Olympic-Sized Problems
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 12:23AM
Dennis Monokroussos

The following item from today's issue of Chess Today may be of interest, and will give those who don't follow chess politics some inkling of the problems we face under the aegis of Iljumzhinov.

2010 Chess Olympiad
by GM Alex Baburin

A few days ago I decided not to play in the forthcoming chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansijsk. That will be only the second Olympiad I have missed since 1994. One of the reasons for my decision was the fact this Olympiad seems to be badly organised. Recently FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who backed the bid from Khanty-Mansijsk a few years ago, admitted that only one of the three promised hotels (which were to be built for this event) existed, and even that one was not ready. Student accommodation for chess teams is being mentioned.

That is not the only problem – the departure time of the charter flight from Munich (where the Irish team intends to travel from) has been changed at least twice, making it impossible to buy tickets to Munich. Some teams already bought their tickets, so they had to change them, which is never cheap.

Single rooms for captains were offered and then withdrawn. Those wishing to have a single room were asked to pay 1120 euro per room – and to pay in advance! Recently our reader Nick Faulks, who plays for Bermuda, sent us the following e-mail exchange:

To: ugra-chess@ugra-chess.ru
Cc: Mr. Israel Gelfer, FIDE Secretariat
Sent: Thu, 26 Aug 2010
Subject: Re: Bermuda team - accommodation

"Dear Mr. Bondarev,

I have received no reply to my email of 20th August, attached. I repeat that my federation will not authorise the release of funds for accommodation about which you cannot provide any details, and know that other federations feel the same way.

Bermuda has taken part in Olympiads since 1976, and has never before been forced to pay in advance for undescribed services. In the case of a room for the team captain, this has not even been an issue, since you are the first organisers, and I hope the last, who are failing to provide this as a matter of courtesy.

It is extremely disappointing that FIDE allows you to treat your guests in this way. But for the fact that several team members have already bought nonrefundable tickets I would be withdrawing our entry.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Faulks"

The reply he got from Israel Gelfer, member of the FIDE Presidential Board, tasked with making sure that the Olympiad organisers perform to their bid, was simply astonishing:

From: Mr. Israel Gelfer [mailto:[deleted]]
To: Nick Faulks; ugra-chess@ugrachess.ru
Cc: Nigel Freeman, FIDE Secretariat
Sent: Thu, 26 Aug 2010
Subject: Re: Bermuda team - accommodation

"Dear Mr. Faulks

Without going into the details of invoice you got let me just respond to your style of your mail:

I find your last message to the organizers and to Fide as disgraceful and unbearable and if I were the organizer I would simply disregard any mail from you from now on.

Personally, I would not care if people like you would withdraw from the olympiad.

Israel Gelfer"


I guess this how a top FIDE manager sees FIDE's slogan Gens Una Sumus (we are one family). Perhaps representatives of small chess national federations, which usually back Kirsan and his team in FIDE elections, should think again!

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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