Following the incident, Alireza stated that he doesn’t want to play chess.

The FIDE Candidates Tour enters its mid phase as the standings slowly reflect the final results of the tournament. But on top of elite chess action, we also saw some heated drama. This time, between Alireza Firouzja and the chief arbiter of the Candidates Tour.

EDIT: In an interview later, Alireza's dad stated that he doesn't want to play chess anymore after the incident. "Last night, Alireza told me, "Dad I don't want to play chess," Hamidreza Firouzja stated.

Alireza complains after an arbiter interrupted him amidst Candidates Tour game

Round 9 of the Candidates Tour ended in a draw for the French-Iranian Grandmaster, Alireza Firouzja. He went up against the current leader of the standings, Ian Nepomniachtchi, - putting up a great performance met with Nepomniachtchi's brilliant defense. But Alireza would express dissatisfaction afterwards because of a much different reason.

After the Candidates Tour Round 9 ended, Alireza Firouzja took to Twitter/X to publicly call out chief arbiter, Marghetis, for interrupting him mid-match. The reason was that Alireza's shoes were making noises on the wooden floor thus the arbiter told the GM to stop walking around. He also asked Alireza to wear a different pair of shoes for the next days.

Shameful action by the chief arbiter Marghetis towards me during the game. Middle of the game in the most intense moment, when i was walking during [Ian's] move, chief arbiter , came to me and told me to not walk anymore because my shoe is making noise on the wooden floor.

Alireza on Twitter/X

In a follow-up tweet, Alireza explained that it's a pair of formal men shoes that have been approved for the event. He also mentioned that he has been wearing this same shoes, presumably for chess events, for more than one year. He called out for the arbiter to be punished for disrupting his focus in the middle of his game against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

You can also witness the moments of the incident in this clip by ChessBase India:

Chief Arbiter responds: "He was able to walk softly afterwards"

Following the complaint by Alireza, the chief arbiter hopped on an interview to respond. He explained that Alireza would pace back and forth in a small space in the refreshment area, and though this is a normal behavior, his footsteps were noticeably loud. But the arbiter did not take any action until one of the players complained. (The chief arbiter would later confirm that the player who complained was Nijat Abasov.)

One of the players officially complained to me. It was the player closest to where [Alireza was pacing]. So when the player told me, as a chief arbiter, I have a few responsibilities and one of them is to protect all of the players. The tournament integrity of the game. So I had to make a decision here. Is he disturbing more than I would disturb him?

Chief Arbiter @ Candidates Tour

The chief arbiter then decided to slowly approach Alireza in the refreshment space. He mentioned about the noise complaint and suggested for Alireza to either spread out to walk to other spaces or wear a different pair of "softer" shoes. He also noted that during this confrontation, it was during Alireza-Nepomniachtchi's early game and the players likely did not have as much time pressure.

Following his suggestions, Alireza stated: "I might file an appeal because you distracted me." Afterwards, the arbiter mentioned in the interview that Alireza continued to walk softer.

One thing I did find interesting was he walked more softly. So when I did bring it to his attention, he did walk more softly. And that was good. Nobody has complained afterwards.

Following Alireza's complaint and the chief arbiter's response, the chess community picked their sides in the issue. Some aren't too in favor of Alireza after he was caught in the center of many controversies in the past. But ultimately, many agree that a better venue or dress code would have stopped this situation from happening. The incident unfortunately had to end with a blunt end to one side and the arbiter had to choose the best method to deal with the incident.

For more about the Candidates Tournament, keep up with! You can also keep up with the Candidates Tour standings and pairings of each round below.

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