Violence can NEVER be justified, what ever the motive, and for this reason I express my solidarity with Timur for what happened in the early morning hours on Sunday in Figueira da Foz. HOWEVER, it seems that some blogs/internet sources have got their information wrong, and have created the impression that this kind of thing happens regularly in Figueira da Foz.
Mr.Gareev was NOT assaulted when he went for a walk from his hotel. I met up with him and some other chess players about 1 am at a popular pub in the centre of the city and can tell the reader that he was in fine shape and spirits, and was celebrating his brilliant win in the tournament that ended earlier in the evening. I don’t think that anyone was drinking too much, but it was clear that the evening was just beginning for Timur.
We chatted amically for about 20 minutes before Timur and his friends decided to leave and ‘bar-hop’ in the popular area. I stayed behind, planning to get up early the next day.
Timur–for those who have never had the pleasure to meet him–while a very friendly person, has serious social-skill deficits. He has the emotional development of a adolescent. For example, over dinner earlier in the evening, several of the chessplayers noted that Timur seemed to not be aware that he was insulting people, especially women. No scene was created, however, as he was amongst friends and we understood that he meant no harm.
Later in the evening, according to what I learned, his closest friend returned home/to his hotel, leaving Timur virtually all alone. It was after that that Timur got into several scuffles with three men. I won’t get into details, as probably the police are investigating the case and I have only third-hand information. However, when I went to the hospital the next day to see Timur, I had the opportunity to speak with him about what happened, it struck me that he could NOT remember much of what happened. I understand this to mean that Timur had too much to drink by that time. Everything started as a pub-brawl…
I have travelled a lot around the world, and one thing that I have learned is that if you want to stay safe at 4 am in a pub in a foreign land that has lots of men and women–all of which have had (probably) too much to drink, then you need to have good social skills. It is just so easy to misunderstand something that is said (with good intentions) and consider it a provocation…BUT EVEN SO, if this is indeed how things started, it is NO justification for violence. What happened to Timur might have a simple explanation, but never a justification.