June 07, 2012 18:20

Turkish Chess Federation denies arbiters from seven federations to Istanbul Olympiad

Turkish Chess Federation denies arbiters from seven federations to Istanbul Olym

Arbiters from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA are not welcome at this year's Chess Olympiad, which takes place from August 27th tlll September 10th in Istanbul, Turkey. The organizers, the Turkish Chess Federation, have announced that they will not accept arbiters from federations that "launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development."

An article on the FIDE website, posted on Tuesday, June 5th, lists the names of the Chief Arbiter, the Deputy Chief Arbiters, the Senior Arbiters, the Technical Administration Panel and the Appeals Committee for the upcoming Olympiad. It says that the Match Arbiters "will receive their letters of appointment in the next few days", and at the end of the article a link is given to an open letter by Ali Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation. Yesterday we received the same letter from Mr Yazici himself (PDF here) and we'll give it in full:

Dear Chess Family,

I was invited by FIDE to participate in the meeting in Athens to select the arbiters for the 40th Chess Olympiad. I went to the meeting on 3rd May 2012. A list was drawn up, respecting the proposals of the Continental Presidents. However, on behalf of TSF, we have refused to accept some of the names on that list. These refusals are in no way personal, they are solely related to matters of chess and its well-being.

Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE. As TSF we respect legal issues; all players will be protected, whatever the actions of their federation.

I want everybody to look at this from our point of view. Each year, my federation contributes to FIDE €50-100,000. The damage created by the Karpov versus FIDE case is around USD 1 million. The case was purely political. The plaintiffs lost that court case. They did not even offer an apology for the damage their action inflicted on a large majority of national chess federations!
The federations that supported that action have done nothing for chess but damage FIDE financially, forcibly diverting resources that would otherwise have been used for chess development (CACDEC, chess in schools, marketing, trainers, etc.).

Therefore, as TSF we react as a federation that has suffered from the actions of those 7 federations. We work hard, doing our best for chess, while some contribute only “bla, bla” and do nothing but damage our family.

Should we be quiet and cross our fingers that they will learn? Or should we act?

We prefer to act and fight for our chess family. That is our position and the reasoning behind our decision.

Gens Una Sumus

Ali Nihat YAZICI
President of Turkish Chess Federation

Yazici's action is a repercussion for two court cases that took place during and after the last FIDE Presidential elections. The TCF President argues that as a result of these cases, FIDE has spent huge amounts of money on lawyers, money that could have been spent on the development of chess.

CAS case 1: Karpov vs Ilyumzhinov
During the last FIDE Presidential elections the opponent of sitting President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Anatoly Karpov, questioned the validity of Ilyumzhinov's ticket. Backed by the chess federations of the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine, Karpov asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne to check the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s claim to have been nominated by the Russian Chess Federation as their candidate for the FIDE presidential elections. Eventually this case was dismissed

CAS case 2: Vice-Presidents
A second CAS case is still running, in which the English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation joined forces against FIDE, arguing that the nomination of five Vice Presidents in October 2010 was illegal. At the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk, FIDE President Kirsan llyumzhinov nominated Chu Bo, Israel Gelfer, Ilya Levito, Boris Kutin and Ali Nihat Yazici (!) as FIDE Vice Presidents. The English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation pointed out that FIDE's own statutes state that the President is entitled to nominate only two Vice-Presidents, not five.

In his email to us, Mr Yazici wrote that the Turkish Chess Federation has used its "veto" to deny the arbiters from the seven federations. The FIDE Handbook doesn't provide details about how Match Arbiters are selected, or about the organizer's right to veto.

The decision of the Turkish Chess Federation is likely to meet strong criticism. The seven federations together represent about a third of the FIDE rated players. Many of their capable arbiters are punished for legal activities by the leaders of their federations (activities they might even disapprove of themselves). Besides, being excluded from an international sports event on the grounds of nationality is obviously against international (anti-)discrimination law. It's unclear whether this also counts for the exclusion of the arbiters, which is based on their federation membership.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Paulus's picture

Apparently he doesn't notice the irony of writing "Gens Una Sumus" at the bottom of this outrage.

Aditya's picture

"Should we be quiet and cross our fingers that they will learn? Or should we act?"

Sounds like a line from a movie like Godfather or Goodfellas. I hope the playing teams from those countries are not treated with any bias.

test's picture

When will they learn? I've said this before. All federations in favor of Ilyumzhinov can stay with FIDE. All federations not in Favor of Ilyumzhinov form a new organization. It takes 5 minutes of courage. No strike that; it takes 5 seconds of common sense.

Ashish's picture

Wow. Reaffirming that these guys belong with Syria and the Saudis, not in Europe.

darkergreen's picture

Nop! These guys (not the whole country etc.) belong with Bulgaria and Danielov's team!

Casaubon's picture

I wonder how quickly the Turkish Chess Federation would change their tune if the players from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA threatened to withdraw, as they should do.

cmling's picture

Excellent comment, Casaubon, I agree entirely.

Anonymous's picture

Agreed. If they don't withdraw, they're supporting this insanity.

Luzin's picture


randi's picture

Well, legally speaking, I think Yazici is wrong. Anyone has a right to complain about anything. This political factor Yazici complaints about was determining for the presidential election. So to ensure everything is in order, or for whatever other purpose, you're entitled to question anything. Furthermore, Yazici's nomination as Vice President of FIDE raises serious questions about the whole process. Also, his complaints obviously stand a little subjective because there might be a conflict of interest. In any case, FIDE is to blame for the costs Yazici bitches about. Weak rules and abuse of power leads to distrust.

Finally, the arbiters have nothing to do with this. It's necessary to let them participate in the Olympiad. It's completely illogical to let players from all nations play but deny the inclusion of the arbiters, as if they were of no importance to the game or the national teams. With this scenario, cheating accusations are almost palpable, something everyone wants to avoid by all means.

Bad idea. Maybe Yazici forgets one thing: nobody likes or trusts FIDE. All chess players agree on that, since their schedules need to be changed constantly due to the organism's incompetence.

Wassup with Yazici the trouble-maker and 'fake'-justice ambassador??

Septimus's picture

What a mess.

Thomas's picture

Apparently it's wrong to sue FIDE, but perfectly fine to sue the European Chess Union (see link under the article) - else Turkish arbiters should also be banned from the event?

sligunner's picture

Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

Anonymous's picture

Freedom of speech is supported by law only in the USA, although the Left is mounting a full scale assault against it via "hate speech" exceptions.

Anonymous's picture

'Freedom of speech is supported by law only in the USA'
Can't be more stupid.

Anonymous's picture

Do you even own a passport? Go visit some other countries and you will have a different perspective.

Ians's picture

Gens una sumus right ?

When Pierre Vincent initiated the creation of FIDE in Paris , 1924 , he would never have imagined that it would be one day infiltrated and dominated by totally corrupt and incompetent officials . Now those guys try to do retributive politics , and act as the victims ... Shameful

If anything , those who support the ongoing marginalisation of chess greatly help those crooks , they can do their business away from medias and nobody gives a damn about it

The players of the targeted countries who will participate in this event will bear a responsibility , because partcipating now is a political act , whether they like it or not .

We need a new international organisation of Chess , a clean and modern one . Sadly , if chess remains a niche and nobody tries to change anything ( and i don't listen to Lady Gaga btw ) , i sadly doubt it will happen anytime soon

Niima's picture

At best it seems silly. In what way does denying the arbiters compensates FIDE?

Niima's picture

At best it seems silly. In what way does denying the arbiters compensate FIDE?

Niima's picture

At best it seems silly. In what way does denying the arbiters compensate FIDE?

Niima's picture

Sorry guys. Did not want triplets :-)

Bartleby's picture

Oh, another clown.

billybob's picture

Why do people even put up with these third-world miscreants? DUMP FIDE!

Mike's picture

The USA should withdraw!. I wish IIyumzhinov would get on his space ship and go back to mars and stay. Gens Una Sumus !! yea ahh ha. LOL.

Claude's picture

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this letter was "Sippenhaft".

The second question is how do you manage to spend a million dollars on such court cases?

A quite interesting comment can also be found in german on schach-welt.de
An earlier article on this site gives rumors about financing problems for the olympiad.
Still I think in today's financial times it's a real organizational achievement to be able to organize a tournament like the chess olympics where some 250 teams have food and lodging for free for 11, 12 days.

Bert de Bruut's picture

The most obvious result of Yazici's foolish actions will likely be another round of court cases...

Roger's picture

The English Chess Federation has now protested formally


Anonymous's picture

If the U.S AND U.K. Chess Federations would just get together and start an alternative to FIDE, I bet many other national federations would follow suit.

Anonymous's picture

It is up to FIDE to try to reimburse its losses due to the court cases, not the Turkish federation which is a smaller body. Of course this may be a plot agreed by FIDE and TCF but if so I am not smart enough to understand it. If TCF was sincere, why did they stop with the arbiters? They should have banned the players from those 7 federations. And lastly what happened to the Olympics mission? The sporting event should have prevailed over the politics (and this is not even politics, this is chess politics, a very minute part of politics!)

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