RCF to take action, issues official position (update 3)

Russia women IstanbulThe news related to the exclusion of the nine teams from the Chess Olympiad 2014 continue coming. After the interview with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the official position of FIDE, the Russian Chess Federation also issues a statement.

Anatoly Kaprov also reacted to the case. We present you the English translation of the Itar-tass article below.

See the full text of the RCF statement and the Anatoly Karpov Itar-Tass article, followed by a statement by Andrey Filatov

Update: Download the letter of the Quinn Emanuel law firm to the Organizing committee regarding the case


A bid to deprive two-time Olympic champions of the right to defend their title

An unprecedented situation has arisen over participation by the Russian women’s chess team in the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso (Norway, 1–15 August).

On 16 July 2014, the Organising Committee of the World Chess Olympiad published an open letter to FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman announcing that the Organising Committee had decided to prohibit participation by teams that had registered their participation after 1 June 2014. The decision directly affects the Russian women’s chess team, winner of the last two Olympics. The team submitted its final application on 16 June 2014. If the decision of the Chess Olympiad Organising Committee remains unchanged, the Russian women’s team will not be able to take part in the Chess Olympiad.

The Russian Chess Federation (RCF) considers the Organising Committee decision to be unlawful and will challenge it in court.


According to the Regulations for the Chess Olympiad published on the official website (https://chess24.com/en/olympiad2014/official-info/rules-and-regulations) participants should be registered in two stages.
Stage one: four months ahead of the Olympiad, the countries confirm their application to participate. The Russian Chess Federation (hereinafter RCF) confirmed participation by its men’s and women’s teams in a timely manner, i.e., before the deadline set by the Organising Committee, that is, before 1 April 2014 (clause 3.6.1). According to Clause 3.6.1 of the Regulations, teams that have not applied before that deadline are not allowed to take part in the Olympiad.

Stage two: two months before the start of the Olympiad, the countries register the lineups of their teams. The Olympiad Organising Committee set the deadline of 1 June (clause 3.7.1). Under the regulations, failure to meet the deadline does not carry any sanctions other than a minor fine (clause 3.7.2).

Having set the application deadline for 1 June, only on 5 June 2014 did the Organising Committee publicly announce that the Olympiad would go ahead. Until that time, the Organising Committee representatives repeatedly expressed doubts in the press, claiming they had not received enough funds from the Norwegian Government.

The Russian men team was registered before 1 June 2014 and was accredited shortly afterwards.

Registration of the women team was complicated by the situation that arose because the Ukrainian chess woman grandmaster Kateryna Lagno had transferred from the Ukrainian Chess Federation (UCF) to the Russian Chess Federation (RCF). In accordance with the FIDE rules on transfer of players, Kateryna Lagno applied to transfer to another federation on 6 March 2014. The three-month period for Lagno’s transfer from the UCF to the RCF expired on 7 June on the condition that there were no written objections from the Ukrainian side. In this connection, on 4 June, the RCF asked the Olympiad Organising Committee of officially to extend the registration deadline, explaining that the delay was due to a valid reason: the RCF was waiting for Lagno’s transfer to be completed and intended to register the team in its full lineup. The request went unanswered.

On 16 June, it became clear that the transfer of Lagno from the UCF to the RCF would drag on indefinitely, so the RCF registered its incomplete women’s lineup in the system: Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalia Pogonina, Valentina Gunina, Olga Girya and three coaches: Sergei Rublevsky, Alexander Ryazantsev and Evgeniy Najer. The late registration did not meet with any objections on the part of the Organising Committee. Moreover, on 7 July 2014, the Norwegian organisers sent an invoice to the RCF for participation in the Olympiad by both teams: the men’s (5 players) and the women’s (5 players). The invoice was paid by the RSF in a timely manner.

On 12 July, after the decision of the FIDE Presidential Council, Kateryna Lagno was transferred to the Russian rating list and was able to join the Olympic team. On that same day, on 12 July 2014, the RCF sent FIDE and the Organising Committee a letter with the final lineup of the Russian women’s team including Kateryna Lagno. It should be noted that, under clause 3.7.2 of the Regulations for the Chess Olympiad, late notification of the team lineup is accepted by the Organising Committee up to 20 hours before the start of the tournament (i.e., effectively until 31 July 2014) and is punishable by a fine of 100 euros per person.

Even so, the question of the final accreditation of the Russian women’s team remained open until 16 July. In their private correspondence, FIDE and the Norwegian organisers referred to the Organising Committee meeting on 16 July, which was to give final confirmation of participation by the Russian women’s team. The RCF position on the issue remains unchanged: FIDE is the main body responsible for holding the Chess Olympiad. In addressing the President of FIDE the RCF proceeded in accordance with clause 6.1 of the Regulations for the Chess Olympiad, whereby the President of FIDE has the deciding vote in all the disputes concerning the Olympiad in general.

The RCF considers the Organising Committee decision published on 16 July on the official website of the Olympiad to be unlawful. It is illegitimate because the Regulations do not stipulate any sanctions for breach of clause 3.7.1 (registration before 1 June). It is also illegitimate because it ignores the position of FIDE expressed by its Vice President Mr Israel Gelfer (to allow the teams registered after 1 June 2014 to participate). It is important to add that the history of World Chess Olympiads (held since 1924) has seen many precedents of late registration by teams and not a single precedent of a team being banned from the Olympiad.

The RCF will uphold the right of the Russian women’s team to take part in the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso by all legitimate means, including an appeal to the Sports Arbitration Court in Lausanne and the courts of Norway and Switzerland.

P.S. Quinn Emanuel law firm will represent the interests of the Russian Chess Federation.

American law firm Quinn Emanuel will represent the interests of the Russian Chess Federation in connection with the excluding of the Russian women’s national team from participation in the Olympiad in Tromsø. Quinn Emanuel is the world’s biggest law firm dealing with court and arbitration proceedings. Company lawyers have already worked with 2 300 disputes and have won 88.4% of disputes.

Quinn Emanuel specialists have already examined the Olympiad Organizing Committee decision and are ready to maintain the Russian Chess Federation’s position that implies the decision is illegitimate.

12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov

12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov for Itar-tass, “Only the World Chess Federation (FIDE) can decide who will play, and who will not play at the Chess Olympiad!”

The 12th World Chess Champion has called the actions of the Olympiad Organising Committee in Norway ‘an outrage’.

Moscow, 17 July / Correspondent Artem Kuznetsov for ITAR-TASS/. FIDE, the International Chess Federation, may consider outright cancellation of the World Chess Olympiad, in response to the Organising Committee’s decision to prevent the Russian Women’s Team from competing. TASS learned of this announcement from the 12th World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov.

The decision to exclude the Russian Women’s Team from the competition – due to take place in the Norwegian town of Tromso on 1–14 August – was taken by the Organising Committee of the Chess Olympiad. The Committee explained that the Russian side had failed to lodge its competition application on time – submitting its application after the 1 June deadline. The Russian Chess Federation (RCF) has asserted that it lodged the application on time, and that the organisers have no business in taking such decisions.

“Permission for one team or another to take part in the Olympiad rests entirely with FIDE. And only FIDE is empowered to decide whether there has been any infringement of the submission rules. I remain certain that the Norwegians must admit all competitors to the event who have obtained the necessary permission from the World Chess Federation. They have no right to set their own rules in this matter” said Mr Karpov. “If the Organising Committee fails to carry out its job, then FIDE has the full right to take appropriate action in response – including the complete cancellation of the Olympiad”, he added.

“In any case, the Norwegians are supposed to have organised enough space for all possible competitors – actually they might well have had to expect as many as ten further teams. And now they turn round and say – that they lack the facilities, eh? When they accepted the hosting of the Olympiad, we didn’t hear a word about that. There has never been the slightest mention of controlling competitor numbers – because it’s always been hoped that there would be a good showing from ‘smaller’ countries too”, Mr Karpov confided to our correspondent.

As far as Mr Karpov is concerned, the organisers of the Olympiad were under obligation to prepare for the participation of teams from all 171 countries who are members of FIDE. Mr Karpov went on to say he believes that there is just one single reason why the organisers are refusing to permit the participation of not just the Russian Women’s Team, and of female teams from nine further countries too. The Norwegian organisers claim that these other nine teams similarly failed to send their applications in on time. But Mr Karpov is convinced it’s because they’ve not arranged enough hotel accommodation. “I believe it’s because they’ve simply failed to book enough hotel rooms”, Mr Karpov averred.

“But the reason doesn’t really matter. The organisers are going beyond their remit – they don’t have the authority to decide who participates, and who doesn’t. It’s a complete outrage!” Mr Karpov exclaimed.

The Russian Women’s Chess Team have won the Chess Olympiad twice, and in very recent years – 2010, and 2012. In all, the Russian Women’s Team has taken part in ten of these Chess tournaments – taking the Silver or Bronze medal on three occasions. The team has also won three ‘silvers’ at the World Team Championships, and has carried off the European Team Championship three times too.

Andrey Filatov

Andrey Filatov (photo by Russian Chess Federation)

President of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov on the Olympiad 2014 case

I appreciate the position of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on the issue of banning national teams from taking part in the Olympiad in Norway. I consider it to be a fair, honest and sportsmanlike decision. Nevertheless, the Russian Chess Federation intends to pursue a legal investigation into the illegitimate actions of the Organising Committee of the World Chess Olympiad. All the materials relevant to this case were handed over to a legal company yesterday. Our interests in the litigation are represented by the American Quinn Emanuel, a leading international company specialising in court and arbitration procedures. I am confident of the unequivocal outcome of the legal proceedings and deem it necessary to set up a precedent to prevent such situations from arising in the future. Chess players of any national team must feel secure, and chess officials must act in strict accordance with the law and refrain from arbitrary actions.

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