Friday, Feb 03, 2023

‘Felt Humiliated’: Indian chess Grand Master SL Narayanan after being made to stand barefeet for metal detector check in middle of playing hall

Arbiter apologised after the detector beeped for another player as well, but a disturbed Narayanan lost the subsequent match.

Indian GM SL Narayanan was made to stand barefoot in the middle of a playing hall in the Bundesliga chess league. (Twitter/@GMNarayananSL)

Indian GM SL Narayanan says he “felt humiliated” after he was made to stand barefoot in the middle of a playing hall before his match while playing in the Bundesliga chess league on Sunday.

So affected was he by the humiliation, that he lost his first match of the season for his team SV Deggendorf. He was beaten by the Czech Republic No. 1 GM David Navara. This was his first loss of the season for the team SV Deggendorf.

The 24-year-old put out a statement on Twitter and Facebook late on Sunday, explaining his ordeal.

“Today I felt humiliated,” his statement read.

“I played in the Bundesliga today. Before the first round, I was one of the 5 players picked by the arbiter for a random check. During the check with a metal detector, there was a beep sound. So, I was told to remove my shoes and they checked again. Beep. Now, I was told to remove my socks. The arbiter then ran the metal detector on my naked foot and we heard the beep again.

“At this point, I was told to move aside and the next player was asked to step forward. It is hard to explain how bad it felt as if I was guilty of something I had no clue about whatsoever.

“All this happened in the middle of the playing hall. I held a sock and stood with a bare left foot. Imagine how I might have felt,” he wrote.

The ordeal soon ended as the security, on hearing the beep in the other player’s foot too, decided to check the carpet underneath only to realise that it was the cause of the beep.

“The arbiter apologised to me. But I must say how embarrassing it was. And mind you, this happened just minutes before my round.


“The fact that the arbiter apologised is appreciated. But this whole situation could have been handled better. Yes, we need such vigilant arbiters to prevent cheating in chess but at the same time they should act in some professional way,” he wrote.

Ever since five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen accused American GM Hans Niemann of cheating in September this year, security at chess over-the-board tournaments has been beefed up. While checks happened earlier too, now the testing has become more rigid.

Conspiracy theories have been floating that chess players can carry the smallest of gadgets with them at tournaments with some even suggesting that vibrating anal beads can be used.

So even a small beep during security checks is bound to raise suspicion.


While security checks are done at the entrance, detailed searches are generally conducted in private. What seems to have irked Narayanan was that he was made to stand barefoot in the middle of the playing hall, while other players were presumably staring at him.

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Narayanan, who two days ago won the individual bronze medal for India at World Team Chess Championship, called on FIDE and the tournament organisers to “save players from going through such humiliation.”

First published on: 28-11-2022 at 14:25 IST
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