Women's World Championship: Georgian players withdraw

by ChessBase
8/17/2008 – "The Organizing Committee is deeply disappointed and bewildered by the attempts of some circles to break up the competition," writes Chairman Arsen Kanokov. "If the world championship is not shifted to another country, it will be impossible for the Georgian chess players to participate," writes the Georgian Chess Federation. Background information and a WSJ article by Garry Kasparov.

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Chairman of Organizing of the
World Women's Championship 2008

August 15, 2008

The Organizing Committee of the Women's World Chess Championship 2008 is deeply disappointed and bewildered by the attempts of some circles – by no means sports ones – to break up the competition of the strongest women chess players of the world scheduled to be held in Nalchik.

Sharing entirely and fully the attitude of FIDE and European Chess Union toward an open letter of Georgian women chess players, we believe that representatives of a famous chess school shouldn't be pawns in somebody's unworthy game.

The preparation for the Championship has entered its final stages and the Organizing Committee claims that high requirements of FIDE to all aspects of preparation and holding the most significant chess event of the year will be met and nothing will prevent chess players of the participating countries from showing their game potential.

See you in peaceful and hospitable capital of Kabardino-Balkaria!
We are one family!

The Chairman of Organizing committee of the World Women's Championship 2008
Arsen Kanokov

Open letter by the Georgian Chess Federation

Dear President,

The Chess Federation of Georgia and the Georgian chess players always shared and acted according to one of the main principles of FIDE – that the chessboard is not the place for political games and that we are one family.

It’s a pity that the politics brusquely intruded into the present-day reality.

The parliament of Georgia announced the State of War due to the dismal situation in the country. The airport is not functioning, the main road of the country is blocked, the state institutions and banks work in emergency regime.

Since, a big part of the territory of Georgia is destroyed, the peaceful towns are devastated by Russian soldiers, the number of refugees exceeded 40,000 people, the hospitals are full of injured peaceful civilians, strategically important infrastructure was bombed, huge material and moral damage was incurred upon our small country. Substantial part of the country is occupied; Mourning is announced in Georgia…

Pursuant to the abovementioned, if the world championship is not shifted to another country, it will be impossible for the Georgian chess players Maia Chiburdanidze, Nino Khurtsidze, Maia Lomineishvili, Sophiko Gvetadze, Lela Javakhishvili and Sophiko Khikhashvili to participate in the World Championship.

Georgian chess federation

How safe is the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria?

Top US player Irina Krush tells us that she informed FIDE that she wouldn't be going to Nalchik in the beginning of August, before anything started with Georgia and Russia. So the war wasn't her reason for withdrawing, although general safety in the region was. Irina and other ladies sent us some interesting background articles.

Regions and territories: Kabardino-Balkaria

The Russian North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria has fallen prey to the instability afflicting other parts of the region and to the contagion of conflict in nearby Chechnya. Living standards are low, unemployment is high, corruption is rife and it has had its share of violence, kidnappings and organised crime to contend with.

Since the 2004 school siege at Beslan in neighbouring North Ossetia, Russia has repeatedly targeted what it says are Islamic extremists operating in Kabardino-Balkaria. Mosques in the capital, Nalchik, have been closed and there have been armed operations against suspected Islamic militants, some of whom have been killed, along with members of the security forces.

In October 2005 militants staged a large-scale, armed assault on government buildings in Nalchik. Russia responded swiftly, deploying hundreds of troops and special forces with orders to shoot to kill. Many dozens were reported dead, including militants, civilians and Russian forces. Read the full BBC News article on Nalchik here.

Other articles

US State Department: Safety and Security advice

Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government’s ability to assist Americans who travel to the northern Caucasus is extremely limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russians working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the area is very limited. American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed. Read the full recommendations here.

How the West Fueled Putin's Sense of Impunity

By Garry Kasparov

August 15, 2008; Page A13

Russia's invasion of Georgia reminded me of a conversation I had three years ago in Moscow with a high-ranking European Union official. Russia was much freer then, but President Vladimir Putin's onslaught against democratic rights was already underway.

"What would it take," I asked, "for Europe to stop treating Putin like a democrat? If all opposition parties are banned? Or what if they started shooting people in the street?" The official shrugged and replied that even in such cases, there would be little the EU could do. He added: "Staying engaged will always be the best hope for the people of both Europe and Russia."

Georgia blundered into a trap, although its imprudent aggression in South Ossetia was overshadowed by Mr. Putin's desire to play the strongman. Russia seized the chance to go on the offensive in Georgian territory while playing the victim/hero. Mr. Putin has long been eager to punish Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for his lack of respect both for Georgia's old master Russia, and for Mr. Putin personally. (Popular rumor has it that the Georgian president once mocked his peer as "Lilli-Putin.")

Throughout the conflict, the Kremlin-choreographed message in the Russian media has been one of hysteria. The news presents Russia as surrounded by enemies on all sides, near and far, and the military intervention in Georgia as essential to protect the lives and interests of Russians.

The blood of those killed in this conflict is on the hands of radical nationalists, thoughtless politicians, opportunistic oligarchs and the leaders of the Free World who value gas and oil more than principles. More lives will be lost unless strong moral lines are drawn to reinforce the shattered lines of the map.


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