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Candidates Chess: Why Firouzja asked to change shoes

April 15, 2024 16:43 IST

Alireza Firouzja

IMAGE: Alireza Firouzja was fuming after the warning. Photograph: FIDE/X

Alireza Firouzja's team might be instructing him to change his chess play as the grandmaster has had a rough start to the Candidates tournament, but the chief arbiter had another suggestion for the fashion-mad player: change your shoes.

The Iranian-born grandmaster, who plays for France, was told by chief arbiter Aris Marghetis to either spread his walking area or wear softer shoes after another player in the tournament complained about the noise Firouzja was making on Sunday during his round nine game against Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi.


"The floors are a little bit creaky, the players are used to that. When most players walk around during a round, you hear a creak. But Mr Firouzja had a very heavy footfall, it sounded like boots. It was stompish, if you will," Marghetis said in Toronto, where the double round robin tournament is being held.

"When I was reaching the conclusion that it was too loud, one of the players (Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan) officially complained to me. So I had to make a decision...

"I told him 'there has been a complaint about the noise you make while walking in this area, so maybe you spread your walking area or wear softer shoes'. Then he came back a few minutes later but he took a posture that was not comfortable and told me 'I might file an appeal because you distracted me'."

Marghetis added the arbitration team were also considering adding extra carpeting in the playing area.

Firouzja, who has only scored 3.5/9 and sits in penultimate spot in the eight-player tournament, was fuming.

"Shameful action by the chief arbiter Marghetis towards me during the game. Middle of the game during the most intense moment when I was walking during Ian move... he came to me and told me not to walk anymore because my shoe is making noise on the wooden floor," Firouzja wrote on social media platform X.

The winner of the Candidates will face China's Ding Liren for the world champion title next year.

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