The online chess platform and social networking website Chess.com has imposed restrictions on Russian chess player Denis Khismatullin after his support of the invasion of Ukraine was made public by multiple media outlets. The Russian was earlier denied a handshake by Poland’s number one Jan-Krzysztof Duda before a match in round one of the 2023 World Rapid Championship.
Polish media outlets explained Duda's refusal by the fact that Khismatullin, along with his friend, chess player Sergey Karjakin, are active supporters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both having repeatedly traveled to the so-called “special military operation” zone on “humanitarian missions.”
According to Khismatullin, after the scandal was publicised by Western media, Chess.com banned him from participating in prize tournaments and from any social activity on the site.
On January 4, Khismatulli posted a statement on Sergey Karjakin's Telegram channel:
“In the first days of the year I suddenly woke up famous. First in the English-language press, and then in [the Russian-language press], there were news that Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda refused to give me his hand in the first round of the World Rapid Championship in Samarkand. In the Western press, the Pole’s act caused a flurry of admiration, while the behaviour of Magnus Carlsen, who shook my hand in the next round, was condemned. A heated discussion began on social networks, where the facts began to emerge that I, together with Sergey Karjakin, had repeatedly visited the [special military operation] zone on humanitarian missions. After that, Chess.com, the [world’s] most popular chess website, sent me an e-mail in which it informed me that I was henceforth banned from taking part in prize tournaments and from any social activity on their site.”
Chess.com confirmed that they had forbidden Khismatullin from taking part in tournaments and social activity on their website:
“We can confirm that GM Khismatullin has been restricted from prize events and social activity on Chess.com. This is consistent with our policies and prior actions regarding players who support the war. In fact, the Russian government has banned the entire Chess.com platform apparently due to our stance against the war.
The Russian government continues to wage a needless war of aggression that has claimed the lives of countless combatants and civilians, including women and children. Our own Ukrainian staff and loved ones are deeply affected as are many throughout the world outside. Our opposition to this war has not wavered.”
Special military operation
“Special military operation” is a euphemism used by the Kremlin and Russian propaganda to refer to the invasion of Ukraine.