Turkish Chess Federation cancels European Women Championship

by ChessBase
12/29/2010 – The President of Turkish Chess Federation, Ali Nihat Yazici, has just published an open letter, announcing that the Turkish Chess Federation will no longer be organizing the 2011 European Individual Women Chess Championship in Gaziantep (which was scheduled for March 20 to 31). A great pity, since for the first time the prize fund would have matched that of the men. Open letter.

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The poster was ready (click it for a larger version), the dates set: arrival March 19, first round March 20, round 11 and closing ceremony March 31, departures April 1st. Before the main event there was a three-day European Women Rapid Championship and a two-day European Women Blitz Championship planned, each with a prize fund of € 10,000. The total prize fund for the Championship itself was € 130,000 (with a 20% license fee going to the European Chess Union, as we can see in the official contract).

23. The total prize fund amounts to 130,000 € including the licence fee for ECU. The license fee of 20% of the prize fund, which means 26,000 €, has to be paid to ECU by the beginning of the championship.

24. According to the tournament rules (bid procedure), the organiser has to transfer the deposit fee of 7,500 € to the ECU account by the end of May 2010. An additional bank guarantee of 65,000 € (50% of the total prize fund) has to be sent to ECU by the end of November 2010. This bank guarantee has to be increased to 97,500 € (75 % of the total prize fund) six months before the event.

26. The European Women's Blitz and Rapid Championships 2011 will be held in Gaziantep as well. These events will either be organised just before or just after the Individual Women's Championship. The total prize fund will be 20,000 €. Technical details will be fixed by the organiser and have to be agreed upon with ECU.

At the same time Women's Individual Championship was set to be held in Gaziantep the Men's European Individual Chess Championship was scheduled – from March 21 to April 3rd in in Aix-les-Bains (France). We compare the prize funds:

€ 20,500
€ 20,000
€ 15,500
€ 15,000
€ 11,500
€ 11,000
€ 8,200
€ 8,000
€ 7,100
€ 7,000
€ 6,100
€ 6,000
€ 5,600
€ 5,500
€ 5,100
€ 5,000
€ 4,600
€ 4,500
€ 4,100
€ 4,000
€ 3,600
€ 3,500
€ 3,100
€ 3,000
€ 2,600
€ 2,500
€ 2,300
€ 2,200
€ 2,100
€ 2,000
€ 2,000
€ 1,900
€ 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. In their open letter the TCF writes:

The Turkish Chess Federation has a concrete strategy in investing in women’s chess by supporting and organising the Atatürk Memorial in 2008, the FIDE Women Grand Prix in 2009, the Women’s World Championship in 2010, the ACP Women World Cup in 2009 and events granted specifically for women: the 2011 European Women Individual Championship, the 2012 European Women Individual Championship, the 2011 Women World Team Championship, the ACP Women World Cup 2011, and the FIDE Women Grand Prix in 2012.

So what is the reason for the sudden cancellation of the EWCCh? The TCF writes:

These last few weeks, we started to communicate with the General Secretary of ECU to finalise the details of this event and then, as a result of insulting and condescending behaviour on her part, we requested the intervention of the President of the ECU, Mr. Silvio Danailov. None of those attempts have however worked, as you will see from the various emails and letters sent, and we were completely neglected by ECU management. This is really a big disappointment for me considering that I was the first person celebrating the victory of ECU President just after election and wishing him good luck in the next four years.

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 this election. Yazici's letter continues:

I also sent a last official message on 24th December 2010. Again, we have not been answered. After all this unfair approach, we have decided to withdraw from the organisation of the 2011 European Individual Women Championship. An event, may I add, which would have created chess history with prizes at the same level as the event in Aix-les-Bains. We will take under careful consideration the legal rights of Turkish Chess Federation in the next few days. We try to hope that this will be the last conflict between TSF and ECU management, created for no reason.

The open letter concludes with links to PDFs of all documents and correspondence between the TCF and the ECU. You can find the entire material on the TCF web site here, and draw your own conclusions.

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