The Tromsø Chess Olympiad organisers have written to FIDE on Wednesday to confirm their decision to exclude ten teams from the Chess Olympiad 2014, including the reigning women champion squad of Russia. The teams involved have missed the 1st June deadline to submit their team line-ups and will not be able to take part in the Olympiad.
“Teams that failed to submit their participation by the deadline of 1st June will not be accepted as participants of the Tromsø Chess Olympiad.”
“The decision is based on the Olympiad Regulations (OR) 3.6.1 and 3.7.1. The COT2014 does not acknowledge that FIDE has the right to make changes that are contrary to the OR just weeks before the Olympiad takes place.”
In an unusually sharp statement (PDF file here), the organizers are rejecting the authority of FIDE President given in The FIDE Olympiad Regulations 6.1.
Nine teams are in question, including the Russian Women’s team, winners of the previous two Olympiads 2010 and 2012.
The announcement has caused heated discussion on Twitter. Many commentators are of the opinion that the COT2014 decision is purely political as its members are closely associated with Garry Kasparov ticket, who is running against FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the upcoming elections.
There are also voices that believe this decision is a sort of “revenge” for FIDE’s refusal to accept the 100 EUR fee that COT2014 is trying to impose on each tournament and Congress participant. The fee was not included in the original bid and Olympiad contract and FIDE will have none of it.
Itar-Tass with list of countries with late registration
The Russian agency Itar-Tass published a preliminary list of countries that were excluded from the 2014 Olympiad. According to the agency “most of them supported the candidacy of Ilyumzhinov” See the full list of countries here.
FIDE President comments on the teams exclusion saga
In a conversation with Itar-Tass, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov stated, “The Chess Olympiad Organizing Committee forgot its true purpose – to provide equal opportunity to all players of the world chess community to attend the tournament.”
Israel Gelfer, Emil Sutovsky, and Ali Nihat Yazici
The organizer of the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad Ali Nihat Yazici commented, “In Istanbul we had similar problem with late registrations. We had warned again and again about the deadline. According to official procedure we had sent invitation to all federations in advance three times and we announced those invitations publicly. We announced late federations close to deadline and contacted them one by one, with some we had telephone communication. In the end a few teams were in trouble, but we helped them.”
The head of the ACP Emil Sutovsky believes the decision of the Organizing Committee can be politically biased and directed against FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. In an Itar-tass statement he said, “Alas, political preferences prevail, such decision causes astonishment and indignation.”
Israel Gelfer gave a video interview to Lennart Ootes during the Bergamo ACP Classic. See the full interview below (Tromso question from 2:05).
Russian Federation ready to take the decision to court
The Russian Chess Federation is sharply protesting and is ready to take the matter to the court. Here is the official statement of RCF.
“The Russian Chess Federation informs that in full accordance with paragraph 3.6.1 of the Rules of Chess Olympiad the RCF promptly sent a request for participation of male and female national teams – before April 1, 2014.
In April it was reported that the Norwegian side is having serious financial difficulties with the Chess Olympiad. The situation remained uncertain for a long time, it took the intervention of FIDE, and only on 5th June Organizing Committee officially announced that the competition will be held in Tromso as planned (1-14 August 2014).
In this situation, it was not possible to demand strict compliance with paragraph 3.7.1, under which the national federations are required to submit a detailed list of the players and members of the delegation until 1st June.
RCF draws attention to the fact that there are no penalties for failure to comply with paragraph 3.7.1. Moreover, the paragraph 3.7.2 (conveniently omitted from COT2014 statement) allows late registration of a player or member of the delegation – even 20 hours before the start; in this case with an extra charge of 100 euros per person.
On July 7, the COT2014 issued RCF with an invoice for the registration of 10 players, two attendants, the two team captains, two coaches and the head of delegation (of 17 people) in the amount of NOK 13,600. The Russian Chess Federation paid this sum.
In regard with the foregoing, the RCF claims that the organizing committee has no legal grounds to ban Russian women’s team to participate in the Chess Olympiad in Tromso.
RCF refers to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who in accordance with paragraph 6.1 of The FIDE Olympiad Regulations has the right to make the final decision on all matters relating to the Olympiad as a whole, and asks to allow Russian women’s team to participate in the event.
At the same time, the RCF is ready to appeal the COT2014 decision in court.”