April 18, 2024

Gligoric Trophy 2024: Call for Nominations

Svetozar Gligoric Trophy is an award given by FIDE to the individual who display exemplary behaviour promoting the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship in chess. Candidates to win the Svetozar Gligoric Trophy 2024 shall have demonstrated the following accomplishments during the period August 10, 2022 to August 10, 2024: 

– Outstanding gesture or action of sportsmanship during the sport event.

– Outstanding contribution to the popularization of values and principles of Fair Play.

– Outstanding initiatives on enforcement of integrity and high ethical values.

The Svetozar Gligoric Trophy is a recognition of sportsmen who exercise the fundamental values of Fair Play both during and beyond the game. It is a way of thinking rather than a mere behaviour and is based on the concepts of:

Fairness – To enjoy the victory is not enough. Triumph must include fairness and honesty.

Respect – Written rules are mandatory. Unwritten rules of respect to all are obligatory.

Friendship – Rivalry in sports does not exclude friendship

Team Spirit – A genuine consideration for team-mates

Equality – Competing on equal terms is essential

Tolerance – The willingness and ability to accept what you may not agree with

Care – True champions care about each other

Nomination Procedures 

The winner of the Svetozar Gligoric Trophy is selected annually by the FIDE Award Commission, comprised of Mr Mahir Mammedov (chairman) and members of the Commission GM Mrs Judit Polgar and GM Mr Eugenio Torre. 

Proposals for Nominations (Nomination Letter) from Continental Federations, National Federations, and FIDE Commissions shall be submitted to the Gligoric Trophy Award Commission of FIDE (gligorictrophy@fide.com) no later than August 10, 2024. 

Nominations from individuals, including self-nominations, are also allowed, but they should be channelled through the Federation associated with the nominee.

Please note that this award is for the nominee’s accomplishments during the preceding year, NOT a recognition of a lifelong career.

The Commission’s decision is final and not open to discussion. The members of the Commission shall not give justification unless they wish so.

The Award Ceremony will be held during the 45th FIDE Olympiad in Budapest in September 2024.

About the award 

The Fair Play Award, named after Svetozar Gligoric, was established by FIDE in 2019. 

It honors the figure of Svetozar Gligoric, one of the top players in the world in the 1950s and 1960s and also one of the most prominent, owing to his particularly engaging personality. At the chessboard, Gligoric was an uncompromising fighter and, at the same time, a symbol of gentlemanhood and correctness. His impeccable reputation has been a deserved result of his success in chess games and fair-play manners. Gligoric’s trademark was high respect for his chess opponents. His main principle was: „It’s chess pieces, not a man I play against!“ It is no coincidence that the book of Gligoric’s selected games is titled „I play against pieces!“ 

The first recipient of the Svetozar Gligorich Award was the world champion Magnus Carlsen, who received the trophy just minutes before his debut game at the FIDE World Cup 2021 in Sochi.

In 2020, when all chess activities and competitions were moved to the online arena, Magnus Carlsen reached the semi-finals in the $150,000 online „Chessable Masters“ against Ding Liren. Ding, playing from China, struggled with connection problems throughout the whole event, and in the final moments of his first game against Carlsen, he suffered an unfortunate disconnection at a vital moment. Unable to reconnect on time, the Chinese Grandmaster lost the game.

Minutes later, in the second game between them, the World Champion gave up his queen and resigned after just four moves to restore parity in the match. Despite the high stakes and being a ruthless competitor, Magnus Carlsen demonstrated that winning fairly was far more important to him than winning at any cost.

Next year, 2021, the Svetozar Gligoric trophy went to GM Jerguš Pecháč for his exemplary behaviour and fair play spirit. 

The 21-year-old Slovak GM made the headlines in the second round of the European Qualification Tournament when his over-the-board rival Boris Gelfand, Israel, blundered the queen due to a mouse slip. That game was a qualifier for the FIDE World Cup in Sochi. Despite the high risk of failing to reach the next round, Pecháč graciously offered a draw to his opponent, not taking advantage of Gelfand’s unfortunate mistake. With his action, Jerguš risked not reaching the third round, but luckily for him, he advanced anyway by winning the Armageddon.

The Slovak GM again demonstrated that winning at all costs is not a priority – a noble gesture that Svetozar Gligoric himself would have undoubtedly applauded.

Jerguš Pecháč was awarded Gligorich Prize during the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, in 2022, and, symbolically enough, the awared was handed out right before his game against the first winner of the Trophy, Magnus Carlsen.

The third awardee of the Gligoric Trophy is Jaden Shaw, 15, Jamaica’s Absolute Junior Champion (U20), and FIDE Candidate Master (CM). Jaden received the prize during the closing ceremony of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, 2022. His opponent, GM Meelis Kanep from Estonia, got sick during the Jamaica – Estonia match and thus could not finish the game. 

Jaden, who debuted at the Chess Olympiad, could have rightfully insisted on such a landmark victory but agreed to a draw. This act of true sportsmanship, lauded by many, including the president of FIDE and the chief minister of Chennai, compelled the FIDE Award Commission to make an exception to the rules and to hand out the second, off-the-schedule award in the same year.