Azerbaijan GM Teimour Radjabov is considering legal action against world governing body FIDE for not accepting his request to postpone the now suspended Candidates 2020 event in Yekaterinburg despite the Covid-19 pandemic and forcing him to miss out on a chance to compete, chess.com reported on Monday.
Radjabov, who had qualified for the Candidates by reaching the final of the 2019 World Cup, now wants FIDE to reinstate him in the tournament as the organisers were forced to stop the event after seven rounds following the Russian government’s decision to stop air traffic with other countries.
At the half-way stage, Radjabov’s replacement Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and local hope Ian Nepomniachtchi were jointly leading the standings with 4.5 points and FIDE has announced that the event will be continued from the eighth round whenever it restarts.
But the GM from Azerbaijan now wants his place back in the tournament.
“I think FIDE should take some action to include me back in the tournament,” said Radjabov. “I think I did everything possible - asked them, warned them. I also warned the chess community.”
Explaining his decision to pull out of the event in Yekaterinburg and the sequence of events, Radjabov said, “The Candidates Tournament is a chess marathon, consisting of 14 rounds over 22 days. How the tournament will develop during this global epidemic, what measures will be taken in case of detection of the virus and what measures will be taken in relation to a sick participant, no one has explained to me.
“Due to the complexity of all these points, I turned to FIDE [and] asked to postpone the tournament to a later date. This was denied. In connection with the above, I considered that such conditions can greatly affect the necessary level of concentration and mood required for the best possible play in such an important tournament as the Candidates, and a possible danger to the health of the players. As a result, I was replaced by another participant,” he was quoted as saying.
Opinion among the chess community seems to favour Radjabov but it remains to be seen what stand Fide takes as it has made it clear that the Candidates event is only suspended and will continue from where it was stopped.