere. So here’s what happened:
The issue were not the shorts but how I was treated. I came to the game and was approached by the arbiter asking me to change (first time). I told him that I don’t have pants with me, and then I noticed that I was playing black instead of white, which came as a surprise for me and asked him to check that. He and the other arbiters checked and confirmed to me that I’m playing with black, we talked a little and everything was fine.
Then came Zurab, he was very agressive, yelling at me and using the racial slur “gypsy” to insult me, apart from mentioning several times that I will be punished by FIDE. I told him that I had asked before at the previous world cup if what I was wearing was OK and I was told by somebody from the organization that yes. Zurab, in a prepotent way, said he doesn’t care, he’s the organizer now. At this point I was really angry but tried not to do anything stupid, and asked him why he was so rude to me, and he said because I’m a gypsy.
So imagine this, the round is about to start, I’m being bullied by the organizer of the tournament, being assured that I will be punished by FIDE, yelled at and racially insulted. What would you do in my situation? I think many people would have punched this person in the face or at least insulted him. I decided to leave.
Worth pointing out, I didn’t take any pants with me because I gained some weight and they were to tight. If the organization of the tournament would have warned me sooner I would have taken a cab to the mall and bought pants, without any problems whatsoever, but instead I was treated like garbage. I was too stressed out by the way I was treated and the threats of being punished by FIDE no matter what I do, so I choose to leave before I do anything stupid.
Another point worth pointing out, Zurab never asked me to go and change, the conversation consisted of threats, insults, and agressive behavior from Zurab. He was clearly provoking me.
I will not appeal anything. I am disgusted by this type of people. I don’t want the money. I’m coming back home.”
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