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On February 6, 2023, Chess.com decided to ban me from all prize events for the rest of 2023.
After a game versus a Chinese grandmaster, I had a suspicion that my opponent was cheating. However, cheating in one single game is very difficult to prove. After the game I was unfortunately using an offensive language, which Chess.com incorrectly interpreted as racist language. None of these expressions used were meant to be racist – and if anyone got offended you have my sincere apologies. I have friends and chess fans all over the world of different ethnic origins. In my view all people are equal – Black or White, Asians or Europeans.

Online cheaters on Chess.com usually get a second chance if they confess. I think all can agree that cheating is by far the worst thing you could do in chess and especially in prize tournaments. However in my case, Chess.com decided to put the ban without any prior discussion. It is equivalent to sentence someone in court without any fair trial. In fact, Chess.com decided to run a world-wide defamation campaign against me, not only seriously harming my reputation but also by not following the regulations given in FIDE Code of Ethics, which states that a verbal incident like this could render in a warning at most.

The only rational conclusion of this story is that Chess.com is abusing their power, as one of the most powerful online platforms, to run an unethical, shameful and completely unnecessary defamation drive against me.

In this difficult situation I offered them a peaceful resolution – to remove the ban and at the same time publish a mutual statement with my apology. However Chess.com have now chosen to continue the path of conflict and fight. I think each and everyone in the chess community should ask themselves if they believe that Chess.com’s one-year ban against me, without any prior discussion or warning, is proportional to my eventual verbal wrongdoings.

Clearly, this story tells that it is more important for Chess.com to state an example rather than fighting the real enemies in chess – the online cheaters.

GM Baadur Jobava
Tbilisi, Georgia February 18, 2023