June 11, 2012 15:59

Formal protest issued against Turkish Chess Federation (UPDATE)

Logo Turkish Chess Federation

Six federations have issued a formal protest against the Turkish Chess Federation, which has denied its arbiters to the Istanbul Olympiad. According to the federations from England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA the measure by the TCF is in breach with both the FIDE Statutes and the FIDE Code of Ethics. The Georgian Chess Federation supports the federations.

Last Thursday we reported that 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. Two days earlier the organizers, the Turkish Chess Federation, had 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."

(Read our blogger GM David Smerdon's reaction here.)

This measure was likely to meet criticism, and it didn't take long. On Friday Andrew Farthing, Chief Executive of the English Chess Federation, sent a protest letter to FIDE (PDF here). It was co-signed by the federations from France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA, and later the Georgian Chess Federation also announced its support.

VIA E-MAIL 8 June 2012

FIDE Secretariat 9
Siggrou Avenue
Athens, Greece

Attention: Presidential Board, Chairman of FIDE Ethics Commission

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to register a formal protest at the actions of the Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) in its selection of the arbiters to officiate at the 40th Chess Olympiad, as set out in the open letter from the TCF President, Mr Ali Nihat Yazici, published on the FIDE website.

In this letter, Mr Yazici states:

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.

The letter goes on to refer to seven (unnamed) federations, which from the context must mean the five federations which took legal action against FIDE in 2010 (France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA) plus the two federations who have an ongoing action against FIDE in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Georgia and England).

It should be noted that Mr Yazici is himself one of the Vice Presidents of FIDE whose appointment is under challenge in the ongoing legal action.

In admitting to the exclusion of individuals from the role of arbiter on this basis, the TCF President is in breach of FIDE Statute 1.2, which states:

FIDE is concerned exclusively with chess activities. FIDE is democratically established and bases itself on the principles of equal rights of its members. FIDE is a non profit making organisation.“It rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender.

It is also in violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics, article 2.2.3, which refers to:

Organizers, tournament directors, arbiters or other officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner.

The open letter from Mr Yazici acknowledges that nominated individuals from seven federations were excluded because of legal action taken by those federations against FIDE. This is irrelevant to the selection of the Olympiad arbiters and cannot be considered anything other than a discriminatory political act.

As the Olympiad is an official FIDE event, the organisers have a clear duty to adhere to the FIDE Statutes and FIDE Code of Ethics. We are formally requesting that the Presidential Board and Ethics Commission consider this matter urgently and demand that the Turkish Chess Federation reconsider its appointments, this time in an impartial and non- discriminatory fashion.

Please confirm receipt of this message.

Yours faithfully,

English Chess Federation

This letter is supported by the following FIDE members, listed in alphabetical order:

French Chess Federation
German Chess Federation
Swiss Chess Federation
Ukrainian Chess Federation
United States Chess Federation

Note that the federations address the letter not only to the FIDE Presidential Board, but also to its Ethical Commission, which is now more or less obliged to take action. Whatever the outcome will be, the reaction by the Ethics Commission will also be interesting from a political point of view, since Mr Yazici is a Vice President himself.

Update June 12th, 2012

The Association of Chess Professionals has now also reacted negatively to the arbiters ban:

The ACP Board has received an official letter from the number of world's leading chess federations, with the request to react on the public statement of the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2012/Olympiad_2012/statement_of_...

We know Mr.Yazici as a proactive chess organizer, who managed to organize a significant number of a high-level events in Turkey. Thanks to his efforts, the Olympiad 2012 was granted to Istanbul.

However, the ACP Board sees his decision not to invite any principal or arbiter from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA as a very dangerous precedent, which contradicts the very spirit of the "Gens Una Sumus" motto and violates the FIDE statutes.

We would like to remind Mr. Yazici and the whole chess community, that Olympiads were always seen as a major event which unites people, and in good old days, all the wars were terminated, when the Olympiad was about to start.

We firmly believe, that the World Chess Olympiad should not become a battlefield, and it is unacceptable to ban any federation on political or other grounds.

We have been informed, that if the situation doesn't change, some of the affected federations would consider to boycott the Olympiad altogether and not to send their players to Istanbul.

The ACP Board calls on FIDE to urgently discuss the situation and to resolve it fairly by respecting the rights and duties of all the parties involved.

The ACP Board also appeals personally to the President of the Turkish Chess Federation Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, asking him to take one step back and to reinforce the Olympic spirit of peace, friendship and unity, even at the cost of sacrificing the very views of the National Federation he represents.

ACP Board
11 June 2012


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Szoker's picture

Crazy !!!

Sligunner's picture

Typical of FIDE's bully-boy tactics, I'm afraid. The Turkish Chess Federation should be hanging its head in shame. It just reinforces all the stereotypical view of semi-totalitarian states, something which actions like this are guaranteed to perpetuate. Such a shame, too, considering all the great efforts Turkey has made in recent years to develop chess in the country, particularly through schools.

darkergreen1327's picture

Turkish Chess Federation made a terrible blunder! That is not to way to improve the chess. That is just an act to produce new troubles in the chess community. And since I am from that country I am also aware of the anti-democratic way these guys act. Such a shame!

Mars's picture

Just what you would expect from someone supporting Ilyumzhinov: a terrible action from the TCF.

Anonymous's picture

Oh yes, I very much agree. "Gens una" sunt, one of a kind. Those incapable people can't really learn and calm down since their egos just seem hopelessly wounded. What they pretend to do for chess seems rather motivated by their unstoppable urge to shine personally. Unfortunately for the majority of their members, they have been allowed to chose FIDE as their major battleground. Endless story of pyrrhic victories, sadly.

At least, finally and most fortunately, the organisation of future world championship cycles has been outsourced to Andrew Paulson in the meantime. He seems to be an excellent and capable guy. Let's hope for such ridiculous tragedies to be worth side notes at most long term.

syra's picture
Septimus's picture

Please stop reporting this bullsh!t. You are wasting space and time on this ancient soap opera.

Sligunner's picture

You want to censor Chessvibes too? Are you from the Turkish Bureau of Let's Stop Freedom of Speech and Don't Report Anything About Our Poor Misunderstood Chess Federation. I rather think YOU are the waste of space, Septimus.

Anonymous's picture

All that's necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

mar's picture

Turkey is a joke.

Dave p's picture

Perfect name for the country in this case.

Mahmut's picture

Ali Nihat YAZICI is well-known in Turkey for his incapability in chess and Ilyumzhinov a** kissing. He bans Turkey's chess players from playing chess for silly reasons (e.g. Suat Atalik). And you know what is funnier besides these? He was against Ilyumzhinov at first, then wrote a stupid letter that explains he changed his ways and found faith in Ilyumzhinov.

See below for even more fun:


Anonymous's picture

Perhaps Ali Nihat YAZICI had a visit from Ilyumzhinov's buddies (the aliens) and they set him straight! :-)

Niima's picture

More likely it is about money. These are alliances based on incurred and expected financial benefits.

Marlowe77's picture

This Yazici alone has created more damage to the image of chess than anyone else. Even if Kirsan would be gone, to have these sort of individuals calling the shots as they please it's truly shameful. He is a pathetic man, without principles, without a code of honour, always amibtious to get into some power seat (FIDE or ECU) and he'd not care if his positions over time look silly, contradictory. He's a major sellout. It's because of people like him that chess will always remain an "exotic" hobby. Shame on you, Sir Shame on you.

hildcar's picture

Turkey must be prevented from joining the EU.

Goendi's picture

Chess is not about politics, and the European Union is secondly most of it a economic union. Putting a oneliner like this, just looks hilarious taking into consideration that it is not a black-white discussion, and it will never be one.

Goendi's picture

I don't normally comment on articles here, also since many posts don't consider courtesy or understand how to adress individuals. A lot of posts don't show any respect for anyone. Even the FIDE president deserves respect.

That said, Mr Yazici seems to show his very little side, abusing the organisation of the world's biggest event for political reasons. The olympiad was and has never been about politics. Even when country's were at war, they would still compete against each other on the chess board. The signal he is sending now, and together with him FIDE considering they posted his letter on their website, shows a dangerous precedent which gives the impression FIDE has become that what federations like England and Georgia are fighting.

It is my belief that this act is not only to be undone, but also to be prevented from being done in any future. I suggest FIDE gives the power to appoint arbiters to those being an arbiter, using a selection commission for all major events organised by FIDE. Organisers should in my opinion never decide on who will be an arbiter on any event. An arbiter is independant, and should be appointed as so based on his/her arbiter record and/or career vue.

Andrew's picture

We need another world chess federation! FIDE is hilarious. Anything is better than these guys.

Anonymous's picture

Absolutely! Substitution seems to be the only available option - either of the top representatives within FIDE, or if impossible, rather replace the organisation as a whole by ACP for the purpose of representing and organising global chess. I'd personally rather try and convince my cat than hoping for enduring reason within current FIDE.

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