The Letter Was Not an Open One, The Organizers Requested It

Время публикации: 05.06.2015 11:49 | Последнее обновление: 05.06.2015 12:24

Natalia Zhukova reveals details of the scandal at the European Championship

The main heroine of the last European Championship in Chakvi, Natalia Zhukova, has spoken about the conflict that arose during the tournament. According to her, from the information that was published on our website, readers could get the wrong idea about what was happening in reality.

You will recall that after five rounds, the little-known chess player Mihaela Sandu of Romania had 5 points, prompting suspicions among some participants. According to Natalia, there were many more suspicious players than the fifteen signatures which later appeared on the letter. "This outstanding result came under scrutiny, this is not surprising - said the Ukrainian. - Cheating is one of the major problems in modern chess, the methods used are becoming more sophisticated and no check will help."

In the sixth round the game Batsiashvili - Sandu (1-0) was disconnected from the live broadcast, but the next day's game Sandu - Stefanova (1-0) was again broadcast live, although, according to Zhukova, Zurab Azmaiparashvili had promised Stefanova (who asked for it to be broadcast with a delay) he would disable or delay the broadcast, something he later denied. "Then the organizers argued that the game with Batsiashvili was disabled due to a technical problem, but we know very well that is wrong."

Before writing the notorious letter, Zhukova claims she many times approached the chief arbiter Tomasz Delega and the organizers, with a request to delay the broadcast of the games. But in response, the latter required that a letter be written, requesting such action, else they would do nothing. "Maybe they were hoping that I would not want to spend time on preparation of the text. In fact, I would have loved to concentrate only on preparing for the game, but, alas, I had no choice."

Before starting to collect signatures, Zhukova showed both letters to the chief arbiter. "If the text had been too drastic, we could have made adjustments. But there were no objections. And then later, Giorgadze's reply claimed that the second letter was "offensive" and that we should withdraw our signatures from it."

Why two letters, not one? "The second was a safety net, in case the organizers would not be able to delay the broadcast of all games - explains Zhukova. - Technically, this requires a special program, which was not available in the whole of Georgia, so I was told by the chief arbiter. They were going to find it during the free day. By the way, Delega proposed a delay in the game broadcasts before the start of the tournament, but he was told that there was no point."

Why not turn to the arbiter during the game as required by the rules? "First of all, during a game, I think only about the game. And secondly, the rules provide for examination of the suspect, and I was sure that this would not yield anything. Why bother? In the tournament in any case there was an unhealthy atmosphere, and to put an end to this, there needed to be a delay in the live broadcast. This was as much in the interests of Sandu herself as everybody else. Let her show she was playing by herself, and so wonderfully - that's great, we'll be happy for her."

By Zhukova's own admission, after the eighth round, she was focused solely on the game, and not following developments around Sandu, and she did not even know that the letter had been posted on the wall for everybody to see. She does not consider this an ethical decision. She stresses that the letters were sent to specific recipients - the chief arbiter, the tournament director and the president of the ECU, and were not intended for the general public. The goal was only to normalize the situation and to be able to play calmly. Natalia only learned later, from the internet, about the tournament's director's reply and the return complaint by Sandu.

"I'm not ashamed of any of my words or actions - concludes Natalia. - And if the same situation arose again, I would do the same."


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