Grandmasters David Navara (Czech Republic) and Alexander Moiseenko (Ukraine) received the Fair Play Prize today, provided by Natalia Komarova, Governor of Ugra. The return games of the Round 3 of the World Cup were played on September 4.
After lengthy fight David Navara reached a totally won endgame position, but offered his opponent, Alexander Moiseenko, a draw. After the game was drawn, the Czech grandmaster explained the reason behind this offer: earlier in the game he carelessly touched his king instead of his bishop. According to the rules, Navara had to move the king, but this would lead to an immediate loss. However, Moiseenko did not want to accept such advantage, which he considered unfair, and allowed his opponent to move the bishop. Navara eventually reached a won position, but returned the favor by offering a draw.
This situation created a lot of discussion around the chess world. The stakes at that moment were quite high: the losers of the Round 3 receive $12,800, while the winners advance to the Round 4, win at least $20,000 and have an opportunity to compete for three spots in the candidates’ tournament. Natalia Komarova, the Governor of Ugra, decided to award both players a special prize to acknowledge their fair play:
– In Ugra we pay a lot of attention to the spirit of fair play regardless of the level of the event. We encourage honor and generosity both at the chess board and in everyday life. I am personally very proud of both players, who sacrificed their strive for material gains. I could not simply overlook such a knightly act. This is the first time we are awarding the Fair Play Prize, but I think we will make it a tradition in future. You don't have to become a champion to win this prize, you just have to live in harmony with world and other people. I want to thank Alexander and David for reminding us of the fair play principles. The International Chess Federation's motto is “We are one family”. It is the same for everybody who lives or visits our Ugra land. David Navara thanked the Governor and added:
– I am very grateful for Mrs Komarova. But I didn't think of any reward when I offered a draw, I just did the right thing.
It worth mentioning that the Czech grandmaster eventually won the match on tie-break and advanced to the next round.
Alexander Moiseenko confessed:
– Of course losing always brings negative feelings. However, this is not the case. I lost not only to a very strong player, but also to a noble man. I think David's decision to offer me a draw is unique for the chess world – no one else would do it under such circumstances. I was simply shocked by his offer. I admire David's decision and wish him the best of luck at the World Cup.
Evgeny Redkin, the Olympic Champion 1992 in biathlon, congratulated both players and wished them success in future tournaments.