Racism Scandal Rocks Elite Chess Tournament
Baadur Jobava, a top-ranked grandmaster from the Republic of Georgia, unleashed a racist tirade that has surprised the chess community. The incident took place during a prestigious online tournament hosted by chess.com, the world’s largest chess platform.
Jobava, who believed he was playing against a cheater, took to the tournament’s message board after losing the game to his Chinese player. In a message that reads like a plain racist remark, he attacked his opponent. Calling the event’s administrators, he demanded the game be canceled and threatened to leave the tournament altogether if his score was not restored. The call is caught on video.
Initially, the incident went largely unnoticed but slowly made waves among other grandmasters and chess commentators, who expressed their disappointment and disbelief in private messages. The controversy also spilled over to Reddit, where users sought to identify the Chinese player, who was revealed to be an elite grandmaster and member of the Chinese Chess Olympic team.
Racism is a serious ethics violation, regardless of the fact that the event is private. A legal expert who works with FIDE, the chess governing body, explains that FIDE Ethics Commission will be in the position to investigate matters such as this one if the offended party, his or her chess federation, or an official FIDE body files an official complaint with the Commission. Concerned parties can also address the FIDE Council, the top governing body of FIDE. The Council may take this case to the Ethics Commission as well.
World Chess has spoken to GMs who voiced their surprise at Jabava’s statements and reached out to Chess.com for comment.
I was watching Baadur that day and he got cheated numerous times, this was not an isolated occurrence of prospective cheating. And just because a player is a GM does not mean we should automatically give them the benefit of the doubt. I mean also he kept getting booted from the server because of the crashes on chess.com that everyone was experiencing. We should not condone Jobava’s actions but at the same time we should not be hostile or ignorant to the instances that led up to this. It didn’t happen in a nutshell. That’s all I am saying. He got cheated quite a few times that day, and several of the players were immediately banned from Chess.com. Baadur has otherwise provided entertaining chess and instruction on his Twitch channel. We are always quick to find fault, and there is often little reward for top players such as Baadur providing educational content on Twitch. I hope that FIDE will consider the entire situation in its full context when suggesting any action on this.
~Chesslover on Twitch.