– I was very surprised. It was a very sad read.
Ellen Carlsen told NRK that she was shocked by the experience that chess player Jennifer Shahade recently shared on social media.
In a lengthy post, the American takes a firm stance on the well-known male chess players in the international community.
Shahade claimed, among other things, that he and several others had experienced harassment and inappropriate behavior from those involved. Carlsen said he had known the man since he was 15-16 years old, and met him several times over the years.
– It would be embarrassing if that were true, he said, pointing out that the incident with the person was unknown to him.
The shoulder is currently being investigated for sexual misconduct, according to Chess.com. In a reply to the website, he said he could not comment on the debt as it was now under investigation. According to Chess.com, he still demonstrates:
– I fully cooperate with both requests and look forward to the opportunity to answer this debt and share my side of the story.
Shortly after Shahade’s post, Carlsen, who is the older brother of Norwegian chess star Magnus, took to Twitter to share his experience on the matter.
“It is not OK and normal for adults to contact minors by phone/text/unless there is a clear practical connection to the tournament,” he wrote.
In this interview with NRK, the former chess player shares his own, personal and uncomfortable experiences from chess at home in Norway.
Carlsen said that at the time he understood little, but later realized that was not true. It must have been a normal phone call and a message from an old man.
– When you are young, you think that it is your own fault or that you have behaved in a way that makes the other person think that we should be friends. That onus should be on adults – that you shouldn’t contact young people at all. It doesn’t matter.
He said that chess is one of the few arenas where children and adults compete against each other and are equal across the board. He then pointed out that it is very important that divisions are also clear between parties.
Carlsen himself stopped playing active chess in his mid-20s.
– That’s not what stopped me, but it did reduce the temptation to go to events in Norway.
post to Shahade made Carlsen decide to take action and report his own experience.
Last month, he posted a notification on the notification portal to the Norwegian Chess Federation.
– It was then and most importantly so that you can view the routine in such a way that you prevent it from happening in the future. If I’ve experienced it, I’m sure many others have.
“Who do you call when this happens?”, he asked himself.
NRK has previously clarified the topic and last year spoke to several young Norwegian chess players who said they had stopped playing chess due to what they described as a culturally abusive and exclusionary part of the sport. Swedish chess star Anna Cramling has also taken a firm stance on the matter.
– Should have done it a long time ago
In 2022, Norges Sjakkforbund and Ungdommens Sjakkforbund created a joint notification portal and adopted a common code of ethics for Norwegian chess. The association informed NRK that they had set up a notification committee to make it easier to report cases.
Kristine Marie Ganz assumed the role of general secretary of the Norwegian Chess Federation in June 2022 and confirmed to NRK that during her time they should have received one notification of unwanted attention. It must have involved an incident several years ago, without wanting to go into details on what it entailed. Nor would he confirm whether Ellen Carlsen was responsible for the notification.
Carlsen is now happy that they have a notification system set up and would like more people to sign up and use the service, should they experience something similar.
– I should have done it a long time ago. You may feel that you yourself have made a mistake. This happened to me even though we only analyzed one pool together, which is not uncommon at all.
“While you can feel your own embarrassment in such cases, it goes without saying that there may be many young people out there who do not have the courage to report or are unsure whether what they are experiencing is inappropriate,” he continued.
Nevertheless, Carlsen pointed out that action should have been taken sooner.
– Therefore, it’s a real shame that a few isolated incidents like that could destroy so many things.
He would also praise chess and eventually point out that chess federations and organizations are largely based on voluntary work. Therefore, the 34-year-old man believes that it is difficult to identify areas of deficiency that also require follow-up, and to achieve continuity in prevention work over time.
– But precisely because so much is volunteer-based, it’s all the more important to make it as easy as possible for organizers, clubs and coaches to have a good routine.
“Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student.”