Reports | August 28, 2012 23:30

No "Gens Una Sumus" for Russian chess journalist? (UPDATED)

No "Gens Una Sumus" for Russian chess journalist?

Evgeny Surov, the editor-in-chief of the popular Russian news site Chess-news, is not allowed to work at the Olympiad in Istanbul. Last week Surov received an email from the Turkish organizers in which it was said that he wouldn't receive press accreditation, but Surov travelled to Istanbul anyway. Today the Russian journalist was not allowed to enter the playing hall, not even as a spectator.

Although there was quite some controversy in the last few months towards the Olympiad, with arbiters from seven federations rejected and all, most chess players and fans are mostly happy that the biennial event has started. Because indeed an Olympiad is something special, a fantastic gathering of hundreds and hundreds of strong players trying to do their very best for their country. However, before we'll discuss the results and games of the first round (in a separate post), we cannot ignore what happened to one of our colleagues on the first day.

In fact the story started a week ago. Like all journalists, Evgeny Surov had applied for press accreditation in order to report on the Olympiad from Istanbul for his popular Russian website Chess-news. But, on Monday, August 20th he received an email from the Olympiad's press coordinator which said:

Since you are not a journalist, we will not accredit you for the olympiad.

In the same email it was mentioned that Surov wouldn't receive accreditation as a spectator either.

After receiving the email, Surov contacted several chess officials and eventually decided to travel to Istanbul anyway. He did manage to attend the opening ceremony on Monday, and there he tried to resolve the situation with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. According to Surov, in a private conversation Ilyumzhinov said that he "would try to settle things during the day of the first round". However, when Surov went to the playing hall on Tuesday, he was not allowed to enter.

Shortly after the start of the first round, there was a press conference with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos and FIDE Vice President Ali Nihat Yazici. Ilyumzhinov started by welcoming all journalists and guests, but the Surov situation wasn't discussed.

So why is the Chess-news editor not allowed to work at the Olympiad? Surov himself thinks that it was this critical article about the 2011 Women's World Team Championship that has upset the Turkish organizers. In the article it was suggested that some teams were considering not to attend the tournament, and later the team from the USA indeed decided not to participate, "after serious consideration of multiple issues and several topics that were a concern to us".

In a Skype conversation on Tuesday night we asked Al Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation and main organizer of the Olympiad, why Surov wasn't given accreditation. Yazici didn't want to go into details, but he did said the following:

With this guy I do not want to spend time... Really! I have more important things to do. He is not a journalist. Let me give you an example I faced in 1994. It explains the situation. In 1990 private pirate radios and televisions in Turkey exploded like mushrooms, since the laws were not passed. I had a friend (...) and he told me how he became rich. He opened a radio station (private and pirate) in Antalya. Between the lines, the law of broadcasting was passed in 1994 by the State. He started broadcasting and became very rich in 2 years. I asked him the reason, and he told me that he goes for example to a big restaurant. He speaks to the owner, saying that "Mr. X, we heard many complains about the hygiene of food in your restaurant. We do not believe those claims. We want to correct it by good advertising." If the owner of the restaurant accepted, he was pampering the restaurant. Otherwise, he was producing many gossips about the restaurant. You got it? There is no difference with the case!

Meanwhile, at Chess-news a big banner is put up with the text

FIDE! Give Us A Chance To Work

OR

Forget "Gens Una Sumus" Motto


Update August 29th, 19:04

Surov has now written an open letter to two officials of the Russian Chess Federation, Arkady Dvorkovich and Ilya Levitov:

Dear Arkady Vladimirovich and Dear Ilya Vladislavovich!

I would like to tell you about my outrageous experience as a Russian journalist at this time of the Olympiad in Istanbul. As one of the FIDE’s leaders, Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, with sufferance of Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Ilyumzhinov, are violating not only their slogan «We are one family» but also my rights as a journalist and human.

Before the beginning of the Olympiad I received very aggressive letter from the organizing committee. Saying that according to instructions, I would not be allowed to attend the event nor as a journalist, nor as a guest. The reason provided was «since you are not a journalist».

The president of Association of Chess Professionals and the member of the FIDE's WCOC Mr. Emil Sutovsky supported me and asked Mr. Makropoulos to influence the decision. A few days later Mr. Sutovsky wrote another letter with an urgent request for an official response, but was met with silence.

A letter to the FIDE's president assistant Berik Balgabaev also remained without an answer. Only after my second letter, in telephone conversation with Mr. Balgabaev I was told that he does not agree with Mr. Yazici but there is nothing he can do about.

I was pleased to know Mr. Balgabaev’s opinion, but I addressed my appeal not personally to him but to the organization he represents. And the name of the head is well-known.

For this reason I appealed next to Mr. Ilyumzhinov. On the Olympiad's opening day Mr. Ilyumzhinov confirmed that he received my letter and promised to investigate the situation the next day.

I suppose you all know what has happened that «next day». Security at the hall simply sent me away with no reason or explanation. In an hour Mr. Ilyumzhinov thanked Mr. Yazici and Mr. Makropoulos for the perfect organization of the Olympiad. It is evident the answer of the FIDE's president on my request was not straightforward – though very convincing.

Dear Arkady Vladimirovich and Ilya Vladislavovich! I ask you to assess this situation and intervene. I ask you to stand upon my rights, including my fundamental right to practice profession, and the rights of tens of thousands of Russian-speaking chess amateurs' to receive trustworthy information from the Olympiad which they wish to follow on the website of which I am the editor-in-chief.

On this website you may find different comments. Amateurs have different thoughts on many questions and problems regarding the chess world. But there is an unanimous consent among all of them that they understand that this situation harms not me personally but the whole world chess community.

Yours sincerely,
Evgeny Surov, Chess-News, Editor-in-chief

 

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Goendi's picture

It is not up to organisers to define what is journalism and what is not. Even if it is like a tabloid there is still a right for it.

Ali: stop being such a small person.

Taiman's picture

How absurd! The past complaints about past Turkish Chess Federation-hosted events did NOT come from journalists -- they came from players! Journalists, and not just from Chess News, simply reported what the players were saying, and their experience and observations leave the distinct impression that the Federation's insiders are in this for the shakedowns and kickbacks that FIDE promised rather than to benefit players and the game. The totalitarian tactics against Chess News are designed to discourgage others from reporting furture abuses. Ironically, therefore, the Federation's resort to these tactics can only be constued as confirmation that it intents to continue its abuses.

Janis Nisii's picture

Humm, this reminds me of something...
CV didn't feel like covering my case, but Evgeny was brave enough to do it, perhaps because he had experienced censure before, or maybe because he didn't care to investigate on apparent reasons or excuses. He must have thought, back then and now again, that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are higher values than anything else.
A full report of the fact is here:
http://www.chess.com/news/chess-journalist-in-tournament-ban-4546
ACP many months later published a statement about it, even if -- very diplomatically -- without mentioning names.
I'm pretty sure not allowing him not even as a spectator is pure abuse and against any law. This should recive a wider pubblicity.
I don't want to go, cover or follow an event that started with a ban of 6 federations' arbiters and goes on like this.
It's a shame and I think it's about time we did something against it.

patzer108's picture

The Turkish Chess Federation has a history of banning players (Atalik) and arbiters. Now it has crowned the “glory” by adding journalists (Surovov).This deserves to be universally condemned.
But chess.com reporting such incidents is no paragon of virtue. It has its own record of suppressing dissent.

Mike's picture

You are absolutely right!!

Janis Nisii's picture

Sorry, forgot to link the article on my case by Surov. Here it is: http://chess-news.ru/en/node/5851

ozan's picture

this is the chess olympiad. how come ali has can give the last decision? there must be an international committee. and what is that: "this guy is not a journalist?" statement! that means nothing!

Arne Moll's picture

Quite so. Absurd situation, something for a movie, not for a serious sports event organized by a serious federation - oh wait.

Bartleby's picture

The list gets longer. If Mr. Yazici does not like you, you are in Turkey not allowed to work as a

- Turkish GM
- international arbiter
- chess journalist

Wow, they must have depths of unspoiled talent in Turkey. Everywhere else we call ourselves lucky to have grandmasters, arbiters, journalists, and tend to put up with their and our imperfections. Gens divisa est.

Bert de Bruut's picture

add spectator of major chess event to that

BORIS ALEXIS ARIZA OSORIO's picture

CHESS THE OLYMPICS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS HELD WORLDWIDE IN THE FIELD chess, CAN COMPARE WITH OTHER SPORTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, A LEVEL OF TEAMS AND THAT MEETS THE BEST PLAYERS CURRENTLY IN LEVEL COMPETITION.
THE OLYMPICS IS THE CREAM OF THE HIGHEST ELITE CHESS, A technical and competitive level and in fact no EVENT ADMINISTRATIVE, ORGANIZATIONAL, DIRECTING THE BOUND AND DEPENDENT, but clearly SPORTS EXTRA , LEGAL OR BOYCOTT MAY PREVENT OR ONE OF THE EVENTS most important place every two years, involving each selection of each country, with more representative PLAYERS HIGHEST LEVEL OF CURRENT chess.
Administrative processes, and law-sporting, BUT HEAD DIRECTLY IN FORM OF THESE EVENTS MAY AFFECT OR PREVENT ANY WAY, THE BUSINESS OF SCHEDULED EVENT EVERY TWO YEARS.
SUGGEST IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO BOARDS OF OLYMPICS TO SPORT ACTIVITY MUST BE OUTSIDE clearly, ALL CIRCUMSTANCES ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND ADDRESS OF THE SAME, INCLUDING THE DIRECTION OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE OLYMPICS AND FEDERATION OF EACH COUNTRY.

The ethical, political, address administration and organization, NEVER, BUT NEVER CAN PREVAIL ON FREE EXPRESSION OF THE PURE SPORTS, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND COMPETITIVE, SO GENTLEMEN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE OLYMPICS ORGANISING AND DIFFERENT FEDERATIONS THE WORLD, PLEASE ARE MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDS A STRICTLY ETHICAL, MORAL AND PROFESSIONAL AS TO CLARIFY AND RESOLVING DISPUTES THAT MAY AFFECT THE NORMAL ACTIVITY OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS OF THE YEAR in its programming, COMPETITIVENESS AND QUALITY IN THE FIELD chess.
FORM IS REQUIRED IN VERY PROFESSIONAL, AND TALKING SO DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, THE DIFRENCIAS political, administrative, WHICH MAY AFFECT THE APPEARANCE AND COMPETITIVE SPORTS WORLD CHESS.
CAREFULLY.
BORIS ALEXIS ARIZA OSORIO
"ALESELANDFRA23"
S.C. 12622600
SANTA MARTA / COLOMBIA.

LAS OLIMPIADAS DE AJEDREZ ES UNO DE LOS EVENTOS MÀS IMPORTANTES A NIVEL MUNDIAL CELEBRADAS EN EL AMBITO AJEDRECISTICO, SE PUEDE COMPARAR CON EL CAMPEONATO MUNDIAL DE OTROS DEPORTES, A NIVEL DE SELECCIONES, Y QUE REUNE A LOS MEJORES JUGADORES DE LA ACTUALIDAD, EN NIVEL Y COMPETENCIA.
LAS OLIMPIADAS ES LA CREMA DE LA MÀS ALTA ELITE DE AJEDREZ, A NIVEL TÈCNICO Y COMPETITIVO Y DE HECHO NINGÙN SUCESO ADMINISTRATIVO, ORGANIZACIONAL, DIRECTIVO, LIGADO Y DEPENDIENTE DE EL, PERO NETAMENTE EXTRADEPORTIVO, O LEGAL PUEDE IMPEDIR O BOICOTEAR, UNO DE LOS EVENTOS MÀS IMPORTANTE QUE SE CELEBRA CADA DOS AÑOS, DONDE PARTICIPAN CADA SELECCIÒN DE CADA PAIS, CON LOS JUGADORES MÀS REPRESENTATIVO DE MÀS ALTO NIVEL DE LA ACTUALIDAD AJEDRECISTICA.
LOS PROCESOS ADMINISTRATIVOS, LEGALES, EXTRADEPORTIVOS, PERO QUE DIRECTAMENTE DIRIGEN EN FORMA DE ORGANIZACIÒN ESTOS EVENTOS, NO PUEDEN EVITAR O AFECTAR DE MANERA ALGUNA, LA ACTIVIDAD DEL EVENTO PROGRAMADA CADA DOS AÑOS.
ES MUY IMPORTANTE SUGERIR A LAS JUNTAS DIRECTIVAS DE LAS OLIMPIADAS QUE LA ACTIVIDAD NETAMENTE DEPORTIVA DEBE SER AJENA, A TODAS LAS CIRCUNSTANCIAS ADMINISTRATIVAS, POLITICAS Y DE DIRECCIÒN DE LA MISMA, INCLUYENDO A LA DIRECCIÒN DE LA ORGANIZACIÒN DE LA OLIMPIADA Y FEDERACIONES DE CADA PAIS.
LOS PROBLEMAS ÈTICOS, POLITICOS, DE ADMINISTRACIÒN DE DIRECCIÒN Y DE ORGANIZACIÒN, NUNCA, PERO NUNCA PUEDEN PREVALECER SOBRE LA LIBRE EXPRESIÒN DE LO PURAMENTE DEPORTIVO, TÈCNICO Y COMPETITIVO; POR LO TANTO SEÑORES DIRECTIVOS DE LA JUNTA ORGANIZADORA DE LA OLIMPIADA Y DE LAS DIFERENTES FEDERACIONES DEL MUNDO, POR FAVOR SE LES RECOMIENDA UN MANEJO ESTRICTAMENTE ÈTICO, MORAL Y PROFESIONAL, PARA ACLARAR Y RESOLVER AS DIFERENCIAS QUE PUEDAN AFECTAR LA ACTIVIDAD NORMAL DE UNO DE LOS EVENTOS MÀS IMPORTANTE DE AÑO EN SU PROGRAMACIÒN, COMPETITIVIDAD Y CALIDAD EN EL AMBITO AJEDRECISTICO.
SE HACE NECESARIO EN FORMA MUY PROFESIONAL , PLATICAR Y DEBATIR DE MANERA DEMOCRATICA, LAS DIFRENCIAS POLITICAS, ADMINISTRATIVAS, QUE PUEDAN AFECTAR EL ASPECTO DEPORTIVO Y COMPETITIVO DEL AJEDREZ MUNDIAL.
ATENTAMENTE
BORIS ALEXIS ARIZA OSORIO
“ALESELANDFRA23”
C.C. 12622600
SANTA MARTA/COLOMBIA.

Mike's picture

Statement simply too long for reading, has anyone read it completely?!

Konstr's picture

Why are some words not in capitals?

Casaubon's picture

Really, is anyone even surprised?

Anonymous's picture

Definitely not surprising. This is just another sad addition to the long list of unspeakable impertinences coming from this person, who once again clearly proves personally uneligible. Yet even more incredibly, appropriate action to end this joke is not yet in sight. Are we dreaming or is this actually taking place?! Unbelievable.

MW's picture

Breakaway organizations have not worked out so well in the past, but how long are the respectable national federations of the world going to put up with the antics of this pack of clown and just let them have their way with impunity.

Zeblakob's picture

Looks like a police state (no offence for sure).

RealityCheck's picture

Correct decision by the Organizer! One thing we can be sure of: far too many of Evgeny Surov's articles (see 2012 WCh for example) resemble a "Smear Campaign" against certain people/events rather than pure journalism.

By the way, Chessvibes takes the liberty to delete even relevant comments from their own Your Comment (a.k.a. Speak Your Mind) section. There were approximately 25 comments removed from one of the Pussy Riot threads. Note! They were not deleted because of fowl language, rascism, slander, sexism, etc.

Why cry out against, why make censorship an issue when you employ it yourself..... Peter Doggers?

Peter Doggers's picture

We haven't deleted any comments but perhaps something went wrong on the technical side. Please contact us if you've found any irregularities and do mention which article exactly, please.

Janis Nisii's picture

Reality Check, there is a big difference between criticizing and attack someone based on the journalist's opinion (and this IS journalism) and Smear Campaign, but I'm not criticizing you on your opinion that Evgeny's articles were intended as smear campaign, because I haven't read the material.
What you seem to completely miss is that it's not a political party or an organizer who should decide this, but a court or judge.
If someone think that their credibility and reputation have been managed they can take action against libel or slander.
The way you put it, it's just an easyway to muzzle jounalists to express their opinion, which would mean the death of free press.

Anonymous's picture

I fully agree with Janis. One might add, that even if concepts like 'free speech' and 'democracy' sometimes obviously are subject to wild interpretation, this event was originally created as a gathering for the world-wide chess public, not a private chess party.

Janis Nisii's picture

typo: it's 'damaged' and not 'managed'

patzer108's picture

There is a typo in your message.What you mean is foul language.

Joe Fiasco's picture

Since the Erdogan government came to power in Turkey, hundreds of journalists have been jailed for criticizing the government.

It's sad to see that these totalitarian practices have seeped through to its chess federation.

Olli's picture

It is a pity that Kasparov spends so much time and energy on opposing Putin and does not focus on rescuing the chess world from Iljumshinov, Yacizi and the likes. That would be a real benefit for at least a more or less small part of the world. I agree that Kasparov is a controversial figure, but I really don't want to see any longer the highest representative of chess in the world dealing with monsters like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi or Assad. And let uns consider the question who will succeed Iljumshinov if it goes according to his clique. Can it be assumed that it will be Yacizi? Will there be another 20, 25 years of FIDE-shame?

Roger's picture

Kasparov was heavily involved with the Karpov campaign to replace Kirsan in 2010. That got no more votes than the Bessel Kok attempt in 2006. The basic problem is that delegates of small federations will vote Kirsan regardless. The attempt in 2011 to challenge FIDE in the Court of Arbitration in Sport was supposedly financed by Kasparov but did no more than spend a lot of FIDE's money. Yacizi attempted to become president of the ECU in 2010, but was rejected. But then the delegates of European Federations are usually answerable to their national bodies.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Not necessarily true. Not all small federations voted for Ilyumzhinov and not all large ones voted for Karpov. There was a mixed bag, but of course most went with the prevailing administration. I don't agree with the weighting of federation's votes which would make it even more of an elite club than any semblance of democratic parity. Karpov damaged his own chances with that pronouncement.

Olli's picture

To my opinion, the number of chess players in a federation should not be disregarded. There are countries with some hundred players and they have exactly as much vote as countries with hundreds of thousands of players. And I am afraid that it is easier for Kirsan to become "friends" with the delegates from the hundred-player-federations than with the larger federations. In this context I am not talking about Russia, since the Kremlin obviously has an influence on Russian chess but no motifs which are concerned with what is best for chess in general.

Olli's picture

True, Roger. But maybe the reason really was, that Karpov2010 started too late and was not prepared enough. And that is why I think that now, as Kasparov already announced to try again, two years in advance he should focus only on that. And maybe do it again with Karpov cause it definitely would give more drive and power.
But on the other side I absolutely agree, as long as every country has the same number of votes, regardless if it is Russia, USA, France, Germany or some islands from Micronesia, it is very hard to change the situation. It is the same problem as in the FIFA.
I don't know, if a grassroot movement, something like the occupy movement, would do something. For example, if the national federations would organise campaigns where the base, the club players could express that they are fed up with the FIDE management. Or, if chess politics is not able to do so, doing it via the internet, social networks etc. Just an idea, maybe it would generate enough momentum to support a change in 2014.
In such a case FIDE could threat to suspend these federations, which would be as ridiculous as what currently emanated from Yacizis brain concerning the sueing federations. Maybe, after 1993, there would be another split of the chess world. But then again, can it get worse than it currently is?

patzer108's picture

Sadly, there are also big federations like India that support the FIDE establishment and vote for it in elections. For their services they are rewarded with key positions in FIDE with perks & privileges (free travel and stay in 5-star hotels at FIDE costs). Both Mr. Koya and Sundar of AICF from India became vice-Presidents of FIDE for ensuring Ilyumzhinov’s election.

Anonymous's picture

And just when some considered good ol' FIDE-slogan "Gens Una Sumus" in danger of being forgotten, president Ilyumzhinov showed incredible presence of mind by publicly calling Mr. Yazici "his brother". No, there shall be no doubt: There is a chess family at the Olympiad. :-)

What's Next?'s picture

Another scandal is that the World Chess Champion Anand don't play any more Chess Olympiads. There should be a contract that force both the World Chess Champion (Anand) and the number one on the Elo-rating list (Carlsen) to play in the Chess Olympiad.

Anonymous's picture

Isn't he the guy that was turning the delegations against Kirsan in a previous Olympiad?

StefanLoeffler's picture

Now Mr Yazici has made an interesting (and, if unproven, libellous) claim. Cudos to Chessvibes for publishing it:
Yazici compares Chess-News.Ru´s reporting to a blackmailing scheme to get advertising. I was unable to find any hints that Chess-News.Ru has ever been doing that. But I am sure Mr Yazici (or any of his helpers) can provide hints or even evidence.

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