'Another day for you and me in Paradise'

by ChessBase
6/11/2003 – This morning we published an open letter sent to us by participants of the European Championships in Silivri, Turkey. A few hours later we received a message from the President of Turkish Chess Federation Ali Nihat Yazici: "I have read the news on the site today. Thank you for covering event. I attach a letter and would be glad if you publish this as an answer." Here it is...

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Open Letter to Chess Players and Media

"Another day for you and me in Paradise" - Phil Collins

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Dear journalists and chess players,

Following the publication of the open letter by some of the participants in the European Individual Chess Championships in Silivri, Turkey, we would like to clarify some accusations, remarks and points made by the participants who signed this letter.

1. The Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) secured the organization of both men and women tournaments through a transparent bidding process in the European Chess Union (ECU). All conditions were clearly stipulated and agreed upon during the last ECU General Assembly. The TCF even filled a gap when the original bidding Federation withdrew its offer. All players who came to Silivri or were sent by their Federations, were aware at the outset about these conditions. It is very strange therefore that some players are claiming unfair conditions since these were publicly announced quite well in advance.

2. The TCF has increased the prize fund to a record $192,000 for the men's tournament and $44,000 for the women's tournament which is the highest ever in the history of the ECU. As players are highly aware, sponsors do not grow on trees and one key condition of the sponsor was that the tournament should be held in the Hotel Princess in Silivri. Whilst some players have requested that they be free to chose the hotel they would like to stay in the future, this would only impact on the eventual prize money which would be awarded.

3. A claim has been made that some Russian tourists pay $35 per night full board. Despite the assurance of the general manager that this is impossible, the claim was still made without any proof being provided! In fact a verbal retraction was made by one of the players, which was not amended also in their open letter, since there is now an admission by this player that the rate quoted was for half board and that there are some other costs….

4. The quality of organisation in this tournament cannot be compared with the quality of previous tournaments. TCF has participated in these tournaments and has first hand experience of the conditions offered then. We have offered during these two tournaments:

  • five star hotel rooms
  • open buffet (reallly open buffet!!) meals.
  • excellent hotel facilities, pools, sauna, fitness rooms etc…
  • free coffee/tea service during the tournament (approximately every day 2,500 cups of tea or coffee are consumed!)
  • outstandingly excellent carpeted playing halls (around 3,000 square metres) as you have seen in the regular photos on the organization web site
  • free internet browsing facilities with 35 network points provided for the players
  • free bulletins posted nightly after each round
  • 24 hour doctor available on call for the players and free medicine (cost to organiser)
  • top ten games of each tournament transmitted live over the internet daily
  • highest ever prize fund!

5. Another misleading issue is the rates which were quoted. In the case of Warsaw 2001, the rate quoted is for a double room. The single room rate was $60. It was also conevenient to leave out a very little point. The exchange rate in May 2001 for an ECU was 1$= 1.1274€ (this data is available widely on the web and can be easily confirmed) whilst the rate as at today is 1$ = 0.8568€. A basic calculation shows that the rate for Warsaw was therefore 67.6€ whilst in Silivri it works out at 68.54€. Quite a difference!

6. Other interesting points conveniently left out are that the prize money in Ohrid was subject to 15% tax charge whereas the TCF has managed to obtain this year's prizes tax-free.

7. As the host organiser the TCF does not 'do whatever we want'. This is a completely unfair comment since their Federations ultimately represent these players and whilst constructive comments are appreciated there is no recommendation at any point in the letter to, say, reduce the prize fund by around $50,000 and consequently reduce the demands on sponsors. The National Federations are directly the members of the ECU and the players are represented by their Federation. There is a forum to discuss these issues in a professional manner. Chess is a respectable sport and we expect the players to act in fair and ethical ways.

8. The majority of signatories on the letter have all their expenses covered by their own National Federation. Any claims about costs should be made by the National Federations themselves, and the motive behind the players' claims in these cases is not understandable.

9. A number of players have apologized in writing to both the ECU President and the TCF that they had not been informed correctly of the contents of the letter and they do not agree with the points of the open letter. We will provide copies of these letters if requested.

10. Regarding the prize fund for the woman's tournament, the TCF has always declared in advance that the prize money for Silivri would work out at $35,000 (TCF contribution) plus FIDE's contribution of $20,000 less the 20% for ECU and FIDE charges.

11. TCF is one of the only organizers who had declared their tournament budget and costs. The tournament is the strongest ever in the history of ECU chess and this is thanks to the prize fund. We did not try and cut corners since we must try and do everything in the best professional way. The chess world is currently going through some difficult times to find sponsors and all people should work together to achieve the best results.

Some players have understood the situation and thanked the TCF for the hospitality and quality of organisation. We will be guided by discussions in the future within ECU and recommendations by players are always welcome. However we feel that our reply is honest and fair, as we have always tried to be and that the chess world benefits from such prestigious events.

Ali Nihat Yazici
President - Turkish Chess Federation

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