Reports | September 21, 2011 15:36

Dutch Chess Federation: 'FIDE rating system threatened'

Dutch Federation: 'FIDE rating system threatened'

In a letter to the FIDE Executive Board members, the Dutch Chess Federation expresses its concern about the proposals of the Events Commission for the Executive Board Meeting to be held from 15 to 22 October 2011 in Krakow, Poland. We received the letter as well and publish it here.

Haarlem, 21 September 2011

Dear Mr. President, dear Board Members,

It is with great concern that we have taken note of the proposals of the Events Commission for the Executive Board Meeting in Krakow. We feel that the interests of both chess players and chess organizers will be severely harmed if these proposal were to be accepted. And what is more we think that these proposals are a direct threat to the FIDE rating system – a system that is one of the great success stories of FIDE.

Some years ago the expansion of the FIDE rating system to a larger group of players was discussed in the FIDE Congress. At the time, the Presidential Board assured the delegates that the expansion of the rating system would not lead to higher costs for federations or players. Accepting the proposals of the Events Commission to the Executive Board in Krakow would mean a drastic breach of promise. Studying the proposals it becomes obvious that the tariffs are raised dramatically.

Curiously, the proposals lack any explanation on the necessity of these plans. The income and expenses of FIDE in 2010 were balanced, the administrative costs of the rating process are within the limits of the budget and the proposals do not include a higher standard of service. Indeed, a general philosophy behind the plans is lacking, and, while the present financial situation of FIDE seems healthy enough, there are no reasons given for the excessive increase in tariffs.

Please see the attachment for a detailed explanation of the consequences of the proposals. In conclusion, we would like to summarize:

-    The proposals will raise the costs for players, organizers and federations excessively.
-    The proposals lack any explanation regarding the necessity of these substantial raises in tariffs. Indeed, no coherent vision is presented.
-    The proposals will not bring the ‘customers’ a higher standard of service. The product remains the same, but the prices are multiplied with a factor 2 or 3.
-    The proposals will lead to more bureaucracy and administrative complications; money will have to be transferred back and forth between players, FIDE and national federations.
-    The proposals will erode the FIDE rating system, since many tournaments that are now rated will drop out for financial reasons. Likewise, many chess players will not buy a license and will not be rated in the future.

In the interest of the global chess community, we call on the members of the Executive Board of FIDE to turn down these proposals of the Events Commission in the meeting in Krakow.

Yours sincerely,

Eddy Schuyer
President KNSB

Herman Hamers
FIDE Delegate KNSB

Below we give the attachment to the letter from the Dutch Federation:

Discussion of the proposals of the Events Commission
Unfortunately, the proposals contain no comparisons between the costs of the present situation and the proposed situation. When we do make these comparisons, the following substantial raises come to light:

Proposal to charge title fees directly to title holders – annex 33P (amounts in euro)


Title Amount now Amount proposed Adm. Cost Disbursed Net amount Raise in %
Grandmaster 330 500 100 200 400 21
Int. Master 165 300 100 120 280 70
FIDE Master 70 200 100 80 220 214
Cand. Master 50 100 100 40 160 220
Int. Arbiter 100 300 100 120 280 180
FIDE Arbiter 50 200 100 80 220 340


Please note that it is the national federations which are disbursed, while the title fees have to be paid directly by the players and arbiters. So, if federations do not, in turn, disburse their members then the increase is even more disproportionate. The administration costs can be raised to € 150 when the application is receives after the deadline and to € 200 if the application is submitted after the commencement of the Meeting/Congress. These amounts have to be paid by the title holders, but their application has to be checked by the federation and the fee must be refunded through the federation. In the proposal no reasons are given why an increase of hundreds of per cents are proposed, and, indeed acceptable.

Regulations on registration and licensing of players – annex 33D (amounts in euro)


Costs for player Now Proposed
Registration fee 0 10
License fee for 1 year 0 30
License fee for life 0 500


It is obvious that many chess players will not be willing to pay these license fees. However, if an organizer inadvertently accepts a player without a valid license, the organizer shall be penalized € 50 for every infringement. As a consequence many chess players will not be rated any longer, and many organizers will prefer not to have their events rated. Every year 40% of this amount will be refunded to the federations; federations which require financial assistance receive a larger refund. FIDE takes over the administrative work that national federations are doing now in registering their players, but for a substantially higher amount.

Proposal to charge rating fees directly to the organizers – annex 33O (amounts in euro)


Type of time control Registration Swiss system Other – per section/category/group
Normal 100 7 300
Rapid 100 4 200
Blitz 100 2 100


For a late Rating Report at any stage, a surcharge of 50% shall be levies.

The cost now is € 1 per player in a Swiss tournament. So the charges are raised sevenfold! Again any explanation is lacking. For groups there is at the moment a price (in euro) per category for registration fees.


Category 0 to 3 50
Category 4 to 7 100
Category 8 to 10 150
Category 11 to 14 200
Category 15+ 300


Also in the rating procedure the costs are raised enormously. 40% of the rating fees will be disbursed to the federations. This does not change the cost explosion and will only lead to more administrative red tape.

On top of this all the treasurer proposes to remove the ceiling on tournament fees, which now stands at € 15.000. See annex 5. The costs for reporting tournaments in active countries will thus rise sky- high. Again it is obvious that many tournament organizers will no longer report their tournaments to FIDE. This in turn means a serious erosion of the FIDE rating system.

Regulations on seminars and title award for organizers – annex 33C
The proposal is that a tournament can only be reported by an International Organizer (IO). The costs for the IO’s will according to the proposals be raised (amounts in euro). It is questionable whether organizers will be willing to pay these fees to FIDE.


Costs IO Now Proposal
Seminar (once) - 250
Title fee (once) 100 150
License fee (every 4 years) - 100


Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Szoker's picture


Bonzo's picture

What the h...?!

This is ridiculous. It is time for an alternative chess organisation.

cak's picture

Anyone interested in buying my FIDE master title (pin and diploma included)? I want to get rid of it, and my price is more fair than FIDE's.

chesser's picture

Brainless amateurs work in that organization

noyb's picture

Just how bad do things have to get before national federations simply walk away from FIDE? Fischer tried in 1975, Kasparov tried repeatedly over the last 25 years, professional players have tried alternative organizations on several occasions, and even Karpov at least tried last year to change it from within (that speaks volumes).


fierce badger's picture

Easy its a its a rip off , lets see the accounts , lets freeze all fide salaries, let get the auditors in

only we cant do any of the above can we ?

Benji's picture

What is all the fuss? and what's the big deal? Aren't prices in all sectors of life going up? I don't see anything wrong with these fees - to me they are quite fair! And even better... 40% gets channeled to the poorer federations! Time to destroy the dominance of the richer federations! Particularly Germany (and Germans) who have always senselessly opposed FIDE and our great President Kirsan! Go Kirsan, Go Kirsan - the man has done more good to chess than any of you will understand! He takes from the rich and powerful and gives to the weaker and poorer...he focuses on the east not the western stuges!

bayde's picture


Are you for real or is this performance art?

Martin's picture

In what sense is it fair if I have to pay 30 euro's extra in order to play in a FIDE-rated tournament each year? (What about club league btw?)
I am a member of the Dutch chess federation and therefor I am a member of FIDE. They have plenty of money, so there's no reason to charge me extra.

Anonymous's picture

Not surprised. With all the "Rating" mania that's been going on somebody (in this case FIDE) was bound to try to cash in on it. Money. Money. Money. Monaaaay..

Ludo Tolhuizen's picture

I do not see why I should pay FIDE 10 euro per event (or 30 euro per year) to have my rating calculated -- something I'm not overly interested in at all.
There are advantages in the disappearance of ratings:
* people cannot loose rating points, so are less afraid of losing, possibly leading to more fighting games
* we would get rid of "Swiss on rating' which is so unfairly favourable to stronger players -- I have seen more than once GMs ending in a Swiss with a higher score but lower TPR than IMs, simply because the GMs got much weaker opposition and the IMs were always paired up.

Remco Gerlich's picture

This sounds like a great business opportunity for people who want to provide a new international rating system. Simple price it only a little bit higher than previously, offer to convert old FIDE ratings for free, and people will flock to it. Easy money.

Takis's picture

Good job, Koeri, how did u manage to get xondifrntial info from FIDE's bureau in Athens? Congrats, u opened our eyes!

Interested's picture

Could someone who is more into clarify this to me: do current title holders have to pay too? Or is the price increased just for new title receivers?

Joeri's picture

Isn't it time for the reasonable national chess federations to finally put their heads together and step out of the FIDE to stop this madness?

I think very simple, but the following steps comes to mind.

1. Copy-paste the current FIDE ratings and titles into the WCF-rating system (world chess federation)
2. Insert a voting regulation for congresses etc. to weigh in the amount of members a national federation has (for example the Comorian Islands has 33, vs the Netherlands around 12000)
3. Insert the whole new WCF-organisation...


TMM's picture

Apparently Kirsan is running out of money... (or maybe his friend Muammar was appointed chief of FIDE-ratings?)

But on a serious note, this is really bad. Kirsan has done quite some bad things in the past as FIDE president, but none of them really ruined chess for national federations and their players as bad as this proposal. Those fees are just ridiculous.

anonymous's picture

I guess FIDE computers are really working much harder these days and therefore deserve a raise. :-)

jou's picture

That was just a proposal. It won't go through.

fide-rated-player's picture

who are the individuals behind these proposals, listed by name, profession and workplace?

Bartleby's picture

Do I need a license to play chess?

Zeblakob's picture

Yes, if you want to play "official" chess like opens, championships, WCC etc ...
I understand your question, in some day in the future, we can not play a single game without authorization of FIDE, even online.

Thomas's picture

Already for team competitions between clubs, you need to be "licensed", i.e. registered for one club. This makes sense to avoid that players represent several clubs, clubs can bring in a "visiting GM" just for one key match, etc. .

But of course anyone can play a private game of chess without license, approval or permission from FIDE (such games will not be rated, that's all). Very similarly, anyone can arrange a private tennis or football match, etc. .

Bartleby's picture

Right now, the only things I pay are the regular membership fee of my club, and occasional fees to tournament organizers. My club pays a fee to the regional or national federation that organizes the leagues. The national federation is a federation of clubs, not single players. The national federation pays a fee to FIDE. FIDE is a federation of federations, not single players. Why should I as a single player pay FIDE? They don't organize anything I participate in. They don't offer any service to me. For what should I pay? For the right to play chess? Maybe some extra fee every time I promote a pawn?

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

I'm the current chairman of the Irish Chess Union. We charge 35 EUR for adult membership, less for children, pensioners and unemployed. This is our only income. So, are we now supposed to pay FIDE 30EUR per year per player? This is madness. I know that the Dutch Chess federation are a rich organisation with an income of more than 1,000,000 EUR per year. But even they can't afford these prices.

If these regulations are passed, then I think Ireland will only register a handful of our top players. We will also stop rating our tournaments, as that will be too expensive. Therefore, FIDE will make less money from Ireland than before.

Also, I can envisage one of the larger national federations offering to rate tournaments from all over the world for the old fee of 1EUR per player. For example, the German chess federation have an excellent website for managing the ratings of their players. I doubt if they would have a problem scaling up from 250,000 players to handle all FIDE rated players currently registered.

The Irish Chess Union will be voting against any proposal that costs us money.

Martin's picture

Hello Jonathan,
If you add this maniacal proposal to the complete story: chaotic WC-cycle, totally corrupted presidential elections, president visiting Gadaffi, president claims to be abducted by aliens and several other stories: all in all I can only conclude that FIDE is corrupted and flawed to the bone. In my book, it is time FIDE became history.

I mean, you can solve a lot of things when Kirsan steps down, but probably not all. The statutary rules are just flawed! Major example being the fact that every member federation gets the same number of votes, even if they'd have only 1 member. That's the way dictators like Kirsan (and FIFA president Joseph Blatter) can stay around by aiding some money here and there.

As some other posters have implied, I believe it's time for the member nations (federations) to either step up to FIDE or - in my book preferably - just start/join a new federation initiative and step out of FIDE. I hope the Irish Chess Union will consider this and wonder what your stance is about FIDE in general.

Trotsky49's picture

There are alternative rating organizations. For example, Chess Express Ratings in New.York.

Jan's picture

its totally insane...but Fide does what it gets away its waiting for another PCA of some kind. Maybe Carlsen could play a role...he voted against the worldcup cycle, we could use a rebel like that.

Shaun Press's picture

As has already been mentioned, this is just a proposal to the FIDE Events Commission (whose members are listed on the FIDE site). The proposals have to be approved by this commission and even if they do, they then only go to the Executive Board who have vote on them as well. In fact it is not clear that the Executive Board have the power to approve some of these proposals, and that only the General Assembly (which meets next year) can do so.
Given that there are a number of places these proposals can be voted down, my bet is that they won't go close to being adopted, and they'll die quite quickly in Krakow.

Martin's picture

So what? The fact that this even gets through a rough post-brainstorm filter is bad enough. It proves the FIDE is full of villains. In that light, being sure of the proposals getting shot down seems to be a giant leap.

Shaun Press's picture

Word from the congress is that they didn't even get discussed. The proposals were pulled from the Events commission agenda before the meeting was held

MJul's picture

A little story:

Decades ago Argentina was a chess "superpower". Time run, things turn more and more difficult, and then... Barrera became FADA's president. And thanks to him argentinian chess is destroyed (but he said: I am going to vote for Kirsan, he is a friend of FADA and maybe I will have possibilities to enter in the Olympic Comission).

One of his changes were the fees.

To be continued...

Latest articles