Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – officials from seven countries banned

6/9/2012 – At a recent FIDE meeting the Turkish Chess Federation, which is host to the 40th Chess Olympiad, was given a list of arbiters for the event. TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici rejected any officials from seven countries – England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA – for supporting court cases against FIDE and causing financial damage. The affected federations have protested.

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The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. The Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation. The previous Olympiad was held in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, the next will be in Tromsø, Norway. The first was held in Paris, France, in 1924, with 16 nations participating. The last Olympiad had 143 nations, 1294 competitors, and included no fewer than 254 grandmasters, 65 WGMs, 159 IMs, and 90 WIMs. This time the organisers are expecting even more.

Statement of the Turkish Chess Federation

Dear Chess Family,

I was invited by FIDE to participate in the meeting in Athens to select the arbiters for the 40th Chess Olympiad. I went to the meeting on 3rd May 2012. A list was drawn up, respecting the proposals of the Continental Presidents. However, on behalf of TSF, we have refused to accept some of the names on that list. These refusals are in no way personal, they are solely related to matters of chess and its well-being.

Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE. As TSF we respect legal issues; all players will be protected, whatever the actions of their federation.

I want everybody to look at this from our point of view. Each year, my federation contributes to FIDE €50-100,000. The damage created by the Karpov versus FIDE case is around USD 1 million. The case was purely political. The plaintiffs lost that court case. They did not even offer an apology for the damage their action inflicted on a large majority of national chess federations! The federations that supported that action have done nothing for chess but damage FIDE financially, forcibly diverting resources that would otherwise have been used for chess development (CACDEC, chess in schools, marketing, trainers, etc.).

Therefore, as TSF we react as a federation that has suffered from the actions of those 7 federations. We work hard, doing our best for chess, while some contribute only “bla, bla” and do nothing but damage our family.

Should we be quiet and cross our fingers that they will learn? Or should we act? We prefer to act and fight for our chess family. That is our position and the reasoning behind our decision.

Gens Una Sumus

Ali Nihat YAZICI
President of Turkish Chess Federation


The letter of the TCF refers to the lawsuit brought by Anatoly Karpov against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne during the last FIDE Presidential elections. Karpov sought to disqualify the Presidential ticket of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and was also filed by the federations of the US, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine, who challenged the legitimacy of Ilyumzhinov and vice presidential candidate Beatriz Marinello. The request was turned down by the court.

Currently the Court of Arbitration is reading a second case, brought by the English and the Georgian Chess Federations against FIDE, claiming that the nomination of five FIDE Vice Presidents has been illegal. They were Ali Nihat Yazici, Boris Kutin, Chu Bo, Ilya Levitov and Israel Gelfer, whom FIDE President Kirsan llyumzhinov nominated at the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk in October 2010. The plaintiffs point out that according to FIDE statutes the President can only nominate only two Vice-Presidents, not five. In the FIDE Presidential Board page we notice that GM Zurab Azmaiparashivili, who was for a long time a FIDE VP, but who was on the side of Karpov in the last election, is now missing.

The following reply to the above letter by the Turkish Chess Federation was sent not long in coming:

8 June 2012

FIDE Secretariat
9 Siggrou Avenue
Athens, Greece
11743
Attention:
Presidential Board
Chairman of FIDE Ethics Commission

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to register a formal protest at the actions of the Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) in its selection of the arbiters to officiate at the 40th Chess Olympiad, as set out in the open letter from the TCF President, Mr Ali Nihat Yazici, published on the FIDE website. In this letter, Mr Yazici states:

"A list was drawn up, respecting the proposals of the Continental Presidents. However, on behalf of TSF, we have refused to accept some of the names on that list. These refusals are in no way personal, they are solely related to matters of chess and its well-being.

"Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE."

The letter goes on to refer to seven (unnamed) federations, which from the context must mean the five federations which took legal action against FIDE in 2010 (France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA) plus the two federations who have an ongoing action against FIDE in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Georgia and England).

It should be noted that Mr Yazici is himself one of the Vice Presidents of FIDE whose appointment is under challenge in the ongoing legal action.

In admitting to the exclusion of individuals from the role of arbiter on this basis, the TCF President is in breach of FIDE Statute 1.2, which states:

"FIDE is concerned exclusively with chess activities. FIDE is democratically established and bases itself on the principles of equal rights of its members. FIDE is a non profit making organisation.

"It rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender."

It is also in violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics, article 2.2.3, which refers to:

"Organizers, tournament directors, arbiters or other officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner."

The open letter from Mr Yazici acknowledges that nominated individuals from seven federations were excluded because of legal action taken by those federations against FIDE. This is irrelevant to the selection of the Olympiad arbiters and cannot be considered anything other than a discriminatory political act.

As the Olympiad is an official FIDE event, the organisers have a clear duty to adhere to the FIDE Statutes and FIDE Code of Ethics. We are formally requesting that the Presidential Board and Ethics Commission consider this matter urgently and demand that the Turkish Chess Federation reconsider its appointments, this time in an impartial and non-discriminatory fashion.

Please confirm receipt of this message.

Yours faithfully,

English Chess Federation

This letter is supported by the following FIDE members, listed in alphabetical order:

  • French Chess Federation
  • German Chess Federation
  • Swiss Chess Federation
  • Ukrainian Chess Federation
  • United States Chess Federation

While we are on the subject the combative Mr Yazici last week circulated the following open letter directed at the European Chess Union. "Taking under consideration that we have finished the half term of ECU mandate," he writes in an accompanying email, "we ask officially attached questions to ECU Board, Treasurer, and auditor. We will be happy if all those questions answered in Istanbul GA. Clearly answers of those questions may be predecessor of some other actions."

Dear President of ECU, Board Members, Treasurer and Auditor,

We have reached half term and as an active member of ECU, we wonder if you would mind answering the following questions, which will be distributed to all member federations before the ECU GA in Istanbul:

  1. Did the ECU manage to find any NEW sponsorship in 2011 and 2012? If yes, what is the amount of such sponsorship?

  2. Although in Istanbul the ECU Board will be discharged for 2011, in the Porto Carras GA, ECU management asked for new staff salaries and promised sponsorship. Did the ECU raise even a single cent in sponsorship this year?

  3. In Porto Carras General Assembly, during the ECU President’s presentation, he said that €100.000 had been raised for the chess in school program of the ECU. Where is this money and for what has it been or will be used? Are there any contracts covering this?

  4. Did the ECU pay anything to, or costs for Mr. Garry Kasparov for chess in school promotion. If yes, how much and may we get the list of expenses? Again, if yes, is there a board decision or contract to pay those amounts to Mr. Kasparov?

  5. We see it as an entirely good development in ECU that Mr.Topalov, ex-World Champion and great legend, visits federations with the President and promotes chess. Who covered all those expenses of GM Topalov, and if ECU did (either all or in part), is there any stipend?

  6. Did ECU spend any financial resource for PR/Marketing? If Yes, which products or services have been purchased and through which sources?

  7. According to GA decision in Porto Carras, there would be a budget for small nations in Europe. Has anything been paid out for this? If yes, how much, to which federations and for what purposes? If not, why not?

  8. What about the financial impact of the new chess projects that Mr. Danailov was/is promoting, such as the Club for Journalists?

We kindly ask the Treasurer and Auditor to provide answers to all those questions, separately and with appropriate relevant documentation.

Best regards,
Ali Nihat YAZICI
President of Turkish Chess Federation


Schedule

27 August 2012 Arrival, Captains' meeting (20.00), Opening (21.30)
28 August 2012 15.00 1st Round
29 August 2012 15.00 2nd Round
30 August 2012 15.00 3rd Round
31 August 2012 15.00 4th Round
1 September 2012 15.00 5th Round
2 September 2012   Free Day
3 September 2012 15.00 6th Round
4 September 2012 15.00 7th Round
5 September 2012 15.00 8th Round
6 September 2012 15.00 9th Round
7 September 2012 15.00 10th Round
8 September 2012   Free Day
9 September 2011 11.00 11th Round, Closing (20.00)
10 September 2011 Departure

Links

Previous reports

Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – official web site up
06.04.2012 – The 40th Chess Olympiad is scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropole of Istanbul, from August 27 to September 10th, 2012. With just over four months to go the national federations will have to make haste with the arrangements. The official web site, launched this week, provides information on rules, travel and accommodation. Details, contacts, videos.

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