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FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Event

  • Dec 27, 2023
  • pitchhigh
  • 1867

Because we love drama and I also believe all the players should have equal playing conditions. The personal lounge is not the issue here but the easy access to a computer in between the games is one serious inequity,” tweeted Vachier Lagrave.

Even Kramnik, who is not competing at the event, but has been very vocal since starting his Twitter account recently, could not resist weighing in.

Top grandmasters claimed Carlsen alone has been provided a private lounge for World Rapid and Blitz Championship at Samarkand by organisers.

The current FIDE Rapid and Blitz Championship in Samarkand has become embroiled in controversy, as several participating grandmasters have expressed their dissatisfaction on social media, alleging preferential treatment given to former world champion Magnus Carlsen by FIDE.

Prominent players such as Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier Lagrave, and Pentala Harikrishna took to Twitter to express their concerns about Carlsen receiving additional facilities, including a private lounge between games. Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik also joined the voices criticizing FIDE for the perceived favoritism.

It is learnt that Carlsen has been provided a private lounge since 2016 at every edition of the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz championship. Compared to the World Chess Championship, the World Rapid and Blitz event happens yearly. Players compete in multiple games in a day: in the open section players competed in five rounds on Day 1 (Tuesday) and will compete on four games each on Wednesday and Thursday. The blitz portion of the Championship will start from Saturday with players playing 12 games on Day 1 and nine rounds on the final day.

"Dear FIDE and organizers of the Championship! As it is known, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Is it fair to provide Magnus Carlsen with a personal lounge where he can rest and prepare for the game using a laptop, while nobody else has such an opportunity?" tweeted Russian grandmaster Nepomniachtchi, who had previously faced Magnus Carlsen in a World Chess Championship match in 2021 and lost.
“Can’t be stressed more that everyone should play under the same conditions,” added US grandmaster Caruana, who also had lost a World Chess Championship battle against Carlsen in 2018.
"I agree with Yan, not that Magnus shouldn’t get such a space of course, but maybe at least few others must have a comfortable rest room to rest and prepare between rounds, very important in such a long and tiring event," the Russian tweeted.

When asked about the controversy, Magnus Carlsen's father, Henrik, told a Norwegian channel that his son doesn’t have access to a laptop between games.
However, the rising number of tweets from players forced FIDE to tweet a clarification.

"To make it clear, none of the participants of the Rapid and Blitz championship have been granted special conditions. Even if, in between rounds, any of the players has been provided access to external premises as per the invitation of FIDE officials, full fair play control has been provided. Furthermore, everyone is allowed to use their gadgets in between the rounds according to the rules," FIDE posted on X.

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