Carlsen: ‘Karjakin wants to become a martyr’


“I don’t know if it’s good or not”

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A number of players have already shared their opinions regarding FIDE’s decision to ban Sergey Karjakin for six months, which will likely prevent the Russian from participating in the Candidates Tournament (pending a potential appeal).

Although all condemn the Russian position on the invasion, some, like Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, doubt that banning Karjakin was the right decision. Others, like Wesley So, fully agree with the decision, while Daniil Dubov sees FIDE’s decision as illogical – he says they should either not ban it at all or ban it for longer .

Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion, hadn’t spoken much about the subject. In an interview for Norwegian newspaper VG, Carlsen made it clear that he disagreed with his colleague’s position, but also noted that he was unsure whether banning him from official tournaments was the right decision.

Many Russians who previously either openly supported Putin or didn’t talk much about him have chosen to change their minds and now say Putin has gone too far. Karjakin went the other way. He increased his support for Putin. This type of attitude cannot be accepted.

[…] Of course, I don’t agree with Karjakin on anything, but if it’s right to exclude people for opinions we don’t tolerate, I’m not sure. Maybe it pays off in a tough time, but you also set a precedent for what might come later.

[…] Is it okay to let him have what he wants? He wants to become a martyr of the “tyranny of sanctions” of the West. Now he’s allowed to tell that story at home — and it works well there. We help him do it, we give him what he wants. I don’t know if it’s good or not, I’m not sure.



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