FIDE rules about which country's Federation you can play for

Nov 8, 2011, 4:35 PM |

I originally wrote and posted this in a thread of comments under the article "Chess Players and Adopted Countries"

The rules for changing countries in FIDE are on under the handbook, section C. category 05.

It starts out looking simple and fair, but it's really scandalous.

"1.3 A player qualifies to be registered under a Federation:"

"(a) if he or she is qualified by citizenship or naturalization in the country of that Federation"

My summary of (b): if a player has two years continuous residence in a country without being a citizen of it, or one year for players who haven't played in FIDE in five years. Either case requires examination and approval by the FIDE General Secretary.

"(c) if FIDE has approved his or her transfer."

Then there are fees for transfers:

"2.1 A player who wishes to change his Federation and register under a new Federation must apply through the new Federation to FIDE for a transfer. A notification fee of [EUR]250 is payable for all transfers."

250 Euros cost C$349 or $345 (as of the date of this post.)

If a player doesn't have two years residence to qualifiy for a Federation, a compensation fee must be paid from the old Federation to the new Federation, for any FM or 2300+ men/ WFM or 2100+ women. The fees go up on a chart from a starting level of 2000 Euros men/ 1000 Euros women, to 50,000 Euros for anyone over 2700 men/ 2600 women.

Plus your new Federation has to pay a transfer fee to FIDE, of 500 Euros for less than 13 months residence or 300 Euros for less than 24 months, whatever your rating. (That transfer fee increases on a scale up to 5000 Euros for a GM.)

Here are the kickers: Your period of residence as defined by FIDE begins the day after your notification of change of Federation is received. If you have any protest to FIDE about transfers, you have to pay a fee to FIDE of "_500" whatever that means. Since the online handbook is THE official handbook, that means you have to pay something that doesn't exist, an underscore denomination of currency, if you want to tell FIDE their policy doesn't make sense, or that it has a typo. (I looked in the HTML. It really has an underscore. It's not a character rendering problem.)

You could live in and be a citizen of a country all your life, but if you once played one game as a member of a Federation of a different country any number of years ago, you have to pay all of these fees to FIDE to change Federations if you want to play as a member of a Federation in your own country, or pay at least the 250 Euro notification fee and wait two years.

This is ridiculous. Why does there have to be a fee for changing which country you represent in a tournament or to which chess club you belong? It's just a matter of a word, a few characters written on a page. If it's true, then why charge someone huge fees and waiting periods to "allow" it?

I would never want to pay into such an incompetent system. It's almost enough to make me not want to be good at chess. At least I'll avoid ever playing in the USCF so that I won't have to pay an extra fee to play in the CFC.