Banned Olympiad Teams Get Support (Update: They Can Play)

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 7/20/14, 7:49 AM.

Breaking Update: Olympiad organizers released a statement Sunday saying that they excluded teams WILL be allowed to play. They do not agree that the FIDE President has the right to invoke the broad powers of rule 6.1, but they nonetheless appreciated his statements that the Olympiad will remain in Tromsø, Norway.

The Russian Chess Federation, the FIDE President, and prominent chess players are all calling for the reinstatement of teams that are currently being barred from next month's Norway Olympiad due to late registration.

As previously reported, the most prominent team that risks not competing is the defending champion Russian women's team.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov called on the Olympiad organizers to allow the nine affected teams to play. In a letter posted on the FIDE web site (PDF), he invoked the broad rule 6.1, which gives him nearly unfettered domain over the entire event.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov supporting the nine banned teams (photo courtesy campaign site)

The rule reads: "The FIDE President represents the interests of FIDE and is empowered to take the final decision on all questions relating to the Olympiad as a whole."

Ilyumzhinov's letter also cites some evidence that aids the case for Russian reinstatement. Neither party is contesting that the first April 1 deadline was met, in which federations simply have to inform their intention to attend. At issue is the June 1 deadline, in which teams must submit a list of players.

The president's letter says that on July 7, the Russian Chess Federation was billed for the cost of two teams, a men's and women's squad, which suggests that the organizers anticipated both competing. That invoice was paid on July 11, which was before the organizers posted the news on their web site about disallowing teams. (Ilyumzhinov does not deny that the reason for late registration was GM Kateryna Lagno's transfer from Ukraine to Russia.)

GM Kateryna Lagno (photo courtesy Anastasia Karlovich, 2013 Women's World Team Championship)

"It is obvious that the issue had been resolved many days ago, even by accounting means, and it is re-opened now for political means," Ilyumzhinov wrote. He goes on to claim that when it comes to missed deadlines, the president decides who competes, not the organizers.

At issue is also rule 3.2, which says that player changes are allowed up to 20 hours before the event begins, with a 100 Euro penalty per name change. In Ilyumzhinov's letter, he offers to pay all the 100 Euro fees for every federation that is affected.

The Russian men's team is not affected, but the question remains why the Russian women were not signed up with a list of five players that could then be altered after Lagno's transfer.

The letter claims that FIDE Presidential Candidate Garry Kasparov played a part in allowing the wrong delegations to sign up from Afghanistan and Gabon. As reported on Friday, those two countries have had a contentious fight to choose a delegate.

On his campaign site, Kasparov called invocation of rule 6.1 the "nuclear option" and drew a parallel to past FIDE President Florencio Campomanes using the same broad powers to end his first match with Anatoly Karpov. He also insisted he has nothing to gain from barring federations from competing.

GM Garry Kasparov visiting Jamaica (photo courtesy campaign site)

Ilyumzhinov gave the Olympiad organizers a deadline of Monday, July 21 at 11 am CET to confirm that the teams in limbo can compete and that all players will receive visas. The organizers are in receipt of that letter and promised no comments would be made until the deadline.

In a recent interview, the president rebuffed rumors that the Olympiad would be moved.

Meanwhile, the Russian Chess Federation itself released this explanatory letter, also insisting that the invoice was paid for 17 members to attend (10 players plus other coaches and officials). The total amount was 13,600 "Crowns" (Kroner), or about $2,200 USD.

"Due to the above RCF claims that the organizing committee has no legal grounds to ban Russian women's team to participate in the Olympiad in Tromso," the RCF said in its letter.

Meanwhile, one voice of moderation is IM David Levy, participant in six Olympiads for Scotland. In an emotional letter, he called on both sides to find a way to resolve differences to ensure the hosting of "the biggest, and for many players the most important and the most enjoyable of all Chess competitions."

IM David Levy (photo: Wikipedia)

He continued: "Gens una sumus. We are one family. Please do not forget, dear members of the 'Tromso Olympiad 2014' Organizing Committee, that Gens una sumus is the basis on which FIDE was founded, and on which FIDE should be allowed to operate."

Levy called FIDE the "father" of the event for creating it and shepherding its existence since the 1920s. The organizers are the "mother" of the event, "hoping to give birth to it on August 1."

"Sometimes, as is the case this year, parents squabble...Please dissolve the current squabble so that your child, the 2014 Chess Olympiad, is born healthy in two weeks time." 

8928 reads 15 comments
3 votes


  • 2 years ago


    Also this instance showed how Kasparov wouldn't be fit for FIDE presidency. He was supporting banning of these teams, and the organizers, just for his own selfish political motivations, instead of benefitting chess.

    It is really terrible that there is no worth challenger to the actual FIDE president, apart a clown who could only play chess, and fail all the rest!

  • 2 years ago

    I_Am_Second has spoken again.

  • 2 years ago


    Kirzan "invoked the broad rule 6.1, which gives him nearly unfettered domain over the entire event."

    Whatever the rules, he can ignore them.What a rule. But is it just like the dictator of Kalmykia rules his country.

    Kasparov may not be the best of humans, but no way he can be worse than this guy.


    FIDE has zero tolerance for arriving a second or five too late to the game, so their double standard is didgusting.

  • 2 years ago


    Number 3 below makes the acceptance.

    Tromsø 21.7.2014

    Dear Mr. President,


    3. However, COT2014 takes a positive attitude to the FIDE President’s request out of consideration for the players, federations and good sportsmanship. Consequently, COT2014 accepts that the federations that have not registered teams by the deadline of June 1, 2014, are hereby permitted to register their respective teams, as they would have been on June 1.


    Kind regards

    Hans Olav Karde Chairman of Board COT2014
    Børge Robertsen CEO COT2014

  • 2 years ago


    Common sense did prevail, and the excluded teams will be allowed to play.

  • 2 years ago


    The Norwegians should be praised for one thing: making Kirsan seem like the sensible guy and a good FIDE president. That has been quite difficult for a long time, but this extreme overreaction from the Norwegians could be connected to their feeling very democratic and superior, while they consider the Russians to be on a much lower level in this respect. Or to having so little money that they hope to save some regardless of the consequences. But in a matter like this one can't bother too much about principles, of course Russia and the others should be allowed to participate, it's only common sense.

  • 2 years ago


    Laws & Rules are of course for the weak to follow & the strong to break.

  • 2 years ago


    Let's not elevate form over substance. Have the best teams there, and improve all around communications to ensure such a result and to avoid missed deadlines et al.

  • 2 years ago


    Is he campaigning for the Martian team to play?

  • 2 years ago


    Both FIDE and the organizers are being unprofessional. Organizers in Tromsø, acting as if they are just following the rules, are intentionally causing problems in the chess world for political purposes.

    FIDE of course is highly corrupt and needs a new leader.

    Though, as far as the Olympiad is concerned, the teams that missed the deadline should be subject to a fine. They should be allowed to play.

  • 2 years ago


    When rules are broken then a penalty may be imposed. The best penalty for this kind of infraction (and for being late to a game) is a fine. Make the fine as stiff as it needs to be to deter repeated offenses - but play chess! The rules should serve to facilitate chess, not to keep it from being played. Otherwise everyone who loves chess is penalized.

  • 2 years ago


    The teams are not banned, they did not make the deadline and apparently did not ask for guidance from the organisers. Tromsø are spot on. The general rule can not put aside specific rules, so the president can not act as the dictator he usually is. FIDE comes across as a corruptly run sports federation, that needs to change immediately. That can not happen with today's president. Max two terms would also increase democracy in the organisation.

  • 2 years ago


    I'm just shaking my head, thinking they are all imbeciles and mostly incompetent clowns. Most officials can be lucky they are not working in the private sector because they would be fired more or less instantly, if not long time ago already, be it certain FIDE officials or national federation officials.

  • 2 years ago


    Time to settle this or continue to look like a bunch of incompetents. Just announce that all the teams can play and expedite those visas. If people want to bicker about the fine print, they can do so at their leisure after the Olympiad. 

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