Reports | April 29, 2009 22:04

Kutin vs. Yazici: not justice, but chaos prevails

Turkish Chess Federation vs European Chess UnionWe received a letter from Ali Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, concerning a recent arbitration in the court of Lausanne about an organizing dispute between the European Chess Union and the Turkish Chess Federation. Yazici's letter speaks of justice, but to us, it seems only chaos prevails. A down-to-earth perspective is badly needed.

To be honest, here at ChessVibes we had already completely forgotten about the case, which was filed back in October 2007. Reading articles with so many abbreviations also didn't help getting us into the case, which was basically about the rights of the Turkish Federation to hold three major tournaments in Turkey:

  • 2009 European Individual Chess Championship
  • 2009 European Club Cup
  • 2009 European Youth Championship

In August 2007, The European Chess Union (ECU) decided these events would be organized not by the Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) in Turkey, but in other countries. The 2009 European Individual Chess Championship was held in Montenegro (men) and Russia (wonen), the 2009 European Club Cup will be held in Struga, Lake Ochid, Former Republic of Yugoslavia and the 2009 European Youth Championship is scheduled to be held in Fermo, Italy. Now, the Lausanne court has apparently ruled that the results of these tournaments should be declared void. It's important to note that this includes norms, rating gains and losses and qualifications for the World Cup 2009. Here's Yazici's lengthy letter:


‘Law is just and justice prevails’

As is well known, from the open letter that was presented to the chess world on 12 October 2007, I invited Boris Kutin, the President of the European Chess Union (ECU) to resign. Together with the invitation, I also explained the reasons of the unfortunate obligation that TCF had to sue ECU in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I explained that from 24 August 2007 to 2 October 2007 we had tried to find a solution with the ECU but starting from the dear President, the majority of the ECU Board did not take our rights or reasons into consideration. This was not only the first time and not the last time that the ECU was violating our rights.

I also underlined that ECU lost objectivity in their decisions starting from 2006, since all the tournaments were being given to a group of countries from a specific geographical region, while ECU was behaving as if there was an unwritten convention that countries like Turkey, Greece and Georgia were not to be given any tournaments. As a leading national federation, the Turkish Chess Federation could not be silent against this double standard and therefore we opened a law suit against ECU.

After the letter had been published, on November 3, 2007, during the ECU General Assembly held in Crete, these issues were heavily debated during a long session and it was registered in the assembly that the decisions of the ECU were not in line with the bidding procedures and the rights of our Federation were not defended.

Our common friends tried to end the suit between the TCF and the ECU. FIDE Deputy President and the President of the Greek Chess Federation worked a lot to find a peaceful solution. I agreed with his views that these kind of problems should be resolved under the roof of FIDE through diplomacy, however the entirely consciously biased decisions against our Federation were not acceptable.

Mr.Kutin, continued his explicitly biased and hostile attitude during the ECU General Assembly in Dresden, 2008.

During the ?? Bank Atat?ºrk FIDE Women Grand Prix held between 5-20 March in ?stanbul, Mr.Makropoulos again tried to assist as a mediator between the two parties and showed enormous effort to find a compromise. The TCF accepted to conditionally drop the case, unwillingly I must add, but respecting the motto of Gens Una Sumus. However, ECU rejected these reconciliation efforts.

Actually, the inability to administer by the ECU Board was clear after the 2007 and 2008 ECU General Assemblies. ECU Board could not pass any of their propositions. Furthermore, during the 2007 Assembly the authority of the ECU Board, on deciding the organizers of annual events, was reduced by the GA and by 2008, except for the youth championships, all other events will be decided by the GA. This shows a de facto distrust of the ECU Board.

It is sure that law is just and justice prevails eventually. This was proven true once again.

After the last trial was held on 30 March 2009 in Lausanne, the court ruled for TCF with the decision taken on 22 April 2009 as their decision written in French (and our translation in English) is attached.

According to this judgement, the decisions of the ECU Board on 24 August 2007 for the three tournaments of 2009, were cancelled and became void. So those three decision given below are now void! Furthermore, it was decided that ECU should pay 6.593 CHF for legal costs to the Turkish Chess Federation as compensation. And also they will pay 3.686 CHF for the court expenses in total the amount will be 10.279 CHF.

I do not count the money we spent for the law suit, the money spent by ECU for travelling, accommodation and for lawyers in Lausanne. All those money were spent to the detriment of the chess world due to the illegal decision of ECU and their behavior of disregarding the views of one of their members. What were the decisions which were cancelled?

1. 2009 European Individual Chess Championship
2. The decision to hold 2009 European Club Cup in Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Struga.
3. The decision to hold 2009 European Youth Championship in Italy, Fermo.

What are the probable consequences?

1. With the court decision regarding the European Individual Chess Championship, the European Individual Championships held in Montenegro and Russia for men and women respectively are both void. Any of the players that participated and qualified from those events cannot play in the World Cup (that is the opinion after consulting lawyers). Those tournaments should be held in 2009 again! ECU is responsible for all the expenses of those events spent by players and organizers. FIDE, as the body controlling the World Championship cycle, should convene quickly and decide about it. It is an absolute mess now.

2. ECU decision to “legally” hold the European Club Cup 2009 is also cancelled. A new bid procedure should immediately start for the organization of this event. Until 2007, ECU Board was the deciding body about the incoming bids but now ECU General Assembly should convene as soon as possible with a new bidding procedure to decide for this event.

3. The ECU Board’s decision taken on 24 August 2007 to hold European Youth Championship also cannot be hold in this country without a new decision. Since the event is being planned to be held in August, the bidding process should restart immediately and a new organizer should be determined.

This is only the beginning. ECU President has created a real mess in the chess world, despite our and all other intermediaries’ suggestions. This issue is not about losing one or three events, but we will resume our struggle until the decisions are taken lawfully according to the procedures, since our rights were unlawfully violated.

We immediately invite all of the ECU Board starting with Mr.Boris Kutin to resign and believe that is the time to convene immediately an Extraordinary General Assembly with elections.

We are proposing following:

  • All the ECU board must resign. We know that some members of the board did their best to persuade the President but they could not change his rigid opinion. However, considering that the decision belongs to all board, we ask them all to resign.
  • Turkey is ready to organize an extraordinary ECU GA in Istanbul in order temporary to elect a new President and board members until the next ECU GA in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk
  • TCF is ready to do everything possible to help in the negotiation between all affected parties to find right solutions to avoid serious problems which we are facing today.

It is the time that ECU should be administered in the right hands.

It is time to stop this bad situation. European chess needs a much better leader than dear current president.

This board, which could not manage to find any sponsor, nor achieved any corporate success so far in great and important continent like Europe could only organize events thanks to the FIDE’s granted rights that enabled them to raise money by entrance fees, which is probably paid to the President and to the General Secretary.

I invite my honorable friends in the ECU Board to resign. Please resign and let’s convene the General Assembly.

Gens Una Sumus

Ali Nihat YAZICI
Turkish Chess Federation

Quite apart from the court's decision (in French, English translation by the Turks here), it seems to us that Yazici's letter misses the mark on several points. First of all, the focus of the letter is on the proposed resignation of Kutin and the rest of the ECU board. This request is made no less than four times, which to us suggests a personal element that this situation can really do without for now. Secondly, the suggestion that Turkey is willing to host the replacing tournaments is definitely nice-to-know, but no more than that: surely there are many more countries which would like to host such events. Third, the assertion that 'law is just and justice prevails' is opportunistic at best, not to say tasteless.

What's most important is not what happens to Kutin, the TCF or any other federation, but what happens to those who suffer most from all this - the players. Yazici is completely silent on this fact, but so is the ECU, whose website is a blank about the whole affair.

It's about time that shameless examples of chess politics like this come to an end. There seem to be no winners in this case - only losers. The result: total chaos and anarchy - a long way from justice indeed.

Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll


Henry's picture

"As a leading national federation, the Turkish Chess Federation could not be silent ..."

Leading national federation based on what? Average elo? Number of grandmasters?

Jean-Michel's picture

Notice that Mr. Yazici speaks of "probable consequences". Probable according to who? According to his wishful thinking and delusions of grandeur. There is I would say basically no chance that FIDE will cancel the results of the European Championships on the basis of this decision of the TAS. Is Ivanchuk suspended for two years? No. FIDE is not an organization run by the rule of law, for better or for worse, but by fiat. This decision will change nothing in the world of chess, apart from panicking a few people who take open letters from braggarts too seriously.

Thomas's picture

"the assertion that ‘law is just and justice prevails’ is opportunistic at best, not to say tasteless. "
I agree (with the whole sentence), and even more tasteless and arrogant is signing the letter with "Gens una sumus".

"What’s most important is ... what happens to those who suffer most from all this - the players. Yazici is completely silent on this fact, but so is the ECU."
Yazici is NOT silent - see item 1 of his "probable" [sic] consequences. Here I only agree with the last sentence: "It is an absolute mess now".
And as I wrote before, the European Chess Union presumably needs some time to read and interpret the court's motivation for the decision, and decide on further steps. Wholly plausible and nothing wrong with that in my opinion ... .

S's picture

I find the conclusion of this piece rather strange.

first of all; resignation of people who do their job badly is very important-that would be good for the players affected by their bad decisions. Why is it a problem to mention that?
Secondly; like the author says; it is nice to know (IF) they want to organize the events. So, what is the problem mentioning it then? The author seems to suggest that they should keep there mouth shut because there might be other countries/federations interested. The letter states that new bidding procedures should start. So no problem there.
Thirdly: The sentence that law and justice prevail is indeed a bit cocky-but since a court backed them on this it is by general standards the truth.

Once again, this looks like a journalist making a big deal out of something small just to fill the space. Crying about chess politics is easy. Giving solutions is not. Maybe mr Yazici is right. Some people should resign in order to solve the problem.
My conclusion; The letter is certainly not more "opportunistic and tasteless" than the above piece of journalism.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Jean Michel:
"There is I would say basically no chance that FIDE will cancel the results of the European Championships on the basis of this decision of the TAS."

I wouldn't be too sure. Isn't Yazici the FIDE vice-president? A very strange situation: FIDE seemed to accept qualifications from the European championships and now one of its dignitaries says the opposite. Mr. Yazici seems to have trouble wearing two different caps, as we say in Dutch.

So, mr. Yazici, to avoid conflicting loyalties, shouldn't you, eh... resign?

Thomas's picture

@S: Maybe I am missing something ... essential information such as the court's motivation and justification for the decision is not (yet) available, BUT ...

"resignation of people who do their job badly is very important"
I would agree, if I knew what exactly the ECU board and particularly Boris Kutin have done wrong.
Yet for the time being, I can only point out what others have done wrong - in my opinion and using my common sense:
The court (even if the decision is justified):
- delaying it for that long, until after the European championship
- and even if the decision is 'correct', wouldn't it be sufficient to impose financial compensation for the Turkish federation, plus a guarantee to organize the next such event?
Ali Yazici
- putting personal and/or (perceived) national interests above those of the players

And what did Arne Moll do wrong? Nothing IMO, he reported the facts and gave his own opinion.
In any case:
"a journalist making a big deal out of something small just to fill the space"
Ask the players involved if they consider this 'something small' :( . And do you mean to imply that the entire story is _not at all_ newsworthy?

And what's next? If most GM's decide to boycot the "European championship revival" (which I would understand), will we end up with 10 Turkish players qualifying for the World Cup, plus ten others rated 2200-2400??

sporty's picture

Arrogant behaviour by Yazici, he should be fined by the FIDE ethics commission.

Grigoriy's picture

Turkey must be expelled from European Chess Federation - the only way for our chess to get rid of these barbarians.

CAL|Daniel's picture

cancelling or voiding completed tournaments, victors, rating changes, norms and qualified candidates of World Cup should be illegal. it should definitely be discourage and any idiot/asshole trumpeting the notion of this precedent should be ostracized.

Arne Moll's picture

@S. We're not saying mr. Yazici is wrong - he has the court on his side, after all - but it's the triumphant tone and the extreme emphasis that he puts on Kutin's resignation (mentioning it time after time) instead of on the people who've been duped, that make the letter lose all credibility.

Michael Schwerteck's picture

Jean-Michel, this wasn't a decision of the TAS (or CAS in English), it was an ordinary civil court. Maybe this is indeed a matter for the TAS/CAS, though!

By the way, I'm really amazed by the decision, partly because of its inexplicable vagueness. Were the jugdes even aware that the European Championship has already taken place?

S's picture

@thomas; you can blame the court for the (late) decision.
But the ECU board made some wrong decisions according to this court. It is not strange that the suing party wants some repercussions after it won. Apart from the tone the letter is not that bad:

It tells us that the court has made a decision and what the decision is, it tells us about the implications and it suggests actions to be taken based on the ruling of the court -resignation of the ones responsible and starting new bidding procedures asap for certain events.
Seems like a good thing to me.

This letter is dismissed on account of three 'points":
that there is a "personal"element why people responsible for proven errors should resign,
that Turkey is willing to organize events and because of the tone of "justice prevails"is bad (the latter being part of argument no 1 btw).

I don't see those things as bad, and certainly not a reason to dismiss the letter as tasteless or opportunistic. Neither is there chaos-the letter informs us very clear of certain things and proposes to solve the remaining questions asap.

I would also like to emphasise this quote:
"TCF is ready to do everything possible to help in the negotiation between all affected parties to find right solutions to avoid serious broblems"

That includes players and federations, wouldn't you say?

Last but not least, this "personal element" (what does the writer have in mind with that anyway?)has not been proven at all. And it's a serious thing to say.

The letter is certainly newsworthy, but the negative commentary is in my opinion unjustified.

S's picture

@ Arne I see your point;
but if law would require that the ECH should be re-played I would like to get rid of the ones responsible too. It's very important that incompetent leaders should be removed and be taken accountable.

S's picture

"“TCF is ready to do everything possible to help in the negotiation between all affected parties to find right solutions to avoid serious broblems"

I think the turkish federation may be open to have the results of ECH remaining valid.
But I am no lawyer and maybe that is not possible at all because of this verdict?

Marlowe's picture

Yazici is such a phony!
1. In his letter/article he claims he has nothing personal with Kutin and to convince us he says he voted for doubling their pay at one point/with one occasion. So what? Isn't that just destroying his whole argument? Why would someone double the pay of some leaders who he claims they are basically incompetent? It just doesn't make any sense. Of course Yazici and Kutin hate each other and see this whole thing now as a chess game between themselves - hence the calls for 'resignation' and all. I don't understand why Yazici took such an arrogant position and in the same time a fake one - pretending he doesn't have anything personal with Kutin. Of course he has. And Kutin has with him. That's the egoes of chess related people clashing. It would have been much better for Yazici to actually just deliver for publication a brief announcement of the court's decision and that's all. Don't insult the readers and the chess community at large by such pompous, arrogant and extemely aggressive calls for resignations and reform. Turkey is not the only country in Europe/related to Europe that has potential to organize good quality events. Even a small city in Czech Republic or North Italy can do an equally impressive job and players would enjoy it - as it has been proven with some occasions.

2. Just because Yazici has some influence in FIDE and has a flow of cash in Turkey's chess that doesn't mean that everybody must bow down to him and resign because he calls for it. While this impetus for taking over leading roles in chess organization is often to be praised, I feel that he should work harder to help other federations reach a similar level if he is so concerned about the future of chess and not - egoistically - claiming all important events to be played in Turkey. No matter how great Turkey can be as a country (some parts of it), what's the point of having series of events in only one country. Is Istanbul the new Elista? Didn't chess players learn their lessons with so many years of Kirsan's "geopolitics"?

3. Yazici acts like he is an European by birth or his country has aided the European effort for centuries. Turkey is not even a full member of EU yet and the negotiations for its inclusion have nothing to do with a shared European-based culture or system of values: it's mainly a strategic/military/security issue - otherwise Turkey is a very different land/culture than the rest of Europe. Plus, Turks/Ottoman Empire has been assaulting Europe since the 14th century until the 19th when they were finally broken down. What gives the Turks the moral rights and civilizational attributes to actually decide on European matter (even chess matters at that)? They should be actually happy that their geographical position aids their case (economically and militarily) and they should be more humble when dealing with European forums. The one who's loudest in the room, is the weakest. Yazici only proves his need for further successes, for him and his country and not for the chess world at large or for the European chess community in particular. The calls for cancellations of the European championships just played proves such a point. He's ready to step over the interests of European chess players just to get his advantage materialized, Kutin expelled and a new EU board elected (probably with Yazici leading it or influencing it). That's the extent the Turkish effort to gain EU scoring-points has amounted to. Pathetic tone, pathetic letter and did a great thing by providing some journalistic criticism right there. Way to go, boys.

Thomas's picture

Jens, I agree with your first paragraph. Just a hypothetical question: What kind of discussion would have developed if Yaznici wasn't Turkish, but, say, French, British or Danish? Or - assuming he was German - would some people mention Hitler, Holocaust and World War II?? I would consider this (just as) completely absurd [not only because I am German myself].
But here the agreement basically ends:
"I fail to see that Yazici is using “phony” arguments ..."
Actually I do agree, but this is because I fail to see tangible arguments altogether.

"It is positive that you finally gain something from sueing these imcompetent chess organisations"
What is actually gained? Yaznici's name is more widely known, anything else? Or will Turkey get to organize all events they are bidding for in the future? Because whenever their bid is not successful, Yaznici goes to court ... .

"What happens to the scheduled an already in details arranged EU-Ch for clubs and juniors?"
Who knows? But at the limit, cancelling an event before it starts (or rather postponing it/moving it to another presently unknown venue) isn't worse than cancelling the European championship _after_ it has already been played. And in both cases, one cannot blame "the chess world", but again mostly Yaznici and the Swiss court.

Bottom line: I still don't approve Yaznici's course of actions, but it is irrelevant to me that he is Turkish, and whether Turkey should be considered part of Europe and should be allowed to join the EU. And for my personal opinion it is also at most marginally relevant that he was successful in court.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Thomas: To quote from Yazici´s letter: "...during the ECU General Assembly held in Crete, these issues were heavily debated during a long session and it was registered in the assembly that the decisions of the ECU were not in line with the bidding procedures and the rights of our Federation were not defended."
I can not see that as a "phony" argument, or a nontangible argument at all.
And what is gained from the Cours decision? Well, maybe Kutin will resign, sooner or later. But at least we have ganied presendence - you can not get away with anything as a chess organisation. And that is something, after all.
Maybe you dont approve of Yazici´s actions, but he has of course every right to bring the matter to court. And I suppose the court in Lausanne would have rejected his case if it was completely silly and irrelevant.
And I still hope that the EU Ch´s in Struga and Fermo will go on as scheduled. In fact I would like to know Yazici´s opinion on that.

Thomas's picture

@S: Your unconditional support for Ali Yazici is essentially based on the assumption that the Lausanne court decision is final and necessarily correct beyond any doubt.
Interesting to follow your choice of words ... : first you state "some wrong decisions _according to this court_" [that's still 'acceptable' for me], then you simply call it "proven [sic] errors". It is already worthwhile mentioning that an appeal against the decision is still possible .... .

On your other point:
"I think the turkish federation may be open to have the results of ECH remaining valid."
Then why-o-why does he [Yazici] or do they 'scream out' that loudly that the European Championship "hasn't taken place at all" (that's what it comes down to ...)? In other words, what would they expect from 'other affected parties' in return during the proposed 'negotiations' in order to give in on that point? Resignation of the entire ECU board, that's clear enough, anything else, anything more??

BTW, it is also interesting to check the earlier part of the story (Chessbase links to the earlier documents from October 2007). Here, Turkey [Yazici] complains that they don't get to organize major events, and at the same time proudly mentions how many such events they already organized !!?? Maybe ECU simply concluded that other countries/federations should also gget their turn? Similarly, Elista by now only gets to organize chess events if noone, really noone else is interested .... .

Thomas's picture

And one more thing: In the meantime the ECU has posted an initial reaction on their website (see link in the article above). I will cite only the final sentence (bold in the original source):

"The ECU Board would like to point out that the judgment has not yet become final and absolute."

A Barbarian Turk's picture

Calling a country and the people living in that country "barbarian" is a perfectly civilian and the most relevant way to pursue a "civilian" discussion. I am not a law expert but the decision is final but the way to lodge an appeal is open. By the way according to the earlier reports on chessbase, I think the procedural error was the claim of the Turkish federation.

Frits Fritschy's picture

First of all, Gregoriy, I'm amazed about your refreshing insights. Maybe you should call upon all the fighters in enlightened Western European countries like England, France, Sapin, The Netherlands or Germany, which of course never have strived for empire or are guilty of genocide, to convene and lay siege to the walls of Constantinople. (Or do you prefer Byzantium? Of course Constantine was just some Serbian upstart.) By the way, I hope you are not Greek, because what was that fag Alexander doing in India?
Secondly, but (sorry, Gregoriy) more importantly, I again (well, I am a personally bit disappointed that no one picks it up, but I would say that it is extremely relevant) want to stress that mr. Yazici is not just president of the Turkish Chess Federation but also vice president of FIDE.
I would like to know what exactly is going on here. Is this a personal thing between mr. Yazici and mr. Kutin? Has the ECU stepped out of (FIDE) line? Is mr. Yazici speaking on behalf of the TCF or the FIDE, or maybe even the chess players concerned, when he says: "ECU is responsible for all the expenses of those events spent by players and organizers"? Finally, was this law suit supported by FIDE? Is mr. Yazici representing a FIDE point of view here? If not, what is the FIDE point of view on the court verdict, and on the role of its vice president?
To my surprise, the Association of Chess Professional hasn't reacted yet. View the site, it looks that they are more concerned about how much lipstick a woman can eat, but maybe they are still thinking it over.

Jean-Michel's picture

@ Michael: Thanks for clearing that up. I thought the TAS would be the only court with any kind of jurisdiction in a case like that, but I shouldn't have assumed without checking.

@ Frits: Oops, well if My Yacizi is indeed part of the FIDE inner circle, then all bets are off. Organisations that are run by fiat delight in draping themselves in the law when it happens to be on their side, while throwing it into the dustbin on other occasions. Thanks for that little nugget of information I had missed.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

This is great! Finally an international chess organisation gets a verdict for not following decisions of their General Assemblies, irregularities in their bidding procedures and favouritism towards special nations. Now we can not wait to see someone sueing FIDE.
But I do not hope that the courts verdict, that the three by Yaciki mentioned "decisions" are void. means that these tournaments, some scheduled in the near future and already arranged in detail, will be cancelled. Personally I know players who are looking forward to them and already have arranged travels aso..The world can not be that crazy.
But of course Kutin should resign. As Kirsan should have done a long time ago.

Arne Moll's picture

Guys, let's please not go into a discussion of Europe vs. Asia - we really don't live in the Bronze Age anymore, do we?

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Please stop it! How did this discussion got out of hand in this way? I would not say some of you are using racistic arguments, but you do argue culturalisticly, which is almost the same nowadays.
I fail to see that Yazici is using "phony" arguments, but you could say he is using an "arrogant" tone - almost as arrogant as many "western" politicians acting on these so called "western values", what ever they may be. So I guess many of you have a busy time nowadays, if you overfocus on the form in stead of the content of political arguments.
The bottom line to me in this matter: It is positive that you finally gain something from sueing these imcompetent chess organisations and organisers.
And I would like to add that it had made me very glad to see the almost explosive growth of chess culture in Turkey in the last decade. And I guess Yazici can hold some of the honour for that.
And then an important, concrete question: What happens to the scheduled an already in details arranged EU-Ch for clubs and juniors? Personally I know players who have already made arrangements for their participations. I can not believe the chess world is that crazy that these events will be cancelled? Or?

Marlowe's picture

Sulo: The European system/values was brought up because of Yazici's arrogant tone and phony arguments. If you are not an European but you are an Asian, you're welcome in Europe and have all the liberty in the world to do whatever you feel like doing, no problem there, so you're wrong on that. My argument was that a country that doesn't have full EU status yet, has no legal rights to affect or interfere in European related matters or EU institutions, "European" meant as related to the welfare of ALL European members. Other countries worked hard to achieve the EU status and enjoy the priviliges. I fail to see why Turkey should enjoy them before being awarded with the status of a EU full member.
And don't kid yourself: Yazici's position in Turkey has very much to do with EU-intergration politics itself - the government supports chess and his schemes there also because it gives well on the application/bid file. So that's just another phony approach that politics or EU-bid has nothing to do with it. Get real, man.
As for your racism accusation: apparently all EU members are racist to you because they formed an union to protect their interests and regional welfare? I got nothing against Turkish as a nation. I got some disgust for some Turkish self-elevated chess politicians who use Yazici's tone and self-promotion but hide under the mantle of "common good". That's despicable and it's typical political bullshit. My reaction would have been just the same if some other EU country chess politician would have raised the matter in the same way.
And one piece of advice....drop the "friend" segment from your message...makes you sound so much like...Yazici -- "I ask my dear friends to resign"....Peace.

Sulo's picture

Marlowe: I haven't read such a pathetic piece of comment like yours in months; I would like to congratulate you for that. You made my day! Honestly!
So, according to your European values, if you are Asian (whatever it means), even if you have been treated unfairly, shut up and do not raise your voice. Remember my racist friend! The verdict has been made by a court just in the very middle of Europe, not by an institution a few hundred meters away from Yazici's home... Why is it always the case that whenever Turkey's name is mentioned, even in the most unrelated issues, its EU bid is brought up to the discussion? I guess I know the answer... But, anyway...

Thomas's picture

I just posted something similar at Dailydirt, but it also fits into the discussion here: It is, in my opinion, completely irrelevant for this discussion whether Turkey is, should be or should become part of Europe based on geographic, political, economic, cultural, historical ... considerations. It is even more irrelevant whether Turkey wants to, should or shouldn't, will or won't join the European Union - be it only because some "100% European" countries (e.g. Norway and Switzerland) are not part of the EU [their own choice as far as I know].

Stating what should be obvious: The whole issue is about chess. In chess and other sports, Turkey is "officially" part of Europe, just like several other countries: all ex-Soviet Caucasian countries, Russia (including all of Siberia), even Israel. Like it or not, understand it or not, it is a simple fact.

This stands loose from my personal opinion about Yazici's letter and the court decision which I have given before.

@ Jens Kristiansen: Admittedly I don't have time to read and understand the intricacies of the K-factor discussion (it isn't first on my list). But I don't see how/why this is AT ALL relevant to the present discussion. And I certainly hope that this other issue will not be decided in court .... .

Frits Fritschy's picture

I share your views that Yazici has done a lot to promote Turkish chess and that it's basically a good thing that he brings his ambition to a broader forum, but that it seems he has lost control of his actions.
But your third point contaminates the discussion. What the hell is a "shared European-based culture or system of values"? That all those little countries knocked each others head in for the last 1600 years and don't want outsiders to mix in? I doubt if I share much of your culture or system of values.

Marlowe's picture

You may have a point. Cultural arguments have no place in the matter perhaps. But I feel that a European organization should be made of European countries not Asian countries like Turkey. That's all.
Of course, in my view, part of the blame for Turkey's vague status in this respect (European or Asian country?!) is EU forums themselves (some of the members wanting to treat Turkey as an European entity for their security fears vis-a-vis the arab world).
What I meant by sistem of values and culture is the fact that Western/Central (and in a much lesser degree even parts of Eastern) Europe has a very different mentality in doing and organizing things, while the Balkan/Turkish mentality is enormously different by comparison. Thus as a citizen of EU, I'd like the ECU GAs and meetings to be kept in Madrid, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Rome, Berlin...damn, even Sofia or Bucharest, but not in Istanbul or Tbilisi. These countries are NOT European. They should form their own regional chess unions or whatever they feel like having and stay away from trying to hijack and decide matters for ALL Europeans. And while at it, to pretend they are doing it not because of personal interests or national agendas, but because for the sake of higher chess standards for all chess players and similar bullshit. Enough propaganda crap - stick to being real and you don't have to beg someone to resign for years - you'll be elected for your own merits and for your own struggle if the members of that organization really want it or they feel you have a solid contribution to the common [not only Turkish] good. That's the whole point.

Thomas's picture

Once again .... : Let's separate Yazici's ego trip from wider (non-chessic) issues such as whether Turkey should join the EU, or ancient history as the Ottoman Empire. BTW, Yazici claims that other countries (Greece and Georgia) were also discriminated.
@Jens Kristiansen: What exactly are you referring to in your first sentence? In my opinion, Yazici is not necessarily right just because he makes a lot of noise, uses strong language and is backed up by an 'obscure' Swiss court. Disclaimer: my last statement is not anti-Swiss, I only wonder why this particular court gets to decide on issues affecting all of Europe ... .

Simmillion's picture

Being a noob in chesspolitics, I can only say that if any board which gets such a verdict against it should resign immdiately on pragmatic grounds

No way a longrunning dispute like this, obviousely terribly misjudged -pun intended- by this board, is going to be same guys responsable for it. Once your in the courthouse all hope is lost.

Simmillion's picture

- if
+ solved by

rivaldo's picture

cool show!
I vote for more law suits. especially cool are binding decisions, that have exponential effects, such as declaring tournament results void, which influence future tourneys.
also personal conflicts fought out over the net are nice. what is missing is a sexy female official, who spices it up a bit.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Thomas: Read the very recent ChessVibes-article on the K-factor. And there are other stories as well...

me's picture

Kutin should resign.
He takes money from the national federations with all kind of tricks and he gambles too much in the casino.'s picture

Kutin vs. Yazici - Chessvibes Take...

Since my fellow blogger Arne Moll from Chessvibes has a somewhat differing opinion of the Yazici open letter I thought I'd better bridge the gap to help others make sense of what is going on. Let me bullet this if I can:

1. Yazici and the Turkish F...

Marlowe's picture

Jens: The man who called for cancellations of these events and the recently played European Men's and Womens's is no one other by Yazici himself. So it is not the chess world who demands their cancellations and it's not the chess world who has symptoms of insanity. The responsability falls on the guy who asked for these really unreasonable solution and on a idiotic court who failed to understand what that means to the chess players who have absolutely no fault for chess politicians's incompetence, feuds and rivalries. Yet, they get punished, stripped off medals. Because Yazici won in court and he asked for it.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Marlowe: OK, I give in on that. In Yazici´s answer to the rethoric question: "What are the probable consequences?", he is rather harsh, not to say extreme, and his solutions are not only unreasonable, but also completely unrealistic. It seems that he is the kind of guy who gets carried away by his succeses, which in this case maybe came unexpectedly to him.
But I still believe he has a just cause, and at least his letter, how ever exaggerated in its proposals, shows us what kind of mess the chess world can end up in, if these matters are not tightened up.
And NOW it is high time that some clever chess journalist - maybe from Chess-Vibes? - asks Yazici if he really means that all the mentioned chesstournaments should be cancelled and/or their results made void. And you may start by congratulating him for the victory at court.

Marlowe's picture

Thanks, Jens.
Someone should ask him indeed.
Will be curious to see his answers because as a leading chess federation/chess official he has the responsability to be...well...reasonable and truly in the benefit of chess players. Something that his letter was not. His letter to the public was like a kid's revenge not - 'I told you I am gonna get ya!' - type and his radical demands are just part of a strategy to force/intimidate the ECU leadership. Him and TCF evidently try to extract as much as he, as soon as he can from the court's first ruling. Personally, I believe even himself doesn't really believe in the practicality of some of those insane demands (except for Kutin's resignation). He threw them out there to highlight the case, rally support and show the issue is dead serious. Also if the ECU leaders chicken out from the fight, he got all what he asked for. But that's exactly why his letter was disturbing: because he plays politics wihout any consideration for chess players involved. A proper high level servant of our chess bodies would have started by apologizing for the emotional discomfort the whole episode tends to create to the European players involved in the recent events. My feeling is just that TCF prestige, money, FIDE and personal sagas or rivalry eclipse his humanity. He is just another FIDE official - what do we except really. That's the standard of those who got elected.

Marlowe's picture

@A Barbarian Turk: You are a defender of the status-quo. "It is coming down to finding support for chess". That's FIDE policy who got us where we are in the first place. The elected officials were elected to FIND support for chess. They failed? Why are they still in office then? Because after they keep failing, they strengthened their own base/country by providing the perfect excuse: oh...we couldn't find sponsors elsewhere...let's do it in our country (Georgia, Turkey, Kalmykia)...oh, the conditions are bad elsewhere...we can provide better. etc. Those people in FIDE who hold an office and are responsible for finding sponsors should have resigned long ago. According to your logic: let's have then ALL chess tournaments to Turkey, Georgia and Elista because it's cheaper and there is support for chess there! Great job. Super exciting and super strong effort for keeping up the standards of this game's image.

@ laywer: "colder place, colder dates"...please....what that has to do with anything? As long as there is a heater, proper prizes, excellent hotel conditions, decent organizatoric effort chess players don't care about that. You sound like one of those chess bidding officials with a hotter country and with an interest to have an event between certain dates.

The heart of the matter is that "cheaper places" won't get you the needed exposure to highlight the game's image and better it. A leading event organized in the stepes of Kalmykia or in the same old, same old Turkish resort is not the same with the same event organized in New York, Paris, London, Berlin etc. The problem is that FIDE is complacent because they have an express interest in organizing events exactly in those "cheaper places". They just hide it behind the formula "we can't find sponsors in other places". When that is true, there's a good reason why sponsors won't hand it hundreds of thousand of $ to organizers who can't fullfil their contractual terms and have a lousy reputation!

Sulo's picture

As a person who is originally from Turkey but right now lives in the US, I just want to assure you that 99.9% of the Turkish population would not recognize Yazici if they saw him walking in the street (including the Prime Minister, I BET), and even that population would not know that Turkey has a Chess Federation... It is so much a good feeling that Turkey is taking very positive steps in spreading the chess ambition to nation-wide (via local and global organizations) but it is still in a very narrow circle that chess is regularly and ambitiously played, and probably it will take such a long time for a considerable portion of the whole population to maintain a certain interest on chess... If you guys still believe that 'barbarians' should stay away from chess, I don't have much to say. But please do not bring up that 'EU accession' card here and there whenever Turkey's name is mentioned because it is totally unrelated... The citizens of, say, the Netherlands, Austria or Sweden will not vote for Turkey when the EU accession comes to the decision point because its Chess federation will have organized so many events (I bet Marlowe is right now saying to himself "Of course we will not for any reason!"); that is such a ridiculous way of thinking (and arguing)! Lastly, I just want to remind you of the fact that the UEFA Cup Final will be hosted in Istanbul in three weeks (most likely between Hamburger (Germany) vs. Shaktar Donetsk (Ukraine)) as the Champions League Final was done in 2005 (between Liverpool vs. AC Milan), and Istanbul will be the European Capital of Culture in 2010 (I am sorry, Marlowe; but your European fellows made the decision and assigned it to Istanbul!). Again and again: Thinking that Turkey will change European citizens' minds about its EU accession by means of organizing global chess events is silly, indeed quite silly (And according to me, nothing would change European citizens as long as they consider any other culture inferior to their own one)... Please do not mix the court's decision (which I find very confusing) with the EU politics or anything!

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Thomas, you have done a fine job, thanks. Even I, at my advanced age, believe I have grown wiser from this discussion, and that is something, after all :).
Still, there is this verdict from the court in Lausanne. I have in no way a, so to say, religious belief that all court decisions are correct, but I suppose you can not deem this court as imcompetent.
So far, we (or at least I) only know the content of the verdict from Yazici´s letter, which says something about "decisions" of ECU being " cancelled" . Yazici draws some rather drastic conclusions from that, but what does it actually mean?
I am a complete layman in this field, but it seems that we have some jurisdic competence around in this discussion. to help us. By the way, is it possible to get to see the actual wordings of the verdict?
I think this has so far been a very constructive discussion - (well, OK, most of it :). But maybe we can bring it even further, mainly to the benefit of chess, but also to enlighten usd all.

Arne Moll's picture

@Chessvine: Where we disagree is that you seem to think things will look brighter in the future, whereas I don't see:

1. why a board should immediately resign if it loses one court case (does anyone who loses a court case immediately resign their job?)
2. why a ECU board resignation would bring about better people (are there good candidates?);
3. why it would be good to have these tournaments all organized in the same country (for one, we'll get the same fotoshoots thrice!)
4. why it's a good thing in general that some court can rule on decisions that affect so many chess players without their having a say in it.

So you see, even though I don't deny the current ruling of the Lausanne court, I am just much more pessimistic.

Thomas's picture

I tried to do some ground-truthing whether Yazici's claim that Turkey (and Greece) were neglected when it comes to organizing tournaments, here are the "surprising" results [source: Wikipedia for individual championships, for the European Club Cup]. I start from 2000 for a total of 40 tournaments (taking men's and women's championships separately, while they were sometimes held together at the same location).

European Chess Championships (men and women): Turkey 5*, Germany 3*, Bulgaria 2*, Poland 2* [plus various countries organizing one tournament]

European Youth Championships: maybe a bit strange that Montenegro (formerly as part of Serbia) got to organize 4 events, but Turkey also had 1, and Greece 2

European Club Cup: 4* Greece, 2* Turkey

So altogether Turkey had 8 events out of 40, Greece had 6. And in terms of travel expenses and logistics it is not that irrelevant that both countries are at the periphery of Europe - here I would make the same remark if numerous events were organized in Portugal or (Northern) Norway ... .

True, Yaznici refers to the period since 2006 - but in terms of equal justice to all potential organizing countries the longer-term context also matters!? Likewise, Istanbul got to organize the Chess Olympiad in 2000 and again in 2012 - also no (or positive) discrimination!?

Thomas's picture

First sentence should of course read: "whether Yaznici's claim ... is justified"

lawyer's picture

You are complainig about Yazici, but according to the decision, it's ECU's fault, not the TCF who defended its rights, that there is this mess now. ECU board violates the rules and should resign. The rumours are, there is a group of people, that let all the profit-making tournaments organize in the Balkan/Greece, noone else has a chance. Last year the ECC should be on the Crete in the beginning of October. After winnning the bid, it was transfered to colder Thessaloniki and colder date (middle of October). So conditions were much worse, prices very high - who stays out of the official expensive hotels (and the season is usually over!) pays €100 of compensation to the organizers etc... It''s really a time for change.

Thomas's picture

Now we are (finally) coming to essential aspects. Chessbase has a link to the pdf of Yaznici's initial open letter (referred to in his current press release) - 8 pages full of arrogant [or aggressive] language, my attempt to summarize why TCF 'unfortunately had to sue FIDE':

1) Yes, they bidded for all three events, somehow expecting they would get all of them. At the very least, IMO they should have clarified that this concerns an "all-or-nothing package deal". As lawyer said, he has no problem with the rule "no more than one tournament in one country", but (in line with Yaznici) states that it's "illegal" if it is not announced beforehand. Yet I would say ECU would lose 'reasonable flexibility' if they make such a prior announcement. Imagine one country had clearly the strongest bid for several events - in that situation it would still out of necessity lose out in one (or two) cases. Because otherwise a competitor would clearly have a valid argument to challenge the decision in court ... .
I would even argue that it makes sense to give the more profitable events to 'poorer' federations - provided they come up with a comparably strong bid. Admittedly, a possible counterargument would be "Why should the TCF be punished for its own success?".

2) They did not get to see the other competing bids: "Also we do not understand why the bids presented in Novi Sad are hidden. This is against the
basic logic of public tenders in Europe."
I was marginally involved (sort of freelance assistance) in some commercial European tenders [no need to give details]. We never got to see the competing bids - as they contain sensitive information which the potential customer wants to/needs to know, but which you do not want to share with your competitors. So at least in a general sense, Yaznici's statement is simply wrong.
BTW, at one occasion we were informally told that the contract would probably go to our competitor, because we had been successful several times before in the same country. This was (wisely) not mentioned in the subsequent decision letter, as it is an argument which may not hold in court .... still in my opinion it makes at least a bit of sense.

lawyer's picture

Thomas - If the TCF knew it beforehand, they could bid (and with even better conditions) only the tournament they wanted the most. But as I see it, they sent more bids, the ECU board had chosen them one (perhaps the least profitable?) and the other devided among its friends. I still can imagine the one country=one tournament rule if there is enough interest to organize these events elsewhere - its better for wider chess promotion worldwide.

Marlowe - the problem are the proper prizes and the bidding process. After winnig the bid, they changed the conditions (date and place) to worse ones. The original conditions could be set only to be able to win the bid (argument - the warm sea will lure more strong players and teams atc.). The prizes are far from proper if its after the season (sea is cold, there are only chess-players remaining). I think it's not usual in other sports, that staying out of the official hotel is fined with 100€. If such conditions are confirmed by ECU board, I think it's not for the good of the players and chess, but only for the profits of the organizers.

A Barbarian Turk's picture

Jens Kristiansen: It is NOT being unsuccessful it is about suing unlawful process of bidding. The decisions were claimed to be taken unlawfully.
I think you should not blame Yaz?c? or the Swiss court but rather ECU and Kutin who give unlawful decisions which was already approved by the court.
It is not a matter of Yazici promoting himself and Turkey but rather protecting Turkey from unlawful actions of ECU. Why are in defence of being unlawful? Isn't not allowing unlawful actions part of the "European culture"??

Marlowe: It is quite lame to think that promoting chess under the government support is part of influencing European citizen's mind by organizing global chess events, since chess world is very microscopic portion and the problem is not about being modern or having modern practices but rather cultural so I agree with Sulo. EU politics and Turkey is entirely a different stuff and you should definitely know more about Turkey the conditions and agenda rapidly change in the country.

Thomas: " And in terms of travel expenses and logistics it is not that irrelevant that both countries are at the periphery of Europe - here I would make the same remark if numerous events were organized in Portugal or (Northern) Norway … ."

Generally in terms of living conditions Greece and Turkey are relatively cheaper than most countries around Europe so it is less costly to participate a tournament in Turkey or Greece . Yes, Turkey organized a lot of international tournaments but that is only because they are successfuly organized. Therefore, I do not see any problem in recurrently organizing events around Turkey and Turkey's agressive apprach to organize chess tournaments.

Please note that in the past years Greece and Turkey are generally more active in bidding procedures than the countries around western Europe because these two countries can find more sponsors for chess to organize middle or large scale international tournaments. Or you can say Russia and Elista also can find more support since FIDE President is the head of the state in Kalymkia and the president of the Russian Chess Federation is the vice prime minister! It is coming down to finding support for chess!


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