15 February 2017 – The ACP Board would like to inform the chess community about the unfair decision of Singapore Chess Federation (SCF), which has banned the country's top players GM Zhang Zhong and WGM Li Ruofan from the participation in the forthcoming Zonal tournament in Philippines, starting on February 24, 2017.
In spite of numerous attempts of ACP President Emil Sutovsky to resolve the issue, the SCF was reluctant to change its attitude. SCF accuses players of not signing an internal Singapore players' agreement on time – although eventually players did agree to sign it. GM Zhang Zhong is accused of registering directly in the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Doha. Directly, and not through the SCF – but this was allowed and approved by FIDE! Finally, the players are accused of an insufficient involvement in the local chess life – which sounds like a vague and unconvincing accusation.
GM Zhang Zhong and WGM Li Ruofan are by far the highest-rated players in Singapore, and we firmly believe denying their very participation (not talking about any fee or covering the expenses!) in the World Championship Cycle tournament is unacceptable.
We call upon FIDE to find a solution to this problem urgently in order to enable the players to participate in the Zonal tournament. ACP will keep supporting its members, GM Zhang Zhong and WGM Li Ruofan - publicly and, if needed, legally.
The Tagaytay, Philippines, Asian Zonal 3.3 takes place from February 24 to March 6, 2017.
Chinese-born Singaporean GM Zhang Zhong, twice Chinese champion and the 2005 Asian champion, at the Malaysian Chess Festival 2014. Zhang is married to ...
... Chinese-Singaporean chess player IM and WGM Li Ruofan (at the 2008 5th Dato’ Arthur Tan Open)
Read this “Bisik-Bisik” conversation with Edwin Lam Choong Wai in 2008 with the golden couple from China GM Zhang Zhong and WGM Li Ruofan. As if a match made in heaven, both of them were born in 1978 and share the same Chinese astronomical sign of the Horse. And, interestingly, they also share the same passion for the game of chess.