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Russian chess players position themselves in the Ukraine conflict

motherland monument among green trees on embankment in kiev
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

On a black Thursday, on February 24, 2022, the Russian army that had been maneuvering in recent weeks in border regions with Ukraine invaded this country, breaking its sovereignty. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in 2014, when Russian troops took control of the Crimean peninsula. Shortly before the invasion Vladimir Putin supported separatist forces in two regions of eastern Ukraine: Donetsk and Luhansk, which he recognized as independent.

We all in one way or another watch television or surf the Internet looking for information, and a war in the XXI century is a historical event. In this article I will share the opinions of chess players who have Russian nationality, although some have been born in other countries of the former Soviet Union.

The importance of chess in the culture of Russia and Ukraine

No one escapes the popularity of chess in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Without going any further, 3 of the 4 world champions with the most titles are Russians. They are Anatoly Karpov (6 times champion), Garry Kasparov (6 times champion, born in Azerbaijan) and Mikhail Botvinnik (5 times world champion). It is one of the king sports in the country.

Now that a war has begun, it is hard to see how many chess players and amateurs, as well as innocent anonymous people, are frightened and in danger of real death. Geopolitics is often compared to chess, it is a two-sided battle, but the aggression of the Russian government, which ignores international law and the sovereignty of a democratic nation, has nothing to do with chess. If it were, it would be a game where one of the sides plays with a material advantage from the beginning of the game, and that by definition is not chess.

In chess.com, the largest chess portal in the world, there is a world league of countries and in May 2020 there was a confrontation between Russia and Ukraine that ended with a score of 942 to 506 in favor of Ukraine. At least that time, Ukraine unceremoniously defeated Russia. It was interesting to see the camaraderie and friendly competition of that confrontation, after all, chess is a universal game that does not distinguish races, religions, nationalities, etc.

Social media reaction from Russian players about Ukraine

I find it interesting to see that most of the chess community has condemned Putin’s actions, including many Russian players. It is obvious that most of us are against any war because those who suffer, who really suffer, are civilians living in the conflict zone, while those who order indiscriminate attacks live in their comfortable office, anchored to a biased view of reality that they themselves believe.

Some Russian chess grandmasters have spoken out and said clearly that they are against the war. Among these personalities are:

GM Garry Kasparov “Okay, after years of warnings being ignored and hearing ‘Garry, you were right! all the damn day today, I’ll repeat what I said in 2014: stop telling me I was right and listen to what I’m saying now. My recommendations follow: 1/5”

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, challenger to Magnus Carlsen for the title of world chess champion. “History has many black Thursdays. But today it is blacker than others. #нетвойне #dinoalaguerra.”

GM Nikita Vitiugov, champion of Russia. “Impossible to believe. In 2022, in Europe, there are people who are dying from a war, the fate of tens of millions of people is being broken. Horror. I don’t see how the emotions of the internet can help. I’m going to set my position – you can’t defend yourself in someone else’s territory. Russians and Ukrainians are brothers, not enemies. Stop the war.”

GM Peter Svidler, Russian champion. “Silence made this possible #noalaguerra”

GM Andrey Esipenko, one of the greatest promises of world chess. “I really hoped for a peaceful solution to the situation … It’s terrible to realize that all this is happening…”

The Discordant Notes

Most of the opinions of these Russian chess players are against war, as we have seen previously. However, there are players who support her as is the case with Sergey Karjakin, who has written some unfortunate tweets during these days. The unfortunate thing I do not say, he says it himself, because he has deleted a tweet about a comment of a taxi driver in Dubai, which as everyone knows his opinion is too important to put in a tweet. At least for a few seconds he realized that it was very unfortunate what he wrote and apologized for that in the next tweet. “Okay, I may not have posted what a random taxi driver told me, apologies for that. But it basically doesn’t change my opinion that you can see in the previous post.”

Karjakin has every right to share his opinion even though he is a warmongering and pro-Putin opinion. However, I would like to give you a thought in case you ever read this. If you are in favor of something you do not need more than a phrase or a tweet to give your opinion. But if you’re continually responding to anonymous people who make you see that what you’re saying isn’t bordering on the absurd, maybe it would be a good idea to keep your opinion to yourself. In a war there are two sides and he has positioned himself on one side. One side may be right, partly right, no reason, but never will one side be 100% right.

Karjakin has every right to share his opinion even though he is a warmongering and pro-Putin opinion. However, I would like to give you a thought in case you ever read this. If you are in favor of something you do not need more than a phrase or a tweet to give your opinion. But if you’re continually responding to anonymous people who make you see that what you’re saying isn’t bordering on the absurd, maybe it would be a good idea to keep your opinion to yourself. In a war there are two sides and he has positioned himself on one side. One side may be right, partly right, no reason, but never will one side be 100% right.

Sergey Karjakin’s Indoctrinated Reality

Perhaps Sergey Karjakin’s problem is that he has been indoctrinated. Indoctrination is the set of measures, educational and propaganda practices carried out by an authority aimed at instilling certain values or ways of thinking in the subjects to whom they are addressed, which usually lack a critical spirit. As much as he says that he was born in Simferopol, a city in Crimea, that is, he was born in Ukraine, and that he knows first-hand the barbarities that the Ukrainians did, a war has no justification.

And that indoctrination is demonstrated in the opinions he shares. For example, he shares a photograph of proud Ukrainian soldiers in front of an image of Hitler saying that the invasion of Ukraine is partly because it is a Nazi country. He doesn’t bother to date the image, to check that the image is 100% real.

Someone passed that image to him, it serves for his argument and releases it without more, misinforming and creating fake news that in part are the culprits that we have come this far. Vladimir Putin also believes everything that suits him. With this I am not saying that the image is false, but that when you publish something you have to be 100% sure that it is true. Sergey maybe you should write less and play more chess, that yes you are good at.

References

Avelino Dominguez

👨🏻‍🔬 Biologist 👨🏻‍🎓 Teacher 👨🏻‍💻 Technologist 📊 Statistician 🕸 #SEO #SocialNetwork #Web #Data ♟Chess 🐙 Galician

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