Chess - it’s also about the conflict
The 42nd Chess Olympiad has begun in Baku today. However, it will be held without one of the strongest chess teams, three-time Olympic champion, Armenia.
The Armenian side’s official version is that the decision was made by the sportsmen themselves, who were not confident in their security, though Azerbaijan guaranteed to ensure their safety at the state level. On the contrary, last year a delegation of Armenian chess players, headed by its leader, Levon Aronyan, came to Baku to participate in the World Cup. There were no incidents. The public opinion of both countries has obviously become more negative following the 4-day war in April. Yet, there is another, unofficial version, according to which the decision was made on the recommendation of the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, who is also the President of the Armenian Chess Federation.
In all fairness, it must be said that Azerbaijani chess players also refused to participate in the World Chess Team Championship in Tsaghkadzor.
Pierre de Frédy, the baron de Coubertin one of the founders of the modern Olympic movement, coined the motto: “O Sports, you bring us Peace!” Unfortunaely, sports have turned into a political tool. After WWI, the victor countries banned the German athletes from participating in any tournaments. In response, Germany held the 1936 Berlin Olympiad, serving to demonstrate the superiority of ‘the supreme race’. We can also recall the attempt to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics or the disqualification of Russian athletes in Rio, etc.
Who is going to count, how much Azerbaijan has spent on buying mercenaries and what political dividends we have gained from it? Have we gained any at all? I recently watched a film by Go Group about the Georgian hockey squad. There are no mercenaries, only Georgians, to say nothing of rugby.
Where can we find a new baron de Coubertin to revive the principle “O Sports, you bring us Peace!”?