Teimour Radjabov wants his place back in Candidates tournament

Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, who had pulled out after FIDE turned down his request to postpone the tournament in view of the virus outbreak, is considering legal options.

Teimour Radjabov feels he should be allowed to compete in the Candidates now that FIDE has adjourned the event because of the pandemic.   -  /Instagram

In the end, the coronavirus caught up with the Candidates chess tournament, too.

Till it was stopped mid-way at Yekaterinburg on Thursday, it was the world's only major sporting event that went ahead as planned. But, the Russian government's ban of international flights forced the world chess governing body FIDE to adjourn the tournament.

That decision, however, has thrown up a new problem for FIDE. And it could go all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (when normalcy returns, of course).

Teimour Radjabov, who had pulled out after FIDE turned down his request to postpone the tournament in view of the virus outbreak, is considering legal options. The World No. 9 feels he should be allowed to compete in the Candidates now that FIDE has adjourned the event because of the pandemic.

 

There are top players who feel Radjabov has been denied justice. Among them are Russia's Sergey Karjakin and India's P. Harkrishna, ranked 17th and 27th respectively in the world.

“I hope at least now FIDE will accept responsibility and apologise,” Harikrishna tweeted.

Radjabov wants more than an apology, of course. “Once you are considering to start the event in these circumstances you, first of all, have to make some kind of analysis in the General Assembly of FIDE, there are people who have to talk to each other and decide on the situation, I don’t know how it works,” the World No. 9 from Azerbaijan told chess.com “I think they should have taken the right decision there.”

He added: “I think FIDE should take some action to include me back into the tournament, that’s what I think. I think it’s a fair decision. From my side, I think I have done everything possible. I just asked them, warned them, I also warned the chess community by expressing it openly.”

 

But, to allow Radjabov back into the tournament may not be easy. After he withdrew, FIDE had invited Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. He promptly moved into the joint lead before the tournament was stopped at the end of the seventh round.

“If Radjabov has to be included in the field, he would have to play with all the eight participants and only after that the second half of this round-robin tournament could be conducted,” Mumbai-based Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay said. “I don't think FIDE could be blamed entirely for the situation. Things weren't this bad when the tournament started. Nevertheless, I feel FIDE should compensate Radjabov financially.”

The national team of Azerbaijan, comprising five Grandmasters, has also come out in support of Radjabov, through an open letter to FIDE, demanding his reinstation in the World championship qualifying cycle.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos