Who is Ali Nihat Yazici?

12/22/2004 – He is the president of the Turkish Chess Federation and known for staging numerous international chess tournaments – for instance the European individual, team and youth championships in the last two years. Now he is undertaking to do the big one: the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov reunification match. We introduce you to a tireless chess organizer.

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My first encounter with Ali Nihat was typical of our day and age. It occurred during a break at the FIDE General Assembly during the Chess Olympiad in Calvià, two months ago. I recognized him from the pictures we published of him during the many events he had staged in Turkey (see links below). He was sitting behind me, so I turned around and asked: "You are Ali Nihat, aren't you?" "Yes, president of the Turkish Chess Federation," he said, whipping out a card. "And you are...?". "Frederic Friedel," I replied. Ali froze in the middle of our handshake, then jumped to his feet, dragging me with him. "You are Frederic??" he cried. "My goodness, at last we meet!"

The point is that we have been friends and closely associated for many years now. Ali Nihat has always drawn our attention to the many international tournaments he and the Turkish Chess Federation have staged in the past years, and faithfully sent us visuals to support our reports. We have worked together very productively and corresponded in countless emails. But prior to Calvià we had never met in person.


At a press conference with Garry Kasparov during the European Club Cup 2004

Ali Nihat comes with an impressive CV. Born in 1964 in Adapazari, Turkey, both parents being teachers. In 1987 he attended the Technical University of Istanbul to study electronic and communication engineering. In 1994 he did an MBA degree at the Middle East Technical University, and in 1996 completed the highest honour degree of IAB (International Academy of Broadcasting) in Montreux, Switzerland. He has worked as an engineer in the Turkish Radio Television Corporation, becoming Chief Engineer of the TRT in 1992, and Head of the TV department of TRT in 1999.

In 2000 Ali, who speaks English and French (and of course occasionally Turkish), was elected President of Turkish Chess Federation. He is a board member of the ECU (European Chess Union), Deputy President of the MCA (Mediterrenean Chess Association), FIDE Arbiters’ Council member, a FIDE International Arbiter and FIDE international Chess Organiser.


Ali with his wife Ebru and daughter Eylem Ekin. They also have a two-month-old daughter Ece Ekim.

As the president of the Turkish Chess Federation, Ali has successfully campaigned to make chess an elective course in all primary schools – starting from September 2005 chess will be offered in all schools in Turkey. The Federation expects to have around 100,000 members by the end of 2005 and, quite unabashedly, one million by the end of 2008. They are aiming at 12,000 chess teachers for the Primary Schools. Ali has recruited GMs Predrag Nikolic, Vassily Ivanchuk (who now speaks fluent Turkish) and Mikhail Gurevich for 7-10 days training camps.


Like most Turkish men (?!) Ali is at home In the kitchen

When FIDE ran into a problem with the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov reunification match, scheduled for December in Dubai, the Turkish Chess Federation immediately offered an alternative proposal. The deadlines are tight, but Ali estimates that he has a better than 65% chance of pulling it off. For the next four years the Turkish Chess Federation has been entrusted with staging the following events:

  • 2005 The World Juniors Chess Championships (Men and Women)
  • 2005 The Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov Reunification World Chess Championship Match
  • 2006 The World Youth Under 16 Chess Olympiad
  • 2006 The European Individual Chess Championships (Men and Women)
  • 2007 The World Youth Chess Championships
  • 2007 The FIDE General Assembly and Congress
  • 2008 The World Youth Under 16 Chess Olympiad
  • 2012 Turkey is a candidate for the Chess Olympiad (in Antalya)


The perennial optimist...

Here is a selection of ChessBase reports that have come out of Turkey in the last two years:

Frederic Friedel


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