Drunk chess star dozes off, concedes match at Kolkata Open

In an unusual incident at the ongoing Kolkata Open Grandmasters Chess Tournament on Thursday, a top-rated French player had to concede his game after he couldn't sit through his match against his opponent. Reason — he showed up drunk at the venue, slept through his moves several times over, and eventually had to be carried off.

Vladislav Tkachiev of France, who boasts of an ELO-rating of 2669, was declared 'timed run-out'— a rarity in international chess — when officials at the event decided he wasn't in a condition to carry on against Tamil Nadu's Praveen Kumar. The Indian player walked away with a point.

The sight of a player falling over the chessboard, and eventually stumbling out of the venue, drew a fair number of giggles from the other players at the international championship at the Alekhine Chess Club in Gorky Sadan, but the organisers said action would be taken against Tkachiev.

Alekhine Chess Club official and tournament co-organiser Soumen Majumder told The Indian Express that the incident was bad advertisement for the tournament and that a meeting would be held to take action against the French player. "What happened is unfortunate. It's in bad taste. Once the event is over, we will hold a meeting and decide how to proceed against this player," he said.

Tkachiev's opponent Praveen Kumar didn't want to comment. "All I have to say is that I was given the point after the match, that's all," he said.

The match lasted over an hour, with the French player repeatedly dozing off while contemplating a move. Each time he fell asleep, players around would try to wake him up with a shake of the shoulder. Some even offered him water, and Tkachiev, having briefly refreshed himself at the change room while his opponent waited, dozed off again and eventually had to be carried off. Russian-born Tkachiev, aged 35, is an accomplished chess player, and had played against Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship Knockout back in 2001. Chess star Nigel Short, the biggest attraction at the event, expressed his disgust at the incident, advising the organisers to promptly eject him from the tournament.

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