×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Chess Star Karyakin Defends Support for Russian Crimea

Richard Drew / AP

Russian chess grandmaster Sergei Karyakin has defended his outspoken support for Russia's annexation of Crimea.

“I have my opinion, and I have the right to express it,” Karyakin said in an exclusive interview with The Moscow Times. “If that offends anyone, there's nothing I can do. It’s my opinion and not a bargaining chip.”

Karyakin, who was born in the Crimean city of Simferopol, has been a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The 26-year-old grandmaster represented Ukraine in international competitions until 2009, when he began representing Russia.

He placed second in the 2016 World Chess Championship last week, eventually losing a dramatic tiebreak match to Norway's Magnus Carlsen.

“Of course, I was really upset that I lost, but the match was relentless, so there's nothing for me to be ashamed of,” Karyakin told The Moscow Times. “I did everything I could, but I just fell slightly short.”

Karyakin, who became the world's youngest grandmaster at the age of 12, pledged to bring a chess world champion title back to Russia in the future.

“Russia has always had a strong chess tradition,” he said, but Russia no longer dominates the field as Soviet players did.

“We have not become worse,” Karyakin said, “but our competition has just gotten stronger.”

Eva Hartog contributed to this report.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more