Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman comments on the decision to deny entry to the US for to FIDE President

Washington’s position with respect to the World Chess Championship in New York on November 11-30, in which Russian challenger Sergey Karyakin will take part, is a source of confusion and concern.

The tournament is organised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), which declared a Year of Chess in the United States. Over 30 large-scale chess events of various levels were held in New York alone. However, after everything was planned and ready, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was prevented from visiting the United States. The Barack Obama Administration placed him under sanctions for playing chess several years ago with the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Needless to say, this reason is grotesque and indefensible, but any excuse works for the current US government, which has gotten carried away playing with sanctions, including those against Russia and our citizens. Meanwhile, New York was chosen as the venue for the match for a reason. FIDE wished to pay tribute to the memory of outstanding US chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, a New Yorker. We can only regret that the White House has a different position today and, in the wake of the heavy damage done to Russian-US relations, is again refusing to observe the universal principle that sports should remain above politics. As a result, for the first time in 92 years the FIDE President will not be able to attend the match he organised. This does not reflect well on the outgoing US Administration.

Maria Zakharova,
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman