Olympiad Tromsø: FIDE President issues a deadline

7/18/2014 – The problems of missed registrations for some teams has come to a head, with FIDE President stating that the Organizing Committee has "performed an unbelievable scheme of combined illegitimate actions which should never take place in a democratic country like Norway." Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has issued a deadline to the Norwegians to solve the issues: Monday 21 July, 11 am CET.

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Moscow, 18 July 2014

To: "Tromso Olympiad 2014" Organizing Committee

Dear members of the "Tromso Olympiad 2014" Organizing Committee,

In my capacity as FIDE President, I am strongly complaining about the latest decisions and behaviour of the Olympiad Organizing Committee in Tromso.

FIDE cannot accept the way that the Organizing Committee is treating many national federations by delaying registrations, visa invitations and ignoring FIDE decisions, regulations and signed contracts.

Unfortunately, the strong influence and partnership of one FIDE presidential candidate, and his employees, within the Organizing Committee is causing for the first time in Olympiad history, so many problems in a top FIDE event:

  • selected countries that need to travel as a whole delegation to another country (!!) to get their visa,
  • match arbiters staying in hotels ...70 km away (!!) from the games,
  • selected Federations that are prohibited to access the online registration system of the Olympiad,
  • invitation letters not issued for accompanying persons due to accommodation problems,
  • and even federations like Russia which have been initially accepted as participants and then were refused registration, only 2 weeks before the event!

For the case of Russian Women's Team, everything is very clear and it is a wonder how the Organizing Committee is now refusing its participation. The press release of the Organizing Committee here shows that only on 5 June the Organizing Committee confirmed that the Olympiad will really take place, after their previous public statements that the Olympiad might be cancelled due to financial problems.

Still, the Russian Chess Federation had informed the Organizing Committee long before 1 June that it intends to participate with both teams (men and women). On 5 June, the FIDE Executive Director confirmed to the Organizing Committee that Russia should be registered. The only reason that Russia could not register their women team was that they were waiting for FIDE's decision on the Kateryna Lagno case, which was only finalized on 12 July. In the meantime, the Organizing Committee had accepted both team's registrations (men and women) and even issued an invoice to the Russian Chess Federation on 7 July, fully paid on 11 July, which is attached as annex 1 and can even be seen online up to now here.

Therefore, it is obvious that the issue had been resolved many days ago, even by accounting means, and it is re-opened now for political reasons, connected with the FIDE elections. In addition, FIDE has repeatedly informed the Organizing Committee that the participation of a team, which was not registered within the deadline, is not an issue of the Organisers authority but one of FIDE President to decide.

The Organizing Committee, instead of complying with FIDE's instructions, also created similar problems with other national federations, contrary to FIDE regulations. The Federations of Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan are only three examples, out of many, legitimate federations that are denied access to the online registration system of the Olympiad, and even today they are still not allowed to register their full delegation. The Organizing Committee had instead given the Afghanistan and Gabon access to the registration system to people who are connected to Gary Kasparov and falsely claimed to represent the real federations of Afghanistan and Gabon! This is an issue resolved by the Electoral Commission of FIDE since 14 July and the Organising Committee is aware of this. The Organizing Committee in Tromso has performed an unbelievable scheme of combined illegitimate actions which should never take place in a democratic country like Norway.

As FIDE President, I am hereby officially informing the Organizing Committee that the delegations of Russia, Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan are allowed to participate in the FIDE Olympiad and Congress in Tromso, in accordance with the power given to the FIDE President by article 6.1 of the regulations. This decision has been made by taking into account the real problems that the federations of Russia, Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan faced during the registration process.

Furthermore and in all cases, article 3.7.2 of the Olympiad regulations only stipulate a fine of 100 euros per person for late submissions. Not exclusion of any team and certainly NOT under any individual's personal decision without the approval of FIDE.

Therefore, I'm instructing the Organizing Committee to accept without any delay the registrations of Cambodia, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Oman and Senegal for participation in the Chess Olympiad and Congress of Tromso. The amount of 100 euros per person for these federations will be paid to the Organizing Committee. FIDE will cover this cost and not the national federations.

At this stage, FIDE is in consultation with its lawyers and bankers.

FIDE is considering all measures, including compensation to the affected federations through the default of the Organizing Committee's bank guarantee, as the Organizing Committee has already violated several articles of the Olympiad regulations and their contract with FIDE.

The FIDE President, according to the Olympiad regulations, is empowered to take final decisions on urgent and unforeseen issues, a regulation especially important to prevent local organisers from abusing the rights national federations. Unfortunately, it is the first time in the history of Chess Olympiads that such a measure is applied and it is absolutely necessary to protect many national federations from the illegal and biased decisions of the Organizing Committee in Tromso.

We are expecting the Organizing Committee in Tromso to operate as a fully independent and fair body to all national chess federations and not only to the ones that are politically connected to them. I have been also informed by the FIDE Executive Director Mr. Nigel Freeman and FIDE Vice-President Mr. Israel Gelfer, that many problems which have been identified in their inspections in Tromso have not been resolved yet. The main duty of the Organizing Committee should be to solve these problems connected with the games, not to engage in war with FIDE or its national federations.

By Monday 21 July, 11 am CET, the Organizing Committee should confirm to FIDE in a written statement that all Olympiad applicants will receive visa and no country will be excluded without the approval of FIDE. We hope to enjoy a successful and well organized Olympiad in Tromso.

Addendum 1: The organisers have acknowledged the receipt of the letter: "Chess Olympiad Tromsø 2014 received today, at 09:00, an open letter from FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The board of COT 2014 will now devote its time to reviewing this letter. COT 2014 will make its position known within the deadline set in the FIDE letter, that is, by Monday, 21 July, 11:00 (a.m.) Central European Time. Until then, COT 2014 will not issue any further comment. – Head of Communications Jarle Heitmann.

Addendum 2: There has been rumours on the Internet that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to help Ilyumzhinov move the Olympiad to Sochi, and defray the additional costs of two million Euros. As of writing no confirmation of these rumours have been received, so that they should be treated with utmost caution.

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jcaleb jcaleb 7/21/2014 04:10
Why mention "one FIDE presidential candidate"? What a shame
cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 7/21/2014 01:10
Is it really so hard to register for a chess competition. Missed registrations ....
Something is wrong with the process if something so simple is causing problems ... albeit with complications from political game players.
Can you organise a piss up in a brewery? Skol skol skol skol skol
Where's Hagar when you need him.
winterking winterking 7/20/2014 02:16
Wow. Chess drama on highest level!
Najdork Najdork 7/19/2014 04:36
This is the most fascinating chess related drama in years. The fact that Kirsan is somehow backed by Putin himself and that Kasparov is his bitter enemy gives everything a serious Realpolitik facet that may extend well over the chess world. *Grabs popcorn*
VGerber VGerber 7/18/2014 10:15
I am very sorry, but all these Russian guys - the Putins, Ilyumzhinovs and Kasparovs - remind me of a gang of scoundrels. They are all total egomaniacs. Instead of giving their energy for chess they only fight for their own fame and prosperity. Taking up the metaphor of Martin Huba with the chess family further up on this page these crooks are like rabid dogs that threaten the other members of the family. They have to be removed so that they no longer pose a risk to the healthy members.
Bill Alg Bill Alg 7/18/2014 09:37
Norwegian organizers' grades by me:

Competence in finding reasonable (not overpriced) accomodation 0/10
Hospitality 0/10
Olympic spirit 0/10
Arrogance 10/10

Just do what Karpov says: Cancel the Tromso Olympiad and move it elsewhere, preferably in the same dates if possible. Let their sponsors chase the organizers.
Treize Treize 7/18/2014 03:30
As much as I understand the position about the unfortunate issue for the biometric visas, on this aspect of the deadline for teams registrations the motivation behind the decision looks suspicious.

Another article in the news section mentions an extract from the regulations where it is written that team line-up can be done until 20h before the starts of the competition.

All this is not serving the chess world well anyway. It is disappointing in fact, not mentioning that Norway also failed to make a proper offer for the WC match with their champion.
Odirovski Odirovski 7/18/2014 02:56
As written in this article on the chess drum: http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/07/13/aikhoje-denounces-fide-fight-in-africa/ this election is the 'strangest' and 'worst' I can recollect in my memory of Chess. I think people should really look at the parallels between the near collapse of a unified Chess world when the ACP came up and what is happening now - it is the same people involved.

I can't understand why Chess players, who are supposed to be so smart, find it hard to ask simple questions;

1. What exactly is this fight to head FIDE all about? Personal interest and political power or the greater good of Chess? I say if the two candidates cannot deliver this maybe we should set up a Chess Parliament.
2. Why are there so many allegations of bribery, corruption and even worse flying around during this election campaign? What is all this desperation for - to make a greater game for all Chess players? http://kasparov2014.com/2014/07/15/open-letter-from-grigoriy-yavlinskiy/
3. And why has Africa suddenly become the best friend of Mr Kasparov? Is it because he truly loves Africa or is he simply looking for a stepping stone to become FIDE President? Many Celebrities and Sportsmen have invested in Africa over the years - we don't hear of them in world media being portrayed as 'The Messiah' - people like Roger Federer, Craig Bellamy, Madonna, Rio Fedrinand etc.

This is just totally disgusting; what has happened to the morals of Chess players worldwide?
Treize Treize 7/18/2014 02:16
@mannyrayner, interesting story.
anaka anaka 7/18/2014 02:13
As much as I maintain good relationships with almost all the Norwegians I know, and regardless of a Kasparov connection or not, I think I recognize here some Scandinavian naughtiness, that is older Norwegian patriarchs pulling a fast one on Russian patriarchs. Of course there is a culture clash between the Nordic rules-cult and the Russian personality-cult too. However, and rightly so, this time the rules even favor the Russian side ever so slightly, while the Norwegians have already failed to serve chess a couple of times, including their embarrassing announcement of near cancellation. That organizing committee and Gary should check themselves before they wreck themselves!
mannyrayner@yahoo.com mannyrayner@yahoo.com 7/18/2014 01:24
People wondering about the connection between Gabon and Garry Kasparov might want to look at this link: http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/06/23/fide-election-rumble-in-gabon-gate/

Martin Huba Martin Huba 7/18/2014 12:57
Dear Tromso Olympiad organisers,

We are a chess family. Like in each family there can be discussions, disputes and sometimes even conflicts. However, a healthy family can always come to a compromise and is not destructing itself.

The chess Olympiad is one of the most prestigious events of our community. We should try to allow to participate in it to all that wish so and not to exclude anybody because of bureaucratic reasons. We should help the ones to make the participation in the Olympiad as easy as possible.

As a "chess person" I highly appreciate efforts of all people supporting the chess environment not only the FIDE president and FIDE officials, but also chess world champions, grandmasters, other players, and even organisers, arbiters, sponsors etc. If we have to live together successfully we have to co-operate and respect each other.

Therefore I ask kindly the organisers of the Tromso Olympiad, our Norwegian chess friends, to reconsider their opinions and by allowing to participate excellent Russian girls and chess friends from Africa and Asia to let the Olympiad to be the top sportive and fair event.

The Slovak delegation looks forward to Norway!

Best wishes,

Martin Huba
President of the Slovak Chess Federation
startstek startstek 7/18/2014 12:52
Nice and strong move by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov :)