Asian Chess Championship – Scandal in Kuala Lumpur

5/14/2009 – Two days ago five Uzbeks and one Kazakh set out to play in the Asian Championship in Subic, Philippines. Since the organisers had not arranged for visas to be made available at Manila Airport – there are no Philippine embassies in their native countries – the players flew to Kuala Lumpur to get their papers there. What then transpired is described in this harrowing letter by GM Anton Filippov.

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Background

The tournament in question is the Asian Chess Championship, currently underway in the Philippines. It is at the same time the qualification for the next World Cup. The event is being staged in Subic, about two hours' drive from the Philippine capital Manila.


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  • As the Asia Continental Chess Championship kicked off, we're faced with yet another chess scandal! GM Anton Filippov, together with his team mates, were unable to enter the Philippines in time for the start of the tournament due to failure from the organisers to provide them with official invitation letters in due time to get entry visas. These are the affected players:

    GM Anton Filippov
  • GM Saidali Yuldashev
  • IM Dzhurabek Khamrakulov
  • WIM Nafisa Muminova
  • Pak Evgeniy (Champion of Kazakhstan, belongs to the Kazakh Federation, but is an Uzbek national)

This unfortunate situation occured, despite e-mails from GM Filippov and other members of his team, requesting the required documents from the organisers to be sent well in advance. They requested that invitation letters be issued that would allow the players to get visas at the airport. There was no reply. Time was running out, and GM Filippov, with his team mates, went to Kuala Lumpur in good faith that things would be put in place as they make their way to the Philippines. This was clearly a mistake, since it turned out that nobody in the Philippines had lifted a finger to assist these gentlemen in entering the country to participate in the prestigious event, for which they had put in a lot of preparation hours, travelling time, and money.

GM Filippov wrote the following open letter in Russian, explaining the situation. We provide both the original Russian version, as well as an English translation

Open letter by GM Anton Filippov

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur on the 12th May, took a taxi and were at the Philippine embassy at 9:30 a.m. After submitting our documents, we heard back that we have to wait for five days. My claim that I had e-mailed documents and invitations a week ago was met with an open lie that they had received nothing, later replaced with "your documents were late anyway."


Frustrated – GM Anton Filippov, Uzbekistan

We immediately communicated the problem to Mr. Wilfredo Abalos, Executive Director, on the phone. He told us that they would contact the embassy in ten minutes, and the issue would be resolved, asking us to wait. This was followed by a series of phone calls, telling us the issue had not been resolved. Yet another call, and he told us that the President of the Chess Federation of Philippines, a Congressman, had contacted the Department of Tourism, but the person in charge was not available. We were told we should wait on for another hour. Then we are told that the Congressman had contacted the embassy, and that the issue would be resolved and minute. Then an embassy official told us that according to papers sent in from the Philippines we would have to wait for five days.

Our further phone call received a changed reaction and statement that we had been late, and no papers had been received. The obvious lie made me very angry, and I went through the roof. No need to explain how much energy and nerves this all cost all the participants. In addition to desperation, we suffer serious financial losses – our tickets for the night flight to Manila expired.

We found a hotel, and a new round started: GM Saidali Iuldachev was told that we would receive visas the next day. We arrived at the embassy before it opened, and they accept our documents. We told them that we needed to catch the midday flight. Finally, we receive our documents at 11:05, because we were issued a special visa and the person in charge was out of office. Now we found out that we could only make it to Manila at 11:15 the next day, and start the tournament with a first round loss.

Despite the negative attitude of the embassy, I cannot blame them for all our sufferings. Had they received papers from the organizers in time, I'm sure I wouldn't have had to write this letter. As a participant of the previous Asian Championship I can assure you that the Chess Federation of the Philippines organizes tournaments at a very high level. My fellow player who participated in numerous international tournaments will confirm this.

But it is beyond explanation why all our attempts to contact the Organizing Committee of the Asian Championship were neglected. I'm sure we shouldn't have suffered so much energy and financial losses due to the responsibility of the Organizing Committee. Attached letters prove that everything I wrote above is absolutely true. I guarantee full authenticity of the letters, and am prepared originals.

Best regards,
Anton Filippov
Grandmaster

Information and translations provided by Jamshid Begmatov

Summary in Russian

Уважаемые коллеги! В связи с событиями произошедшими со мной и моими коллегами - МГ Саидали Юлдашевым, Джурабеком Хамракуловым, Евгением Паком и Муминовой Нафисой. Учитывая статус организаторов и важность соревнования Прошу Вас дать оценку событиям описанным в моем письме и адекватно поддержать нас.  Антон ФилипповМеждународный Гроссмейстер  Чемпионат Азии важнейшее континентальное соревнование, отбор к Кубку мира. В этом году Федерация шахмат Узбекистана, после подачи заявки на участие, попросила, ввиду расписания рейсов выдать участникам прилетающих из Узбекистана визы в аэропорту Манилы. Это обычная практика используемая в условиях, когда страны не имеют консульских отношений. Но Федерация шахмат Филиппин ответила, что мы должны получать визы в Малайзии.

  • Full correspondence attached (it contains names and personal details which we cannot publish here)
  • Rankings after round oneround two


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