Ukrainian army of chess players take up arms to subdue Putin’s forces

Bobby Fischer believed that every game of chess was a war on the board. The American went to war against Russia and triumphed by defeating one of its best grandmasters, Boris Spassky, for the World Chess Championship in 1972.

Fifty years later, a battery of Ukrainian chess players is waging war. Only their war is more real. They too are facing the Russians, but not overboard.

Ukrainian chess players are resisting Vladimir Putin’s continued invasion of their country. Some have taken up arms to defend their homeland.

Grandmaster and captain of the Ukrainian national team, Oleksander Sulypa, waits behind a trench in the western city of Lviv, holding a rifle to confront the Russian army.

“I defend my land against enemies and ‘peacekeepers’. The truth will prevail!” he posted a week ago.

GM Georgy Timoshenko. Photo: Facebook/ @juliatimoshenko


A day later, another GM Georgy Timoshenko carried a rifle into battle.

“Yura (Georgy) went to defend the capital (Kiev) with guns in hand,” writes his partner Julia.

At 56, Timoshenko is probably the oldest professional chess player to enter this battlefield.

Aspiring Indian players may remember him as an unassuming grandfather coach, who ran chess camps in Odisha, Gujarat and several other Indian cities a few years ago.

GM Natalia Zhukova

GM Natalia Zhukova with Ukrainian fighters in Odessa. Photo: Facebook/ @nataliazhukova


Meanwhile, former European champion Natalia Zhukova proudly attends the city of Odessa in the southeast of the country, where she is now a member of the city council.

“From morning to evening, with like-minded people, we search for all the necessary things, medicines, etc. Zhukova wrote on Facebook.

General Manager Pavel Eljanov reported that General Manager Igor Kovalenko “actively volunteers in Kyiv and helps his brothers who have taken up arms”.

An unshaven and gloomy Kovalenko was last heard asking for help on his YouTube channel.

Eljanov, currently Ukraine’s second-best active player, posted on Facebook that his family was in Khrakiv, an eastern city closer to Russia that was ravaged by the onslaught.

He would be safe somewhere.

Teenage sensation Kirill Shevchenko, from Kyiv, is also hopefully not in danger.

He has been busy on social networks to inform the world of the tragic situation prevailing in his country.

Former world champion Anna Muzychuk has reached out to the chess community, especially her colleagues from Russia and Belarus, asking them to explain their position.

The Ukrainian Chess Federation documented the war from the perspective of its members. The other day he mentioned a war casualty.

“On March 2, 2022, after serious injuries caused by the Russian occupiers, FIDE arbiter and children’s coach Oleksiy Valentynovych Druzhynets died (Tokmak, Zaporizhia Oblast, January 3, 1975 – March 2, 2022),” the report said. federation.

Almost all but one of the Ukrainian players took the cudgel from the Russian attacks in one way or another.

The strange, Super GM Sergey Karjakin has been isolated, not only by Ukrainian players but by the peaceful international chess community as a whole.

What did you write? What do you advocate? asked a shocked Zhukova, after Karjakin rallied to Vladimir Putin.

Karjakin, a former world No. 4, wrote: “I express to you, our Commander-in-Chief, my full support in the interest of Russia, our multinational Russian people, the elimination of threats and the establishment of the peace !”

Ukraine is the country where Karjakin was born, learned to play chess and his family still lives.

After representing his native country throughout his teenage years, Karjakin, now 32, moved to Russia.

He has since become a strong supporter of Putin.

While Karjakin awaits the verdict of the FIDE Ethics Committee, Ukrainian chess players remain on the front line.

Because, as former world champion Garry Kasparov said, condemning the Russian invasion: “It’s not a game of chess. There’s no draw, no stalemate. “

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