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Boozy chess grandmaster passes out mid-game

Russian bad boy 'carried off' after 'refreshment' break

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Roistering Russian grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev, long famed as the Oliver Reed of the international pro chess circuit, reportedly passed out drunk during a tournament match in India and "had to be carried off".

According to the Indian Express, grog-swilling brainbox Tkachiev - born in Russia but nowadays playing as a Frenchman - was already well lubricated at the beginning of an early match at the Kolkata Open. He nodded off several times while pondering his strategy, and had to be awakened by nearby players.

Then, according to the Express, the thirsty player left the table and "briefly refreshed himself at the change room while his opponent waited". After returning to the match his condition worsened, and the boozy grandmaster eventually passed out completely, slumping unconscious across the table. Attempts to revive him failed, and he "eventually had to be carried off", says the paper.

Tkachiev was already well-known as something of a bon viveur, even among the hard-living grandmasters of the international pro scene. He is also an exponent of "blitz" or rapid-fire chess, where players have to make moves quickly rather than pondering for longer periods as in mainstream tournaments. Speaking of playing in this style, he once said "light seems brighter, and beer sweeter".

The Russian-born gamester also became famous a few years ago for setting up an online ranking system to discover the world's sexiest female pro chess player, an initiative dubbed "soft pawn" at the time. The "World Chess Beauty Contest" was supported by various luminaries of the game including Blighty's Nigel Short and many lady players - including saucy Russian grandmistress Maria Manakova, who had already posed nude on the cover of a Muscovite lad-mag.

Others, however, found Tkachiev's intellectual minx rankings degrading - among them one-time US champ Jennifer Shahade, author of the incendiary expose Chess Bitch, which lifts the lid off the crazy antics indulged in by hellraising pros as they "play chess by day and party long into the night".

It would seem that at least one bibulous bad boy of the black and white board has now gone too far, however.

Not only did Tkachiev forfeit the match following his untimely Indian hi-jinks, there is also talk of possible sanctions from the chess authorities. The drunken Russo-Frenchman's shenanigans were furthermore slammed by his former chess-crumpet connoisseur collaborator, with Nigel Short said to have stingingly condemned the incident. ®

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