Reports | July 17, 2012 12:36

FIDE responds to Nigel Short: "There is nothing 'Kafkaesque' about this"

FIDE responds to Nigel Short: "There is nothing 'Kafkaesque' about this"

As we reported on July 10th, the case between the English & Georgian chess federations vs FIDE was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) a week before. FIDE claimed to have won the case, but Nigel Short stated that "FIDE simply escaped on a technicality". Now, FIDE has sent us a response to Nigel Short, which we'll consider an "open letter".

First, to remind you about what this is all about: The English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation joined forces against FIDE and went to the CAS court, 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 Levitov, 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.

On July 5th FIDE reported that it had won the case. Nigel Short responded a few days later, and said:

FIDE has accurately reported the outcome of the case on its website ... except that it completely and conveniently ignores the most important point - that FIDE simply escaped on a technicality and fails to mention that it was severely criticized by the CAS Panel in its decision.

(You can read FIDE's press release and Nigel Short's full response in our article here.) 

This week we received the following text. It was not signed personally, but the email was sent by It was signed by FIDE Treasurer and Executive Director Nigel Freeman and cc'ed to FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos:

Following your article in which you quoted Nigel Short’s spin on their loss of the case, FIDE would like to make the following three points:

1.       Nigel Short’s assertion that the English and Georgian Chess Federations lost their case “on a technicality” only is odd and surprising. Indeed, they were represented by one of the largest, and most expensive in the world, US law firms, specialising in international arbitration. In addition, while one of the appeals was indeed inadmissible because it was filed too late, the other one was “dismissed on the merits” (§ 85 of the CAS award).

2.       Contrary to what Nigel Short writes, FIDE was not “severely criticized by the CAS Panel in its decision”. The mere reading of the decision proves that this statement is wrong. Statutes and regulations of all international sports federations raise questions of interpretation in light of successive amendments and past practice. The improvement of these Statutes, regulations and practice is a continuous process. The next FIDE Congress in Istanbul will examine and adopt several changes of FIDE rules in a democratic way. Most importantly for FIDE and its member Federations, the Panel has recognised that the appealed “decision to appoint the Five Vice Presidents was a decision taken by the General Assembly”, i.e. FIDE highest body, not just by the FIDE President as they had claimed.

3.       The deadline to appeal a decision begins to run from the day the decision is known. There is nothing “Kafkaesque” about this. According to the CAS procedural rules, the appeal must be filed within 21 days. Both the English and Georgian Chess Federations were present at the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk at the beginning of October 2010 and their appeal should therefore have been filed in October 2010. However, it was only sent to the CAS six months later, on 29 March 2011. In addition, since the minutes of the General Assembly were published on FIDE website on the 8 February 2011, the appeal did in any case not respect the time limit laid down by the CAS Code.

Best regards,

Nigel

Mentioning the quality of the opponent's lawyers should be completely irrelevant for FIDE's argumentation. However, it was surprising that an important part of the case had to be dismissed by CAS because of this 21-day rule. The third and last argument made by FIDE seems quite to the point. The question is whether it is justified to demand the minutes of a meeting which one attended, or at least could attend.

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.

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Comments

Zeblakob's picture

Someone has to do something to the holly FIDE.

noyb's picture

Why don't responsible federations just walk away from FIDE and form a new organization? What possible use does it any longer serve except to line the pockets of bureaucrats from third world countries that don't even really care about chess?

Chess Fan's picture

Has anything that has been started against the FIDE worked out successfully? Kasparov started one in competition and how did it work? Maybe he should start again and "responsible chess federations" should join him? At least with FIDE, we have structure and order with regular unfied World Championships and money for regularly held events. Dictators or not, the FIDE executive has restored semblance and order to World Chess Sport. Do you want to go back to Kasparovian world of chaos and disorder again hoping for who the unified World Champion is?

guitarspider's picture

Unity at all costs is great, sign me up!

But, just to do away with my last doubts, what if next time Kirzhan meets his alien friends they decide to keep him? Or if he happens to be meeting the next dictator-to-be-deposed when the building they're in is blown up? Or if he gets lost during one of his expeditions into the Swamps of Corruption and can't find his way back? Who will replace our glorious leader and maintain our prized unity? Like, we only have 1 Deputy President and 10 Vice Presidents according to the FIDE website, that's a rather small pool to pick from.
But maybe I shouldn't worry, given that it includes Makropoulos, Gelfer, Yazici and some Chinese man who apparently doesn't have e-mail.

Anonymous's picture

Well, obviously for a long time now those people don't care about the game of chess and sadly neither do they have the slightest idea what harm they're doing. On a side note, the same applies to FIFA. Obviously corruption in global sports organisations can both be successful and remain unpunished. Unless someone finally decides to reveal and end it.

bayde's picture

This is the first time I've had the chance to read anything by Nigel Freeman, but I can see that he is TERRIBLE at debating and making logical arguments! To wit:

"Nigel Short’s assertion that the English and Georgian Chess Federations lost their case “on a technicality” only is odd and surprising. Indeed, they were represented by one of the largest, and most expensive in the world, US law firms"

How on earth is sentence 2 a refutation of sentence 1 ???? I mean this is not even nursery school logic. I don't think there is even a name for this logical fallacy. Maybe "argument from something totally beside the point"....?

I already knew the various Russians and ex-Soviets in FIDE were this bad at stringing logical thoughts together, so I expect it of them by now, but Freeman is an Englishman! The head spins.

RT's picture

Maybe could be classified as a red herring?

RealityCheck's picture

@bayde

Maybe the Englishman, Nigel Freeman, is just rubbing in the fact that despite Nigel Short and his band having a very expensive Yankee law firm representing them still he (Short) has to stoop low, cry wolf about losing the case because of some minor technicality. Short is a sore loser just like his buddy Kasparov.

Rodzjer's picture

More off-topic and beside-the-point bladibla reporting in the chess world...

MH's picture

By appointing extra VP's the FIDE president will get more power. It's a littlebit like the TV series The Borgias where the pope appoint extra cardinals to stay in control.
Anyway chess is about great moves, not about politics.

Tom Servo's picture

Ah yes, I once read that chess players are thought to be intelligent. Yet we never see an end to the bickering among players, national chess federations, and FIDE. It would be nice to think that If chess players ran the world, everything would become better, since chess players are so very logical and smart. Yes it sure would be nice to think so.

Tom Servo's picture

Ah yes, I once read that chess players are thought to be intelligent. Yet we never see an end to the bickering among players, national chess federations, and FIDE. It would be nice to think that If chess players ran the world, everything would become better, since chess players are so very logical and smart. Yes it sure would be nice to think so.

Stephen's picture

A good case lost on a technicality. Only winner => big fat lawyer. Nigel Short used to make good moves. This was not one of them.

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