Turkish Chess Federation sues the European Chess Union

by ChessBase
10/12/2007 – Turkey is a hotbed of chess development, and has one of the wealthiest and most active chess federations in the world. In 2009 the TCF was set to stage three major European events. After their efforts were thwarted by the European Chess Union the TCF has decided to sue, and are demanding the resignation of the ECU president. Press release.

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The Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) has tried to show a good management style in the last seven years. No need to explain what has happened in Turkey for chess as, I believe everybody knows. As a part of this development, we always tried to give the best service to FIDE and the European Chess Union (ECU). We were always candidate for any kind of event whether it was profitable or non-profitable.

To exemplify this, I have to mention that in Turkey we have organized the World Junior Championships 2005, World Youth Under 16 Chess Olympiad (1998, 2003, 2006), FIDE Presidential Board (1999, 2007), World Chess Olympiad 2000.

Also for Europe, we have organized; 2002 European Club Cup for women, 2004 European Club Cup, 2007 European Club Cup, 2003 European Individual Chess Championships, 2004 European Youth Championships, 2004 European Individual Chess Championships, 2006 European Individual Chess Championships, and two times the ECU Board meeting.

I can assure everyone that a large number of these events were organized by the TCF simply as a form of assistance to FIDE or the ECU.

Only one more example of what we do for chess in Turkey: by the start of next month, the Istanbul Great Municipality will distribute one million chess sets and one million books to one million children. This will be done in each primary school, face to face. The aim is to create a web site for training kids for chess and other subjects. Also this will go to a result opening a real chess academy in Istanbul managed by GMs for creating idols for the future. The project cost will be more than 10.000.000 USD, we expect. This is not a planned project! This is an accepted project. So you may understand what happens in Turkey for chess, and how hard we try to develop chess in this country. This will make all readers understanding our sensitivity for protecting our rights.

I have given the above information to explain that we do not mind losing a candidacy for organising an event when we make bids. Who is the best host city bidding, should be granted the organisation. Considering the reason for this open letter, I had to explain this in advance.

Time to resign for Mr. Boris Kutin!

In the rest of the lengthy missive the Turkish Chess Federation explains in detail why they are suing the European Chess Union in the judicial court in Lausanne. Here is a summary.

The matter was brought to a head by decisions taken in the last board meeting in Novi Sad on 24 August 2007 on the staging of the 2009 European Championships. The TCF was bidding for three events: the 2009 European Individual Chess Championships (Men and Women – Antalya Kemer), the 2009 European Club Cup (Men and Women – Antalya, Kemer) and the 2009 European Youth Chess Championships (Cappadocia). For the European Individual Championships the TCF was offering a 140.000€ prize fund. However they were suddenly told that the US $120.000 that FIDE contributes to this event was no longer available "for European countries." Also the number of World Cup qualification places had been reduced from 34 to 23.

What ired the TCF most was that the ECU and its president Boris Kutin awarded them only the Individual Championships, on the basis that there was only one bidder for this one (the other two were given to Italy and Macedonia). The bids of the rivals were kept strictly secret, while the TCF has published its own bids in PDF format. "At no point in time during the board in Novi Sad did anyone from the Board invite me and ask me which tournament I wanted to host," writes Ali Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation. "I was sitting about 20 meters away."

Yazici complains that the decision to restrict the federations to one bid per year – Kutin had introduced this at a board meeting at Novi Sad – was not announced in advance, resulting in a waste of funds and efforts in preparing multiple bids. Also that the most expensive event was awarded to Turkey without consultation. "If I put this 140.000€, or even half of it, into the European Youth Chess Championships, or the European Club Cup, you could only imagine what a nice event would be organized," Yazici writes. "Can you imagine what is the loss for chess and for top professionals of such decisions?"

For the above reasons the TCF has requested in the judicial court in Lausanne:

  1. to cancel all decisions taken by the ECU in Novi Sad related to these three tournaments;
  2. to compensate the TCF for the expenses for preparing the three bids which were not taken even under consideration due to ECU’s illegal decision in Novi Sad.

The TCF is claiming 50.000 CHF in damages and demanding the resignation of Boris Kutin as ECU President, whom it considers incapable of managing this huge organization. "We invite Mr Kutin to resign," writes Yazici. "The TCF Board supports the decision of Georgian Chess Federation to raise a no-confidence vote in General Assembly of ECU in Creta, Greece next month. We hope that everyone in the world loving chess will understand our position."

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