Ilyumzhinov: Do not mix politics and sport

by ChessBase
8/14/2008 – In reply to a recent appeal by a number of participants to move the forthcoming World Chess Championship from Nalchik to a safer location, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov writes: "In the current situation I appeal to all not to mix politics and sport, and not to involve FIDE and the world chess community into political, territorial and other disputes." Statement by Ilyumzhinov.

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Elista, 13 August 2008

Statement of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Dear chess friends!

After having read the open letter of several participants of the forthcoming World Chess Championship in Nalchik (Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Russian Federation), I would like to make the following statement:

The World Chess Federation is in close contact with the Russian Chess Federation and the Championship’s Organising Committee. The FIDE delegation visited the city of Nalchik during 5-6 August and took part in the meeting of the Organising Committee.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

According to the information received, the preparation for the tournament has entered its final stages, and a lot of attention has been given to the issues of food, accommodation as well as the provision of all necessary security.

We are aware of the recent developments in South Ossetia, and would like to express our most sincere condolences to all who have become victims of this terrible tragedy.

However, in the current situation I appeal to all not to mix politics and sport, and not to involve FIDE and the world chess community into political, territorial and other disputes. All the issues should be settled at a chess board, and not beyond its limits. This issue is particularly critical during the days of the Olympic Games.

I am confident that we shall witness a very interesting World Championship in Nalchik, which will be organized on a proper level.

See you in Nalchik.

We are one family.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Following the recent dramatic developments in South Ossetia and the public reaction of certain chess players concerning the World Women's Championship in Nalchik (Russia), I would like to emphasize that mixing politics with sports is clearly against the spirit of the international chess community. Always and everywhere. From my side I cannot see any alternative other than organising this event as planned and doing everything possible in order for all participants of the World Championship to arrive in Nalchik and start, without any postponement, the battle for the highest title in women's chess.

Gens Una Sumus!

Boris Kutin
President of the European Chess Union

More letters to FIDE

Apart from the original signees (Maia Chiburdanidze, Lela Javakhishvili, Sopio Gvetadze, Nino Khurtsidze, Maia Lomineishvili, Sopiko Khukhashvili) the following players have endorsed the open letter to FIDE: Monika Socko, Irina Krush, Iweta Rajlich, Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska, Tea Boosbom-Lanchava, Claudia Amura, Marie Sebag. Here are some letters we have received with a request to publish or forward to FIDE:

Dear members of FIDE presidential Board,

It was a great surprise to find out that the World Women's Championship 2008 was scheduled to be held in Nalchik, as it is well known from the news that North Caucasus region is a very dangerous and nonsecure place.

The Canadian travel advisory page tells to avoid all Travel and has the following information:

"OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the Chechen Republic or the neighbouring North Caucasus rdespite this warning are taking serious and unwarranted risks. The ability of the Embassy of Cegion, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria, but excluding Stavropol Krai and the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Canadians in Chechnya should leave. The security situation is unstable and dangerous.

Heavy military activity, terrorist bombings, kidnappings, and unexploded mines and munitions are widespread. Canadians contemplating travel to Chechnya despite this warning are taking serious and unwarranted risks. The ability of the Embassy of Canada in Moscow or Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to render assistance is severely limited or non-existent."

Under this circumstances I would like to express a great regret to the decision of the FIDE presidential Board to hold the 2008 World Women's Championship in this region and cancel my participation. If there will be a change and the Championship will be scheduled for a different location I would be happy to play.

Natalia Khoudgarian
Canadian Women's Chess Champion

Dear Members of the Fide:

I am writing to you to explain that nothing is not safe to hold the women's world championship chess at its current location. Because it is not convenient nor safe to play chess, knowing that next to yours there is a latent danger of an armed conflict.

I would like to reconsider the location of this event and is held in another country which meets security measures and comfort that players going to play this event need to achieve a quality game worthy of a world championship.

Hoping that everything will be resolved favorably and that the women's world championship is a complete success.

Paulino Aguilera Malagon, Spain

Estimadas colegas:

Ademas de la angustia que se siente por la situacion que les toca a vivir hoy a las personas envueltas en este conflicto, creo que no es adecuado mantener el Mundial en Rusia cuando habra jugadoras Georgianas en el mismo, ya que deportivamente no estaran en igualdad de condiciones que el resto de las participantes incluso no se si podran viajar por las diferencias politicas existentes.

Creo que mi opinion es valida, teniendo en cuenta que mi rival es Georgiana, y no me gustaria estar en su lugar. Si hablamos de un Mundial, debe haber igualdad para todas las participantes a la hora de competir y esto no sucedera manteniendose la sede actual.

Quiza muchas jugadoras se encuentren en la misma situacion en la cual estoy yo, puesto que la mayoria habra comprado el pasaje aereo y habra gastado dinero en visas. No obstante, creo que dadas las circunstancias, habra que buscar un punto medio para que el perjuicio no sea mayor.

Se que es dificil la situacion y la FIDE tendra que resolver, quiza buscar un pais europeo alejado de conflictos pero es un tema que ellos deben definir.

Desde aqui mis oraciones para que cese el conflicto y tratar de lograr una solucion adecuada y equitativa para todos. GENS UNA SUMUS.

Con afecto:
WGM Claudia Amura, Argentina

Tenuously related links

  • Telegraph: Georgia defeats Russia at Olympic beach volleyball
    The competitors embraced each other before the match but the event soon turned sour when the defeated Russians latched on the fact that the Georgian team was not strictly speaking Georgian. Cristine Saka and and Andrezza Rtvelo (originally: Cristine Santana and Andrezza Chagas), the "Georgian" pair, are Brazilian-born with adopted Georgian names and do not speak their "native" language. "We're not actually playing against the Georgian team," said Natalya Uryadova, one of the two Russian players, after losing by two sets to one. "Rather we are playing against Brazilian friends here."

  • ESPN: At least this Russia-Georgia conflict had a civil ending
    The competitors wore sunscreen, sunglasses and bikinis. And tanned, long-haired cheerleaders strutted in the sand. And the sound system blared such classic Eastern European folk tunes as "La Bamba," "Highway to Hell" and the "Ghostbusters" theme. Plus, the Georgian beach volleyball team isn't actually from, you know, Georgia. Given that the current conflict between the two countries is due in large part to disputes over who is Russian and who is Georgian – and which country should hold power over them – it was only fitting that the postmatch news conference also turned into a fierce debate about who is Georgian. "I really felt like we were representing the people of Georgia," Santana said. "I don't want to get political because this is Olympic Games, but down in my heart, I wanted to beat Russia, for sure." "We were playing against the Brazilian team," Uryadova insisted. "If they are Georgian, they certainly would be influenced [by the conflict], but in fact they are not."

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