ACP protest against FIDE world championship

5/29/2004 – The unclarity regarding the participation of Israeli players in the world chess championship in Tripoli (June 18 to July 13, 2004) has led the Association of Chess Professionals to protest vigorously against FIDE's strategy in staging this event in Libya. FIDE has replied by publishing the final participants' list – with no Israeli players.

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We received the ACP open letter a few days ago. Since it was addressed to FIDE we decided to forward it to the Chess Federation with a request for a reply. Unfortunately none of the higher FIDE officials were present in the Athens headquarters. The letter was passed on to Elista, where the officials are attending the Women's World Championship. Then, last night FIDE reacted: by publishing the final list of participants for the Libyan World Championship. There are no Israeli players on it. We bring you a summary of the ACP Open Letter, the original text as we received it, and FIDE' final participants list.

Summary

It the open letter the ACP complains that no announcement had been made (at the date of writing) of the final list of participants, although this is long overdue. Furthermore the status of qualified players holding an Israeli passport remains unclear. FIDE's assurances that visas will be granted to all participants has been cast in doubt by statements by Mohammed Gadhafi, the President of the Libyan Olympic Committee (see links below). Now Libya is stating that participants of the WCC will be given their visas upon arrival at the Tripoli airport, which would compel the Israeli participants to travel to an Arab country without possessing a visa. Furthermore Israeli participants would be granted a Libyan visa, but trainers or close relatives would be denied entrance.

The ACP states that as a sports federation affiliated to the IOC, it is the duty of FIDE to ensure that qualified competitors from all origins are given equal access to the WCC. In view of difficulties and protests by some players FIDE has refused to reinstate Malta as a secondary venue. The ACP demands that FIDE provide written evidence from the Libyan authorities, unambiguously stating that Israeli players will be granted a visa upon their arrival in Tripoli. General formulas, whereby the Libyan government "will pleasantly provide entry visas to all qualified participants" is not explicit enough.

"Unless that document is produced shortly, it is very unlikely that Israeli players will agree on a hazardous journey to Libya and therefore, they will be forced to renounce their participation in the WCC. At present, the assumption prevails in the chess world that this is precisely the way FIDE hopes this embarrassing problem will be settled."


Open Letter from the ACP to FIDE President, Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Dear Mr President,

The next FIDE World Chess Championship (WCC), to be held in Tripoli (Libya), between the 18th of June and the 13th of July 2004, is due to start soon and yet, many pressing questions remain unanswered. To begin with, although the deadline for reserve players to submit their undertakings has elapsed on the 5th of May 2004, no announcement has been made by FIDE regarding the final list of participants. Three weeks after the deadline and less than a month prior to the event, you will appreciate that such an announcement is long overdue.

Secondly, the qualified players holding an Israeli passport, some of them representing a different country than Israel, are clearly concerned that they will not be allowed to enter Libya and will, as a result, simply be excluded from the World Championship.

Despite assurances from the FIDE Secretariat that visas will be granted to all participants, several facts have recently cast serious doubts on this claim.

1) On the 6th of May 2004, Associated Press have quoted Mr Mohammed Gadhafi, the President of the Libyan Olympic Committee, who also heads the Organizing Committee of the FIDE WCC, as denying that Israeli participants would be allowed inside Libya. The wording of the statement was very strong and left no doubt as to its meaning: the Israeli players are not welcome in Libya.

2) Upon inquiry at the Libyan embassy in Paris, it has been confirmed that a person applying for an entry visa to Libya should not have "an Israeli visa or a trace of passage on Israeli territory" in his or her passport, let alone have an Israeli passport. This necessarily implies that visas would be granted in exceptional conditions for the sole purpose of the FIDE World Championship, however, at this point in time, Libyan consular authorities do not seem to be aware of such exceptional measures.

3) For unclear reasons, the participants of the WCC will not be able to obtain their visas at any of the Libyan embassies in various parts of the world, but only upon arrival at the Tripoli airport. This effectively compels the Israeli participants to travel to an Arab country without possessing a visa, a most unpleasant condition given the tense geopolitical situation in the Middle East.

4) The Israeli Chess Federation has been informed by FIDE that only Israeli participants would be granted a Libyan visa, whereas accompanying persons holding the same passport, such as trainers or close relatives, will be denied entrance to Libya. This fact alone contradicts all rules of fair and equal treatment to all participants of a major sports event, it is certainly in breach with FIDE's Code of Ethics.

As the President of FIDE, an international sports federation affiliated to the IOC, it is your duty to ensure that qualified competitors from all origins are given equal access to the World Chess Championship. In view of the abovementioned difficulties, the choice of staging the most important event on the FIDE calendar in Libya is a poor one. Despite numerous open letters and press releases emanating from several national federations (namely those from the United States, Russia and Israel) and WCC participants themselves (namely the American player Boris Gulko), FIDE has consistently refused to consider reinstating Malta as a secondary venue.

In the present circumstances, the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) demands that FIDE provide written evidence from the Libyan authorities, unambiguously stating that Israeli players will be granted a visa upon their arrival in Tripoli. In view of the problems that have arisen since the publication of the official invitation from the Libyan Olympic Committee, general formulas whereby the Libyan government "will pleasantly provide entry visas to all qualified participants" is no longer explicit enough. Unless that document is produced shortly, it is very unlikely that Israeli players will agree on a hazardous journey to Libya and therefore, they will be forced to renounce their participation in the WCC. At present, the assumption prevails in the chess world that this is precisely the way FIDE hopes this embarrassing problem will be settled. Such an outcome, however, would greatly tarnish the reputation of FIDE among other sports federations and would effectively render FIDE's acclaimed motto "Gens Una Sumus" totally meaningless.

It is our sincere hope that you, Mr President, will use your power to remedy this situation and will not allow the exclusion of the Israeli players from the World Chess Championship.

Sincerely,

Joel Lautier
President of the ACP
Paris, 26th of May 2004


ACP president Joel Lautier (right, with GM Pavel Tregubov) in a board meeting

Links


FIDE Final List of participants of the
World Chess Championship 2004
18 June - 13 July 2004 Tripoli, Libya

Published on May 28, 2004

# NAME
TITLE
FED
APR04
1 Topalov, Veselin
g
BUL
2737
2 Morozevich, Alexander
g
RUS
2732
3 Adams, Michael
g
ENG
2731
4 Grischuk, Alexander
g
RUS
2719
5 Ivanchuk, Vassily
g
UKR
2716
6 Short, Nigel D.
g
ENG
2712
7 Malakhov, Vladimir
g
RUS
2695
8 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter
g
ROM
2692
9 Sokolov, Ivan
g
NED
2690
10 Dreev, Alexey
g
RUS
2689
11 Akopian, Vladimir
g
ARM
2689
12 Ye, Jiangchuan
g
CHN
2681
13 Milov, Vadim
g
SUI
2680
14 Azmaiparashvili, Zurab
g
GEO
2679
15 Bacrot, Etienne
g
FRA
2675
16 Gurevich, Mikhail
g
BEL
2672
17 Rublevsky, Sergei
g
RUS
2671
18 Radjabov, Teimour
g
AZE
2670
19 Aleksandrov, Aleksej           
g
BLR
2668
20 Beliavsky, Alexander G
g
SLO
2667
21 Vallejo Pons, Francisco
g
ESP
2666
22 Bologan, Viktor
g
MDA
2665
23 Sakaev, Konstantin
g
RUS
2665
24 Sasikiran, Krishnan
g
IND
2659
25 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
g
AZE
2657
26 Graf, Alexander
g
GER
2656
27 Zvjaginsev, Vadim
g
RUS
2654
28 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam
g
UZB
2652
29 Onischuk, Alexander
g
USA
2652
30 Van Wely, Loek
g
NED
2651
31 Motylev, Alexander
g
RUS
2649
32 Vescovi, Giovanni
g
BRA
2648
33 Nikolic, Predrag
g
BIH
2648
34 Movsesian, Sergei
g
SVK
2647
35 Aronian, Levon
g
ARM
2645
36 Hjartarson, Johann
g
ISL
2640
37 Filippov, Valerij
g
RUS
2639
38 Vaganian, Rafael A
g
ARM
2639
39 Georgiev, Kiril
g
MKD
2637
40 Tkachiev, Vladislav
g
FRA
2635
41 Lputian, Smbat G
g
ARM
2634
42 Zhang, Zhong
g
CHN
2633
43 Macieja, Bartlomiej
g
POL
2633
44 Moiseenko, Alexander
g
UKR
2631
45 Almasi, Zoltan
g
HUN
2631
46 Kobalia, Mikhail
g
RUS
2630
47 Volkov, Sergey
g
RUS
2629
48 Nielsen, Peter Heine
g
DEN
2628
49 Iordachescu, Viorel
g
MDA
2627
50 Kozul, Zdenko
g
CRO
2627
51 Sadvakasov, Darmen
g
KAZ
2626
52 Shabalov, Alexander
g
USA
2624
53 Lastin, Alexander
g
RUS
2622
54 Bu, Xiangzhi
g
CHN
2621
55 Vladimirov, Evgeny
g
KAZ
2621
56 Alekseev, Evgeny
g
RUS
2616
57 Jobava, Baadur
g
GEO
2616
58 Dautov, Rustem
g
GER
2616
59 Sargissian, Gabriel
g
ARM
2614
60 Dominguez, Lenier
g
CUB
2612
61 Krasenkow, Michal
g
POL
2609
62 Xu, Jun
g
CHN
2608
63 Kotronias, Vasilios
g
CYP
2607
64 Asrian, Karen
g
ARM
2605
65 Bruzon, Lazaro
g
CUB
2602
66 Delchev, Aleksander
g
BUL
2602
67 Galkin, Alexander
g
RUS
2602
68 Smirnov, Pavel
g
RUS
2601
69 Agrest, Evgenij
g
SWE
2601
70 Gulko, Boris F
g
USA
2600
71 Kacheishvili, Giorgi
g
GEO
2600
72 Harikrishna, Pentala
g
IND
2599
73 Milos, Gilberto
g
BRA
2599
74 Inarkiev, Ernesto
g
RUS
2595
75 Tiviakov, Sergei
g
NED
2593
76 Kharlov, Andrei
g
RUS
2593
77 Felgaer, Ruben
g
ARG
2592
78 Adianto, Utut
g
INA
2591
79 Ni, Hua
g
CHN
2587
80 Anastasian, Ashot
g
ARM
2587
81 Kempinski, Robert
g
POL
2586
82 Kotsur, Pavel
g
KAZ
2586
83 Dao, Thien Hai
g
VIE
2583
84 Morovic Fernandez, Ivan
g
CHI
2583
85 Ganguly, Surya Shekhar
g
IND
2582
86 Nakamura, Hikaru
g
USA
2580
87 Karjakin, Sergey
g
UKR
2580
88 Al-Modiahki, Mohamad
g
QAT
2579
89 Dolmatov, Sergey
g
RUS
2573
90 Sulskis, Sarunas
g
LTU
2570
91 Leitao, Rafael
g
BRA
2564
92 Gagunashvili, Merab
g
GEO
2562
93 Shulman, Yuri
g
USA
2559
94 Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan
g
IRI
2558
95 Campora, Daniel H.
g
ARG
2557
96 Kudrin, Sergey
g
USA
2557
97 Carlsen, Magnus
m
NOR
2552
98 Landa, Konstantin
g
RUS
2550
99 Acs, Peter
g
HUN
2548
100 Guseinov, Gadir
g
AZE
2548
101 Hamdouchi, Hichem
g
MAR
2544
102 Ivanov, Alexander
g
USA
2544
103 Ramirez, Alejandro
g
CRC
2542
104 Lima, Darcy
g
BRA
2542
105 Barua, Dibyendu
g
IND
2539
106 Neverov, Valeriy
g
UKR
2537
107 Kritz, Leonid
g
GER
2534
108 Mastrovasilis, Dimitrios
g
GRE
2533
109 Paragua, Mark
m
PHI
2529
110 Vasquez, Rodrigo
g
CHI
2523
111 Barsov, Alexei
g
UZB
2507
112 El Gindy, Essam
m
EGY
2507
113 Bartel, Mateusz
m
POL
2501
114 Adly, Ahmed
m
EGY
2490
115 Johansen, Darryl K.
g
AUS
2489
116 Charbonneau, Pascal
m
CAN
2484
117 Mahjoob, Morteza
m
IRI
2478
118 Neelotpal, Das
m
IND
2457
119 Tissir, Mohamed
m
MAR
2442
120 Simutowe, Amon
m
ZAM
2442
121 Dableo, Ronald
m
PHI
2426
122 Haznedaroglu, Kivanc
m
TUR
2395
123 Kadhi, Hameed Ali
m
YEM
2379
124 Arab, Adlane
ALG
2374
125 Solomon, Kenneth
f
RSA
2352
126 Asabri, Hussien
LBA
2277
127 Elarbi, Abobker
LBA
2257
128 Abulhul, Tarik
LBA
2076

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