After being acquired by Chess.com the website chess24.com stopped publishing new articles so I stopped surfin’ over to the website. Today I surfed to chess24.com and was surprised to find an excellent article by Colin McGourty, Top arbiter sidelined over “Women, Life, Freedom” T-shirt (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/top-arbiter-sidelined-over-women-life-freedom-t-shirt).
It is a long and detailed article in which the author basically rips FIDE, and especially the Prez of FIDE, the nefarious Russian quisling, Arkady Dvorkovich, a new one. This writer salutes Mr. McGourty!
“Shohreh Bayat, who was forced to leave Iran in early 2020 after a scandal over wearing the hijab, has revealed she was personally asked by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich to stop wearing a T-shirt with the message “Women Life Freedom” at the Fischer Random World Championship in Iceland. She did, but only to wear the Ukrainian colours instead, and since appears to have fallen out of favour with FIDE.”
“Shohreh Bayat is a FIDE Women’s Master and early on in her chess career decided to become an arbiter as well. Perhaps the pinnacle of her new career came when she worked as the Chief Arbiter at the Ju Wenjun vs. Aleksandra Goryachkina Women’s World Championship match in early 2020, but it was a success overshadowed by non-chess drama.”
“Shohreh switched to the English Chess Federation and continued to work as one of the world’s top arbiters. Then in October last year she was Deputy Chief Arbiter for the World Fischer Random Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland, just as women’s rights in Iran had suddenly become centre stage again. Two young women had died in mid-September, with women across the country protesting by taking huge risks to remove their hijabs.”
“It was natural that Shohreh would show her support, as she did by wearing a T-shirt with the message “Women Life Freedom”. She performed her duties without issue and, in what FIDE had billed as the Year of Women in Chess, this could have been positive all round — an illustration that women can take top roles in chess and support their fellow women. Her appearance, if anything, brought extra positive publicity to the event, and it broke no rules — there was no dress code for arbiters.”
“Alas, that’s not how FIDE approached the issue. FIDE’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer David Llada says he was first to raise the topic with Shohreh and describes “doing activism” in her role as “inappropriate and unprofessional”.
“That brings us to the real issue — Dvorkovich personally contacting Bayat to ask her not to wear the T-shirt.”
“Arkady is said to have accused Shohreh of mixing sports and politics, but there are two obvious responses. One is that in this case it was less “politics” than an appeal for basic human rights, something FIDE’s own Charter requires the organisation to promote.”
At this point GM Peter Heine Nielsen, long time second for World Chess Champ Magnus Calsen, weighs in via twitter:
“The @FIDE_chess charter specifies that we shall strive to promote the protection of human rights.
They are defined in the charter as the UN universal declaration of human rights: https://un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
It means we have an active duty to promote protection of human rights.”
The article continues:
“The other was that it was clear hypocrisy, since Arkady Dvorkovich remaining FIDE President is the single most political statement made by the organisation.”
“Dvorkovich was a high-ranking Kremlin official for the decade from 2008-18, serving as adviser to Dmitry Medvedev and then as Deputy Prime Minister, including in 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine for the first time. Arkady has never expressed regrets about that decision, instead repeating Russian propaganda when asked about the topic by the BBC and other news organisations.”
“For chess, Dvorkovich, who organised the 2018 World Cup in Russia, ensured there was a steady flow of Russian money into the game. That meant a lack of genuine commercial sponsorship was no issue, but also came at the cost of FIDE’s events being used for what has been termed “sportswashing”.
Being unfamiliar with the word sent me first to the dictionary, and then another, before inputing the word into DuckDuckGo search engine where the most succinct definition was found: “The term sportswashing is used when a country organizes, sponsors or takes ownership of high-profile sporting events, where the purpose is to divert attention from matters worthy of criticism; such as human rights violations or crimes against humanity.” (https://www.nhc.no/en/sportswashing-what-is-it-and-why-should-you-care/)
At this point GM Peter Heine Nielsen
again weighs in with a tweet: “I just don’t get it:
A t-shirt with a slogan promoting human rights is unacceptable and making chess political.
But having Putin greet al the players of an online tournament he has nothing to do with, and having a panorama view of the Kremlin is not political ?”
“Dvorkovich sits on the Honorary Board of the Russian Chess Federation alongside the likes of Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, and numerous sanctioned oligarchs. Exactly a week before February 24th, 2022, when some kind of attack looked inevitable, Arkady Dvorkovich handed out the prizes at a tournament for the Russian armed forces.”
“The full-scale invasion that followed meant the government Arkady Dvorkovich had served for a decade had led his country and Ukraine to utter catastrophe.”
“Calls for Arkady’s resignation were immediate, but he stayed in place, giving an interview to Mother Jones (https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/chess-grandmasters-putin-russia-ukraine-war/) where he commented, “my thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians”. Any benefit from that interview, however, was immediately wiped out by his statement a day later as Head of the Skolkovo Foundation. He talked about a peace “with no place for Nazism”, a clear nod to Russian propaganda against Ukraine.”
“Dvorkovich, who stepped down as head of Skolkovo before it was placed on the US sanctions list for supporting the Russian arms industry, has never renounced that statement, and also resisted all calls to resign. Some of his supporters claimed there was no need for resignation as his term was coming to an end, but Arkady then announced he would again put himself forward as a candidate for President. He faced no well-funded opposition and won comfortably.”
“So for Dvorkovich to lecture Shohreh Bayat about not mixing chess and politics would have been extreme, even if it not for the specific Iranian angle. At the time of the tournament, Iran had become one of Russia’s few military allies, providing drones to attack Ukrainian cities. Arkady intervening to suppress criticism of the Iranian regime could hardly provide worse optics for the game of chess.”
“Shohreh told chess24:
Since I wore those shirts, they removed (not re-elected) me from the Arbiters Commission. Then they appointed a Delegate of the Iranian Chess Federation as the Secretary of the FIDE Women's Commission and offered me to work under her (my oppressor federation) in the Women's Commission. Meanwhile, they call me inappropriate and unprofessional for supporting Human Rights while they are silent about Iran keeping refusing to play against Israel due to political reasons. I think everything is clear.
“Her case has been taken up by many prominent activists, including Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad.”
“Shohreh’s response in Reykjavik was fitting. She didn’t wear the “Women Life Freedom” T-shirt again, but instead came proudly dressed in Ukrainian colours.”
The article concludes with the following: “It’s to be hoped that the recent exposure of FIDE’s approach will encourage the organisation to restore one of their most talented arbiters to a full role in the game.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/top-arbiter-sidelined-over-women-life-freedom-t-shirt)
It should be obvious from the above that the President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, is a metastasizing CANCER inside the body of FIDE. The hypocritical Russian scalawag needs to be removed by any means necessary.
It is long past time for the weaselly Dvork to go. Russia has committed genocide and war crimes in their futile attempt to subjugate their next door neighbor, the independent nation of Ukraine. THE PRESIDENT OF FIDE IS GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES because he is a part of the ruling class of criminals in charge of their beloved MOTHER FORKIN’ RUSSIA!
The United States Chess Federation should have already left FIDE, but there is not one person involved with USCF with the cojones to take the needed step. Each and every official of the USCF needs to take a good, long look into the mirror and ask him or herself some serious questions, questions that should have been ASKED and ANSWERED long ago. FIDE is being led by a WAR CRIMINAL. The USCF is part of FIDE and therefore complicit in what has happened to Ukraine. First Ukraine, then possibly US! For the good of the Royal Game this RUSSIAN cretin must step down and hand the reins of FIDE to former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand.