Reports | January 28, 2011 6:10

FIDE responds to open letter Women’s World Championship participants

Ten days ago we published an open letter signed by eighteen participants of the 2010 Women’s World Championship in Hatay, Turkey. The players expressed disappointment about the way the event was organized, addressing several issues concerning accommodation and food. Today FIDE finally responded, with a letter from Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos.

On January 17 we published the open letter signed by eighteen participants of the 2010 Women’s World Championship. Here's FIDE's response:

Dear fellow chess players,

With great surprise I read your letter of 14 January, signed by several players, concerning the conditions of the World Women's Championship 2010 in Antakya.

It is even more surprising that the main accusation, repeatedly mentioned, is that the organisers of the Turkish Chess Federation tried to make money by overcharging the players. I would like to remind that the organisers have provided the full prize fund of the event (450,000 USD) by taking on their own cost the 20% contribution to FIDE and not deducting it from the players. This means that a total of 90,000 USD was offered free to the players by the organisers. Each participant received a bonus starting from 750 USD (for the players who were eliminated in the first round) and reaching up to 12,000 USD (for the World Champion).

If the organisers wanted to "make more money", wouldn't they simply not offer this bonus? This is well known to all the chess community and it is pretty strange to suggest that an organiser would first donate 90,000 USD to the players and then FIDE or the players should fight with the organisers if they make or not 15-20 euros per day from each hotel room. It is not fair to insult the Turkish Chess Federation, which has showed so much support by organising many top women events with big prize funds and good conditions (Women's Grand-Prix, European Championships, Women's World Championship). Furthermore it is also not fair for the organisers to be treated like this by certain players, when at the same time we hope for more sponsorship money in women's chess and larger prize funds in the future.

A letter with a different and positive attitude, which would first acknowledge the efforts up to now of the Turkish Chess Federation and then suggest possible improvements, would have been much more appreciated and not create such a negative image for our organisers and sponsors.

Concerning the other accusations about the conditions of the latest Women's World Championship, they are simply not accurate in most of its content. The hotel was a good four-star hotel, and after the first game all the other rounds were held within the hotel, so the players avoided any travel before the games. The front road was asphalted and only the side roads were not asphalted as the area of the hotel is a developing suburb. In all cases, the roads were not dirty as your letter suggests. The center of the city was within a four-minute taxi ride without traffic, and some participants even walked the distance. A park was right next to the hotel for anyone who wished to have a walk nearby. There were not any problems with the air conditions outside of the hotel nor with the air-conditioning of the hotel itself. Obviously, if there were really such problems, they would have been noticed at the event, as the games were played for almost 25 days! Furthermore, no player asked the organisers or the FIDE officials to change her room, not even for noise problems as your letter suggests.

The only issue which was addressed by the players after the first round was the quantity of the food portions. From the second round this had significantly improved, very much because of the efforts and pressure of the organisers to the hotel management. In all events such minor problems may occur and the organisers in Antakya were very quick in resolving them.

I would also like to remind that many participants in Nalchik 2008 were in a hurry to complain for the location of that event and afterwards the players appreciated FIDE and the local organisers for the high level of that championship. FIDE will take into consideration your proposals for the future, as it always listens to the views of the players, but the distribution of such "open letters" does not help in attracting sponsors for women's chess.

By this letter, FIDE re-establishes the true facts about the last Women's World Championship in Antakya and we would like to thank once more the Turkish Chess Federation for its continuous support to women's chess events.

Best regards,

Georgios Makropoulos
FIDE Deputy President



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


PP's picture

18 That were not afraid enough for possible consequences. I'm convinced that in a more normal situation the number would have been even higher.

Alexei Shirov's picture

Makro was not talking about the prize fund itself but only the difference in prizes between the last two championships. And then it's quite a significant amount, so some of the complaints are indeed hard to understand.

Reality check's picture

Here's a bone to chew on. GM David Norwood quoted in the mid 1990's:

'Chess players seem to think the world owes them a living. And it doesn't.'

test's picture

>>I really wonder how long FIDE can go on like this.

For a very long time. The current administration just got re-elected remember? Which must mean they have the support of the majority of the chess world behind them.

PS: Sarcasm alert. ;)

Doubleroo's picture

It seems to me that FIDE is making the Argument that the Organizers went to a lot of trouble and did not profit personally from the Event. Even if true it does not address the Complaints.
BP could have made the same Argument for the Gulf Oil Spill. To Drill at that depth was very difficult and BP didn't profit from the loss of life or from the Environmental devastation..

Septimus's picture

I can see one thing very clearly, there is no objectivity among chess enthusiasts on this site. I am no fan of FIDE and the corrupt shenanigans they pulled during the elections, but hell even I can try to be objective. It is really had to come out positive when you have just been blasted to bits in an "open letter".

If anything, that "open letter" was openly insulting to the city and its inhabitants. Not a word about that eh? You don't go to somebody's house as a guest and insult them. An "antagonize first" approach never works. I say this is bullsh*t, STFU and get on with it.

bhabatosh's picture

are u turkish ? :-)

regardless , if they have managed it poorly then let the players say it was poor.
As a host you should make sure your guests are well treated i.e. you as host pay in minor details as well.

Since there are so many top players complained , FIDE should have been more careful , what they did is as usual shameless stuff , we got 90K and thats why organizers are great.

I wish professional players forms a group where they can dictate FIDE i.e. screw FIDE.

Septimus's picture

I'm not Turkish you ---deleted--- I'm pretty sure you were singing a different tune during the Commonwealth games. Selective memory perhaps?

Please tell my why these players did not try something more diplomatic before using the flamethrower?

luzin's picture

please note that the prize fund, which seems to be the main argument of mr Makropoulos, one that is supposededly strong enough in order to dismiss all arguments about overcharging, is ridiculous: 10.000 euros for the World Champion? a joke!
and 650 euros for the eliminated players? this money will not even cover their expenses (hotels, tickets etc).

WGIFM's picture

Let us stop sexist remarks on the fact that it was a women's tournament, and all the complaints of the 17 players are based on the fact, that they are women.

Otherwise I think the whole story is about Turkish small-business moral. Probably the organizers should have paid much more attention to minor details, such as accomodation, catering, transportation etc. They did not, so the organization of the event was poor, regardless of the amount of money offered by the Turkish Chess Federation. I do not think any of the players directly accused the Federation by stealing their money, so the response does not make any sense.

What probably happened is that one of the organizer's friend/cousin/client/patron was the owner of the hotel.

Cheesus's picture

January 2012:

'With great surprise I saw you seized our headquarters.'

blah blah blardey blardy blah


Yours slavingly, know who.

Tony's picture

That FIDE is baffled by open letters is amazing to me.
The reason seems to be that complaints to any official in FIDE is met by reactions ranging from open hostility to just ignoring the players.
THe last time I recall a problem was acted upon was when the world Jr championship was an utter fiasco and the organizer was banned from doing further events.

The hotel was 4 star and good,.. not according to the players
If the hotel was 'good' then shouldnt the cost have been similar to the other 4 star hotels in the area?
I can understand that a minimum # of players need to participate and be in the hotel to gain special or free facilities for the tournament but the cost seems extreme.

FIDE dismisses the problems as a one day out of 25.
Would the players really have complained if this was the case?

If the organizers and FIDE want to resolve these sorts of issues in the future or currently then just have the organizers open their books from the tournament for review,....
I won't hold my breath

bhabatosh's picture

since FIDE is paid very well don't bother to complain but appreciate for
organizers contribution towards FIDE!!
Bottomline is they ( FIDE ) does not care about little things ( players discomfort , food , hotel charges , venue , noise ) as long as it receives its 20% share.
Well when you see 18 ( not 1 or 2 ) women signed the letter , rather than shamelessly defending/praising organizers they should have said we will investigate this or may be in future we will give more emphasis on this fundamental issue.

lami's picture

sick letter

Guillaume's picture

So, as long as the organizers paid FIDE it is fine for them to overcharge the players.

Of course it would have been unprecedented that FIDE support the players and provide a legitimate answer to their concern, but it is still surprising to see them endorse corruption so openly.

PP's picture

It is very unlikely that everything was okay if so many players complained. The letter just says everything that was in that letter is not true. Unbelievable! Shameless.

I really wonder how long FIDE can go on like this.

Marcel's picture

"It is very unlikely that everything was okay if so many players complained."

Don't you know that women always complain if not everything is ok?

Chris In St Maur's picture

Sexist rubbish.

Septimus's picture

Don't tell your woman that or she will have your head on a stake. :)

leigh's picture

18/64 complained. That means organizers did something wrong.
FIDE supports TCF.
FIDE's vice president is TCF's president.

The letter actually didn't answer the question: Why they paid more money than the other same level hotels'?

tix's picture

And just FYI the "FIDE" website is "POWERED" by the "TCF". FIDE is almost TCF.

philidor_position's picture

Wow, I did expect a defensive letter, but didn't expect such a shameless one.

Celso's picture

This FIDE's letter does not respond not one of the "girls" complains!
Girls- 2

Mac's picture

The Guy who wrote this letter is no Ladies man. No mention of 'sorry, regret, or apology' Clearly the Women were not so happy.

Septimus's picture

It was the ladies who decided to go John Rambo...what did they expect?

test's picture

Does anybody still bother to even read these letters that are coming out of FIDE?

Septimus's picture

"A letter with a different and positive attitude, which would first acknowledge the efforts up to now of the Turkish Chess Federation and then suggest possible improvements, would have been much more appreciated and not create such a negative image for our organisers and sponsors."

I agree with the above quote. This would have been the reasonable way to proceed.

Anastasia's picture

the reply completely misses the point the girls were trying to make. ah well who wants to explain...

Septimus's picture

Barry Goldwater said " To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable."

Publishing an "open letter" is a bit obnoxious given that the players did not even attempt to contact FIDE and complain in private. FIDE may be dead wrong here, but they sure do come out smelling like roses. Can't say the same for the players. Let us see who else would want to put up $$'s for anything and risk getting slammed in an "open letter" ???

Zeblakob's picture

I am suporting the ladies side. Wenck FIDE.

Celso's picture


Girls- 2

calvin amari's picture

FIDE's argument that, if the organizers were intending to make money they would have simply lowered the prize fund, is silly. At least here in the US, most major tournaments are designed to make a profit for the organizers, and you can bet that hotel kickbacks and other methods are used to achieve that end. The organizers here do not and could not substantiate a denial of their profit motive by asserting that the availability of prize money is proves that they were not seeking profit. That is one kind of tournament, the most common. Of course there is another type: a rare number of prestigious events here, like the US Championship, are not designed to make a profit.

A very significant number of participants of the 2010 Women’s World Championship obviously felt that, for an event that should have been the second type, they were treated as if it were the first type. Where there is smoke there is fire.

Septimus's picture

You must be out of your mind if you think anybody cares about chess in the US.

bhabatosh's picture

you are not well informed then. sorry to say.

Septimus's picture

Really? What planet are you on? Even high school ballgames get more press than chess.

Put down the crack pipe son.

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