Women's Championship 2011 – Gaziantep or Tbilisi?

2/18/2011 – The Individual European Women's Championship 2011 was given to Gazaintep in Turkey – with for the first time a prize fund that was larger than the corresponding Men's Championship. After a disagreement with the European Chess Union the Turkish Chess Federation withdrew its bid. It was renewed – now with an increased prize fund. But chances are it will go to Tbilisi, Georgia. Politics as usual.

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Women's European Championship 2011 to be held in Tbilisi?

The Russian news portal Chess-News has been reporting that there is "a very high probability that the Individual European Women's Championship will be held in Tbilisi from 6 to 19 May 2011. The President of the European Chess Union (ECU), Silvio Danailov, is expected in the capital of Georgia, where a final decision is expected. The president of the Georgian Chess Federation, Gia Giorgadze, confirmed this information and announced that the prize fund will be 100,000 Euros."


The Georgian city of Tbilisi, where the European Women's Championship might be held

At the same time Chess-News drew attention to the fact that the President of Turkish Chess Federation (TCF), Ali Nihat Yazici, has renewed his offer to stage the Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey, and has in fact increased the prize fund offer by 10.000 €. Originally the tournament was awarded to Gazaintep, but the TCF withdrew its offer after differences with the ECU, then renewed it three weeks later, on January 18, after ECU President Danailov had suggested that there may be a more important issue at stake: The TCF might have had trouble financing the championship. Danailov said of Yazici: “The guy was looking to withdraw somehow from the very beginning.” We remind our readers that Danailov and Yazici were rival candidates at the election for the ECU Presidency at the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Silvio Danailov narrowly won that election.

After the renewed increase in the total prize fund this is what the offer looks like. The individual prizes exceed the ones offered for the Men's European Individual Chess Championship, which is to be held from March 21 to April 3rd in in Aix-les-Bains (France). The TCF set a goal of systematically outdoing the French in every category. Quite obviously they wanted to "write history" by making this the first Championships ever where the women have a larger prize fund than the men.

Prize
Aix-les-Bains 
Gaziantep (org) 
Gaziantep (new)
1
€ 20,000
€ 20,500
€  21.000
2
€ 15,000
€ 15,500
€  16.000
3
€ 11,000
€ 11,500
€  12.000
4
€ 8,000
€ 8,200
€  8.700
5
€ 7,000
€ 7,100
€  7.500
6
€ 6,000
€ 6,100
€  6.500
7
€ 5,500
€ 5,600
€  6.000
8
€ 5,000
€ 5,100
€  5.400
9
€ 4,500
€ 4,600
€  5.000
10
€ 4,000
€ 4,100
€  4.300
11
€ 3,500
€ 3,600
€  3.800
12
€ 3,000
€ 3,100
€  3.300
13
€ 2,500
€ 2,600
€  2.700
14
€ 2,200
€ 2,300
€  2.400
15
€ 2,000
€ 2,100
€  2.200
16
€ 1,900
€ 2,000
€  2.100
17
   
€  1.700
18
   
€  1.400
Total  
€ 101,000
€ 104,000
€ 112,000

In addition the bid provides € 10,000 for a three-day European Rapid Chess Championship and € 10,000 for a two-day European Women Blitz Championship. Together with a € 28,000 fee for the ECU this brings the total sum to € 160,000. The official bid is published here (in PDF), with further specifics given here (in Word). In addition there is also a letter (in PDF) written on February 7th by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to ECU President Silvio Danailov to accept the Turkish offer:

"I am asking you to accept the original offer of the Turkish Chess Federation and hold the event in March. If there are important reasons that my request is not accepted, I would ask you to discuss other dates with Turkish Chess Federation and in any case FIDE PB expects the prize fund to be not less than the original offer of Turkish Chess Federation."

The TCF news page is quite threatening:

As clearly stated at the FIDE Presidential Board meeting and in the subsequent letter, this European Championship is part of the World Championship Cycle, and the prize fund of any other organizer should not be less than the prize fund offered by the TCF. This world is a small world. We know that the ECU has been trying to give the event to some other federations, disregarding that condition. We are concerned that if the ECU continues to flout the FIDE PB and the FIDE President, then there may be actions proposed by TSF and taken by FIDE in legal way.

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