Legislating Good Behavior at the Chessboard

There is something about chess that brings out not only the artist but also the beast in both amateur players and professionals.  Garry Kasparov, the greatest player ever, has been known to storm off like a bull after losing, nearly running over unfortunate spectators and autograph seekers who happen to be in his way.  Bad behavior is nothing new: William the Conqueror, after being defeated by the Prince of France, reportedly smashed a chessboard over his royal opponent’s head.  FIDE, the world chess federation, doesn’t condone such violence, of course.  But today, FIDE’s presidential board went one step further and declared that it would forfeit players who did not behave like perfect gentlemen:

“Any player who does not shake hands with the opponent (or greets the opponent in a normal social manner in accordance with the conventional rules of their society) before the game starts in a FIDE tournament or during a FIDE match (and does not do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) or deliberately insults his/her opponent or the officials of the event, will immediately and finally lose the relevant game.”

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