Bilbao requests postponement of FIDE Candidates

2/28/2012 – "Common sense suggests that the FIDE and the organizers of the biggest private tournaments should work together in harmony to avoid the possibility of a clash of dates," writes the Director of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final, which is scheduled to end just ten days before the FIDE Candidates. Why, asks Juan Carlos Fernández, can it not be staged in the first half of 2013?

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Background

The 5th edition of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final was formally announced last December: "the tournament, considered one of the world’s most prestigious, is scheduled to take place from September 24 to October 13, 2012 and, as in previous editions, the world’s top-ranked players will participate. As in previous years, Bilbao will once again host the 5th edition of the Chess Masters Final, and simultaneous negotiations are being held with five of the world’s main capitals to share the hosting of the 2012 tournament. In 2010 Bilbao was joint host along with Shanghai and in last year's edition it was the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo that hosted the event along with the Biscayan capital."

On February 10th came the news that FIDE would be staging the Candidates Tournament for the World Championship in London, from October 23 to November 13. A few days later the world's highest ranked player expressed surprise at the scheduling of the Candidates:

Last year I played the Grand Slam Final in Sao Paulo and Bilbao, in September and October, and the Bilbao organiser has already publicized similar dates for the 2012 final. I really enjoyed playing the Grand Slam Final last year. It’s well organized and the combination of Sao Paulo and Bilbao suited me very fine. I have qualified for this year's Final as well, and my plan is to go there. News reports indicating that the next Candidates will take place just after the Grand Slam Final worries me. If the rumours are correct, there will be ten days only between the two tournaments, and that is obviously too tight. I know how hard the top level tournament organizers struggle to get everything in place for their event, and the obvious choice for FIDE would be to avoid the fourth quarter for their Candidate events. The Tal Memorial has already been moved, but the Candidates would still have serious consequences for the Grand Slam Final and probably for London Chess Classic as well. FIDE must have a very good reason to schedule the Candidates in the fourth quarter instead of for instance the late first quarter or the second quarter of 2013. I’m really curious to know what would drive FIDE to schedule the candidates in the middle of the high season of top level tournaments.

Bilbao Grand Slam Masters Final asks FIDE for agreement on dates

Now the Director of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final, Juan Carlos Fernández, has sent a letter to the President of the FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, asking him to reconsider the dates for the Candidates Tournament, as they would harm many other tournaments, including the Bilbao Final.

At the moment Magnus Carlsen, world number one and winner of the last Grand Slam, Vladimir Kramnik, who has been world champion and winner of the 2010 Final and Levon Aronian, the current world number two, have all been officially invited to participate in the Grand Slam Final. The three great international masters would also have confirmed their presence at the FIDE Candidates Tournament. If the reported dates are adhered to, only ten days would separate the two maximum level competitions which would seriously harm the Bilbao competition, among others.

In order to avoid this possible clash of dates and thinking about the search for synergies and the common good of the sport, the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final organisation has suggested to the World Chess Federation “that the Candidates Tournament be disputed during the first six months of 2013 as it has a lot more of tournament-free weeks than the second half of 2012. This proposal has the support of the elite amongst players and organisations, amongst others Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik.

The Masters Final organizers also propose “a meeting of the FIDE with the organizers of the most important tournaments so that, in the best spirit of cooperation, certain dates can be reserved for the top class competitions of the FIDE and for private tournaments.” In this way, it is intended that the dates of the different professional tournaments are “the same (or very similar) each year, unless a change of date was applied for with more than one year’s notice and with legitimate reason.”


Juan Carlos Fernández with the world's number two GM Levon Aronian


Here is the full letter by the Director of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final, Juan Carlos Fernández, to the president of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov:

To The President
His Excellency Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE World Chess Federation

Dear Sir,

Common sense suggests that the FIDE and the organizers of the biggest private tournaments should work together in harmony to avoid the possibility of a clash of dates. This kind of collaboration is something that takes place habitually with the most important professional sports.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in the world of chess. Since the Grand Slam was created five years ago, the associated tournament organizers have approached the FIDE various times with solid proposals and always with a spirit of cooperation in mind. However, our feeling is that the FIDE sees us as enemies, not as allies.

Although you visited us personally during the 2010 Masters Final, what is more typical is that the FIDE does not even reply to our proposals. An example of this was a letter respectfully sent to you by the Secretary General of the Grand Slam three weeks ago after the meeting in Wijk aan Zee. In that letter, apart from referring to the Grand Slam Tournament calendar and the dates for the Final, we explained to you the inconvenience of the dates unofficially announced by you for the Candidates Tournament. These dates will seriously harm various big tournaments in general, but our Masters Final in particular.

So, we appeal again to common sense to ask you to consider the following proposals:

  1. As many top class players and organizers have recently expressed, we suggest that the Candidates Tournament be disputed during the first six months of 2013. This period has a lot more tournament-free weeks than the second half of 2013.

  2. We propose a meeting of the FIDE with the organizers of the most important tournaments so that, in the best spirit of cooperation, certain dates can be reserved for the top class competitions of the FIDE and for private tournaments. These dates would be the same (or very similar) each year, unless a change of date was applied for with more than one year’s notice and with legitimate reason. All the attendees at the meeting would make a commitment to respect this agreement every year.

With the hope that we can finally reach a reasonable agreement, I look forward very much to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully
Juan Carlos Fernández
Tournament Director Grand Slam Masters Final

Web site of the Bilbao Chess Masters Final 2012


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register