Turkey renews bid European Women's Championship, Tbilisi wants to host too
Despite an ongoing conflict with the European Chess Union, just before the deadline the Turkish Chess Federation renewed their bid for hosting the 2011 European Individual Women's Championship, increasing the prize fund with 10,000 Euro. Meanwhile, ECU President Silvio Danailov is negotiating with another potential host city: Tbilisi, Georgia.
You might remember that at the end of December 2010 the Turkish Chess Federation withdrew from hosting the upcoming European Individual Women’s Chess Championships, due for March 2011. In an open letter posted on its website, the TCF expressed disappointment about the correspondence with the European Chess Union (ECU). The ECU, on their part, were not happy with the TCF's plans to charge the players extra fees.
During a board meeting on January 12th and 13th in Belgrade, ECU decided that an independent committee would re-evaluate previous bids, to be able to bring these bids for voting at the next ECU General Assembly. Other (new) bids would be welcome too.
Last week, during the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Antalya, the issue was discussed without Silvio Danailov being present. In the mean time it had become clear that March wasn't great timing for the European Championship, because suddenly the 6th and final FIDE Women's Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar had miraculously appeared on the calendar.
Ilyumzhinov writes to Danailov
After the FIDE Presidential Board meeting, President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov sent Silvio Danailov a letter (PDF here) in which he clearly takes side of the TCF President, and FIDE Vice President, Ali Nihat Yazici:
I would like to remind you that it was FIDE who requested the change of dates because of the clash with the Doha Women Grand Prix and, if you wish to allow late registrations, it is obvious that there are extra costs for the organisers and it is reasonable they should charge for these. Also, the players have been preparing to play in March and have cleared their calendars in order to do so.
For the first time in history, there have been offered prizes for the women’s championship, which are higher than the open championship and an agreement had been made for two years with these high prizes.
I am asking you to accept the original offer of the Turkish Chess Federation and hold the event in March. If there are important reasons that my request is not accepted, I would ask you to discuss other dates with Turkish Chess Federation and in any case FIDE PB expects the prize fund to be not less than the original offer of Turkish Chess Federation.
To this letter, Danailov, on behalf of the European Chess Union (ECU), sent a response letter (PDF here) in which he repeated that the Turkish Chess Federation had failed to fulfil two financial obligations: a 7,500 Euro deposit (to be paid before May 2010) and a 97,500 Euro bank guarantee (to be submitted six months before the tournament). This, in combination with the withdrawal of the Turkish Chess Federation, was enough reason for the ECU to restart the bidding process, argued Danailov:
Until now, a few of the potential organizers have shown a great interest for organizing this event. We believe it would create a bad precedent if we cancel the officially announced procedure.
As the President of the European Chess Union, I would like to assure you that those who send the best offer and can provide on time the necessary deposits and guarantee will be granted with the Championship organization.
In the meantime it has become clear that one of the other cities interested in hosting the event is Tbilisi, Georgia. According to Chess-News this was confirmed by the President of the Georgian Chess Federation, Gia Giorgadze. From the interview with Silvio Danailov which we published yesterday it became clear that Danailov recently flew to Tbilisi.
I’ve already met the city’s mayor, who’s heading the Organising Committee, and Georgia’s Minister of Sport and Young People. I’ve seen there’s great interest. In a few hours I’m meeting the general sponsor of the Championship, the President of the “Sokar” Company Mair Mamedov, Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation.
Danailov pointed out that the minimum prize fund in Tbilisi would be 100,000 euros. He was very positive about the venue as well:
The five-star Sheraton hotel meets world standards, and if Tbilisi wins the contract then I’ve got no doubt that the European Championship will be run to the highest standards.
Renewed Turkish bid
And then, one day before the deadline, in an angry letter to the ECU, the Turkish Chess Federation renewed their bid to host the event in Gaziantep. The TCF offers to organize the European Women Individual Rapid and Blitz Championships simultaneously, and adds 10,000 Euro to their original prize fund. In their bid the TCF offers higher individual prizes than the ones offered for the Men's European Individual Chess Championship, to be held in Aix-les-Bains (France) in March.
In the letter President Ali Nihat Yazici explains why the TCF hadn't fulfilled their financial obligations:
That is true, and technically we should have done so, but we were never invoiced by the ECU, nor asked for anything, and the ECU even emailed us on 8 December saying “we will not insist on these details“! (Appendix:ECU General Secretary e-mail ) As we know, the organizers in France for the European Individual Chess Championship are in a similar position. I am sure they have not been asked either. We do not accuse them, nor are we suggesting that the ECU now ask them for a deposit fee or bank guarantee. We just want to point out to you the apparent double standards of the ECU management, who earlier accused us of this. Also I should clarify here that ECU General Secretary and President were against to the late entry fees, which will occur in France.
Instead of wasting time on such double standards, the ECU would do better to pursue the missing entry fees for the 2009 European Youth in Fermo, Italy (local organizers, not the Italian Federation), the 20% of prize fund for the 2008 European Individual Chess Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and the 20% of prize fund from the same event in Budva, Montenegro 2009, all of which are still outstanding. Perhaps Mr Danailov could start by chasing up his own federation, considering that he is the newly elected president.
In an accompanying official letter (PDF here) written by Yazici, it becomes clear that the conflict is not over yet. First he demonstrates that the prize fund will be 140,000 Euro for the European Women Individual Chess Championship, 10,000 for the Rapid event and 10,000 for the Blitz event. Then, Yazici adds:
After you decide (we are sure you will find a new excuse not to give the event to Turkey) [Italics CV], we may decide dates from 24 July to 24 August in Gaziantep.
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