Problems in Paradise

by ChessBase
6/11/2003 – The reports and pictures we have been publishing from the 4th European Individual Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, have been quite idyllic. But there is trouble a-brewing. 187 participants have signed a letter of protest to the President of the European Chess Union and threatened to boycott the next event. Nigel Short puts it into perspective...

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On Monday, June 9th (the day off at the European Individual Championships) a meeting of participants of the men's and women's tournaments took place. Over 50 players were present. After a prolonged discussion a decision to organize a Professional Chess Union was taken.

In the nearest future the initiative group will work out the draft statute of the Union. An Internet site of the Union will be created, where all the world's grandmasters will be able to make their proposals to the project and elect (by an open vote) their representatives to the ruling board of the Union.

Mrs. Almira Skripchenko
Mr. Igor Glek
Mr. Pavel Tregubov

9 июня (в выходной день) состоялось собрание участников женского и мужского чемпионатов  Европы Присутствовало более 50 гроссмейстеров После интенсивного обмена мнениями было принято решение о создании профессионального Союза шахматистов.

В ближайшее время инициативная группа подготовит проект Устава Союза, будет открыт Интернет-сайт Союза, на  котором все  гроссмейстеры мира смогут внести свои предложения по Уставу и выбрать открытым голосованием представителей в руководящий Совет.

Е-mail-адреса для связи: (Almira Skripchenko)
(Igor Glek) (Pavel Tregubov)

Обращение к Президенту Европейского Шахматного Союза подписали 187 участниц и участников обоих чемпионатов.

Open letter

The open letter to the President of ECU was signed by 187 participants of both tournaments:

We, the participants of the 4th European Women's and Men's Individual Chess Championships, consider unacceptable the conditions of this competition, for the following reasons:

1) We consider unreasonable the demand that all players have to stay in hotel provided by the organizers.

2) The room prices quoted for the Marin Princess Hotel for this event are two times higher than average prices for such hotels in Turkey, and this hotel in particular: Russian tourists groups are paying 30-35$ per night full board at the same time as chess players are paying 80$ for the same service.

3) We note the sharp increase in hotel costs from previous European Championships:

a) 55$ – single room full board in Varna 2002
b) 60$ – single room full board in Ohrid 2001
c) 50$ – single room full board in Warsaw 2001

4) In the women's tournament the prize fund was initially announced as 44.000 Euros; it has since been changed to 44.000$. This is unacceptable.

We would like to point out that the European Individual Championships are not private tournaments, so the organizers can't do whatever they want about the venue, schedule and the costs.

We demand that in the future all the players must have complete freedom to choose their accommodation.

We demand that the prize fund in the women's tournament be restored to the level advertised. There are more then 210 GMs among the participants but only 12-20 men and 6-10 women will be able to reimburse their costs from their prize money.

In the event that our demands are not fulfilled all the undersigned players will strongly consider boycotting the next European Individual Championship.

9.06.2003, Marin Princess Hotel, Kumburgaz / Istanbul

Nigel Short comments

In his always very readable column in the London newspaper The Telegraph GM Nigel Short describes his own experiences:

"If I am ever to be committed to an insane asylum by psychiatrists, they need look no further than my participation in the 2001 European Championship in Ohrid, Macedonia, for proof of madness. I voluntarily submitted myself to two weeks of grueling chess in a war zone and paid about £1,000 for this splendid privilege. Loopy? Absolutely barking more like.

Nevertheless, I fleetingly toyed with the depraved notion of playing again in the continental championship this year, this time in Turkey – rationalising that $192,000 is a very large prize fund by chess standards. Thankfully, sanity prevailed."

The full explanation for these feelings is given in Nigel's column in The Telegraph.

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