Ethic Or Not? Overly Sensitive Question

Время публикации: 15.05.2013 21:15 | Последнее обновление: 15.05.2013 23:51

Hello! I'm glad that Chess-News give me the opportunity to explain the reasons why I left the European Championship after the 7th round. Indeed, it seems that people pay more attention to such unfortunate details than to the course of the tournament or the games themselves.

The first thing I'd like to make clear is that I withdrew from a tournament for the very first time in my career. And hopefully the last. Therefore, you can easily imagine that it was no lighthearted decision. I'm certainly not happy about it, as I'm usually a fighting player. Unfortunately, there is no way one can fight without energy.

But let us start at the beginning. The Swiss Chess Federation asked me to confirm my participation to the European Championship way back in January. At that time, my tournament schedule for the first half of 2013 was almost empty. I accepted to play, even though this event was never successful for me. I subsequently decided to participate in the Lille open, at the middle of April, as a training for Legnica. My planning seemed to be adequate, but later on, I received two invitations which were impossible to turn down. The first came from Martinique, which is a nice open that I had won in 2012. The second offer came from the organizers of the Alekhine Memorial - to work there as one of the French commentators. As a matter of fact, both events linked up almost like a puzzle with Lille and Legnica. But it also means that I ended up travelling nonstop since the end of March, and barely spent two or three days at home. I even came directly from St. Petersburg to the European championship. Moreover, one would hardly believe it, unless one has done it, but working as a live commentator is no easy walk: it is exhausting. Upon my arrival in Legnica, I noticed that I had almost no energy left. I tried to spare it as much as I could, and almost refrained from preparing in the mornings. But it hardly helped. My ultimate battery was spent in the first games, and a disaster eventually struck in the last few rounds.

Curious readers, those who really care about facts, will not have missed the fabulous 48...Rf2 from my game vs Ernst. They will probably wonder as well how I managed not to win my game from the 7th round.

The shape of these games, rather than the result, made it clear to me that I had to withdraw from the tournament. Looking back at my decision, I feel calm, as there was no sane alternative. The mistake was committed earlier, by overestimating my strength and inflicting on myself such a heavy schedule. With the most difficult tournament at the end, this was synonymous with suicide. I should have cancelled my participation before the start.

I would also like to stress that I never seriously considered that I had a chance to qualify for the World Cup, let alone fight for a medal. My performances in previous editions of the European championship speak for themselves.

Apart from those personal considerations, there is another major fact which allowed me to take this decision. Before announcing my withdrawal to the main arbiter, I had a phone call with the President of the Swiss Chess Federation. Upon hearing my explanations, he gave me his full support without hesitation. I also received unanimous backing from the members of the Board who were informed about it on the next day. I herewith express my gratitude for their understanding. Since the Federation has always paid my expenses at official events, such a support was far from obvious.

In this sense, it seems clear to my mind that the Swiss Chess Federation is the only chess body which I need to justify myself to. In a private tournament, I would have turned first and foremost towards the organizers. But the European Championship is a different kind of a  tournament, where local organizers (and the ECU) have other goals.

Coming to the overly sensitive question of what people call "ethic", I believe that many crucial points have already been mentioned above. I would like to repeat that I'm certainly not happy about leaving the tournament before its completion. On the other hand, I did not hurt anybody by doing this, except perhaps the four participants who would have had the luck to face my corpse in the remaining rounds and collect points for free!

Of course, in case I did hurt anyone's sensibility, I truly apologize. May he or she find peace by trying to forgive lesser people. Or would it feel better if I had withdrawn for medical reasons, or any other case of "force majeure"? Well, now that I think about it... who is able to claim that a total lack of energy is not equivalent to illness, after all?


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