Chess Player Threatens Opponent; Chess Court: "Out Of Our Jurisdiction"

Chess Player Threatens Opponent; Chess Court: “Out Of Our Jurisdiction”

Published August 13, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Wikimedia Commons/che

The court of the Icelandic Chess Federation has reprimanded a chess player for unsportsmanlike behaviour at the Brim tournament series earlier this summer. He had been expelled from the tournament for accusing his opponent of cheating, but he will not be banned from future events, despite threatening his opponent in Elliðaárdalur after the tournament, Vísir reports.

According to the report, the unsportsmanlike chess player arrived four to five minutes late in the sixth round of the tournament, which took place at Taflfélag Reykjavíkur on June 20th. He approached the the table where his opponent was waiting, offered no greetings, and pulled the board towards himself. The opponent pulled it back, only for the other player to pull it back towards himself again.

They agreed that this couldn’t go on for long, stopped the clock, and called for the help of a chess referee, who concluded that the chessboard was two to three centimeters closer to the chess player who arrived on time. The referee moved the board back between the players and reset the clock.

According to the court’s ruling on the referee’s experience, “He noticed that the accused stood by the accuser and was looking at him threateningly. They exchanged words, which were heated and not exactly polite, and were disturbing other competitors. The accused then grabbed his bag and left the premises.”

Despite the fact that another chess player left the competition, the clock kept running. About ten minutes later, the angry player returned, disrupting the tournament by loudly accusing his opponent of cheating.

“He demanded that the clock be reset and the game continued or he will not play chess anymore. He also said that the chessboard was not centered. The referee believes that after measuring, there was a discrepancy of about five millimeters, which the referee fixed,” the court said.

The angry player then accused his opponent of cheating by moving the table in his absence. The situation did not improve when he was told that his demand to reset the clock would not be met. He left the room again and did not return.

The referee believes that he had shown unsportsmanlike conduct: “By accusing his opponent of cheating, showing disrespect to his opponent, other competitors, and the tournament organisers by shouting in the chess hall and disparaging his opponent.” As a result of all of these factors, the referee decided to expel the man from the competition. The opponent was named the winner by default.

The story does not end there, though. While the court deemed it necessary to reprimand the chess player for his conduct in the chess hall, they did not ban him from future events as his opponent requested. However, the court would not rule on what happened between the players after they left the venue.

“It seems that it was a coincidence that they met again that evening in Elliðaárdalur,” said the court’s ruling. The other chess player said he crossed the bridge where the main entrance to Elliðaárdalur is, and immediately to the right, from a dark wooded path, he saw his competitor from the tournament approach.

They exchanged words and the player who was expelled got heated, eventually threatening his opponent. Three witnesses corroborated this claim, but the court still decided not to ban the angry player from future tournaments due to the fact that the exchange took place over an hour after the chess tournament. “It is the opinion of the court that…[this] is not enough for the conduct to fall within the jurisdiction of the chess court.”

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