TCF renews offer to host the 2011 European Women Championship

1/19/2011 – Three weeks ago the Turkish Chess Federation withdrew its offer to host this attractive event, due to a conflict with the European Chess Union. According to a New York Times report the ECU President Silvio Danailov implied that the TCF had simply run out of funds. Now the Turkish side is renewing its offer: we will stage if you will be polite. Open letter + new NYT article.

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We reported on the cancellation of the 2011 European Individual Women Championship in Gaziantep in an open letter on December 29th. A day later the story was in the New York Times, which published the following (excerpts):

Turkey Withdraws as Host of European Women’s Chess Championship

By Dylan Loeb McClain

In a letter posted on the Turkish Chess Federation’s Web site on Wednesday, Ali Nihat Yazici, the federation’s president, announced that Turkey had withdrawn as host of the European Women’s Chess Championship. It was to be held in March 2011 in Gaziantep, a city in the southeastern part of the country. The prize fund was to be 104,000 euros (about $139,000 at current exchange rates), which would have exceeded the 101,000 euro prize fund ($135,000) for the overall European Championship, which will be held in Aix-les-Bains, France.

The reason given for Turkey’s withdrawal was a conflict between the federation and the European Chess Union, which has jurisdiction over the championship. Yazici wrote that he tried to work out the details of organizing the championship with Sava Stoisavljevic, the general secretary of the E.C.U., but she insulted him and treated him in a condescending manner. He contacted Silvio Danailov, the president of the E.C.U., in an effort to resolve the problems, but he and the federation were “completely neglected.” So a decision was made to withdraw as the organizer.

On the surface, the dispute seems to be over fees and the language of the contract between the E.C.U. and the Turkish federation, but there may be more to it than that. Danailov and Yazici were opponents in a September election for the presidency of the E.C.U. and there may be lingering bad blood.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Danailov suggested that there may be a more important issue: The federation might have had trouble financing the championship. He said that the Turkish federation was supposed to put down a 7,500 euro ($10,000) deposit in May, but he said it was not done.

Then, six months before the event, in September, the federation was supposed to provide a 97,500 euro ($130,000) bank guarantee that the money for the prizes was available, but he said that also did not happen.

Danailov said of Yazici, “The guy was looking to withdraw somehow from the very beginning.” He said that he would look for a new host for the championship. He said he did not want to fight with Yazici or the Turkish federation. “We always try to find sponsors and sell chess. That is hard enough already.”


Now the Turkish Chess Federation has issued a new offer: to organise the event as originally planned, with the finalized regulations as submitted. In the letter to ECU President Silvio Danailov the TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici writes:

"It is great pity to read your comments on this issue, claiming that we do not have the money to organise it. This is not true. We attribute this to your limited experience as President of the ECU. We want to show our hand again, like just after election, and offer again to organise the event. We hope that you will close the file on the elections in your mind, and as a chess person will make the right move now.

We are willing to organise the European Individual Women’s Chess Championship under the same conditions agreed and finalised in attached regulations. We do not, however, want to communicate with your General Secretary on this issue, while she is behaving improperly to our federation, and to me. It would be proper for her to apologise for this.

If you want to run ECU in the best possible manner, and to find the best organisers for each specific event, kindly answer us in time, and let us organise the best European Women Championship ever, in Gaziantep, in March 2011. We hope you will agree with our proposal, and we await your answer before Monday 24, January 2011, at 1:00 p.m. Turkish time.

If you think that the proposed time schedule is not enough to organise event in March, we are ready to organise it from 31st July until 19 August, in Gaziantep. However, you should note that it will be very hot there at that time."


Today a new article in the New York Times sheds more light on the subject

We remind our readers that Danailov and Yazici were rival candidates at the election for the ECU Presidency at the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Silvio Danailov narrowly won that election. We also cannot resist commenting, fully aware that we will be castigated for it, that the August later date for the EWCCh would be perfectly acceptable, even though the ladies might have minor wardrobe problems due to the 45°C+ heat in Gaziantep.

The poster for the event is ready (click it for a larger version). Before the main event a three-day European Women Rapid Championship and a two-day European Women Blitz Championship are planned, each with a prize fund of € 10,000. The total prize fund for the Championship itself is € 130,000 (with a 20% license fee going to the European Chess Union).

The March date for the EWCCh in Gaziantep would coincide with the Men's European Individual Chess Championship, which is to be held from March 21 to April 3rd in in Aix-les-Bains (France). In our previous report we compared the prize funds:

Prize
Gaziantep  
Aix-les-Bains 
1
€ 20,500
€ 20,000
2
€ 15,500
€ 15,000
3
€ 11,500
€ 11,000
4
€ 8,200
€ 8,000
5
€ 7,100
€ 7,000
6
€ 6,100
€ 6,000
7
€ 5,600
€ 5,500
8
€ 5,100
€ 5,000
9
€ 4,600
€ 4,500
10
€ 4,100
€ 4,000
11
€ 3,600
€ 3,500
12
€ 3,100
€ 3,000
13
€ 2,600
€ 2,500
14
€ 2,300
€ 2,200
15
€ 2,100
€ 2,000
16
€ 2,000
€ 1,900
Total  
€ 104,000
€ 101,000

One thing sticks out a mile: the TCF set a goal of systematically outdoing the French in every category. Quite obviously they wanted to "write history" by making this the first Championships ever where the women have a larger prize fund than the men.


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