Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov leaves Chess World Cup midway, alleges bullying and racial abuse
What's the story?
Things turned sour at the ongoing FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia as Canadian Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov alleged that he was racially abused and bullied by the organizer of the event Zurab Azmaiparashvili. The two got into an argument at the playing hall and the situation heightened to such an extent that the 25-year-old player cancelled his participation from the competition and left the venue.
According to reports from the venue, the player, who was wearing shorts, was first approached by the chief arbiter Tomasz Delega and asked if he could change his attire as it was against the competition's dress code. However, Kovalyov replied that he had been wearing the same in the last two days as well and in the last World Cup too.
The Canadian then complained about been given the wrong colour for his match, stating that he had been expecting to play with white pieces but the arbiter checked and confirmed that he would have to play with the black ones.
However, then the organizer Azmaiparashvili approached Kovalyov and referred to him with the slur "gypsy" multiple times. The same was mentioned by the player in a Facebook post, where he detailed his side of events.
In case you didn't know
Kovalyov was born in Ukraine but represents Canada and is ranked 109 in the world among active players, with an ELO of 2649. He made sports headlines in India earlier after defeating Viswanathan Anand in the second round.
He was scheduled to play Maxim Rodshtein in his Round 3 clash but had to forfeit it as he left the tournament venue.
The heart of the matter
The Canadian's side of the story is quite shocking, with him claiming that he was "bullied", "yelled at" and "racially insulted". He also claimed that the organizer was extremely aggressive towards him and hurled racial slurs, while also stating that he will be punished by FIDE, the sport's organizing body.
He mentioned that he left the tournament in order to avoid doing anything stupid in reaction. He also stated that it was clear that Azmaiparashvili was only trying to provoke him and the issue was not his attire.
The player has stated that he will not appeal anything and that he doesn't want the money. However, one can say that the matter is far from over.
It is truly shocking to see such an incident take place at one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Here's hoping that the exact situation is ascertained and if the organizer is found guilty of racial abuse, strict action must be taken.