82nd FIDE Congress: Dutch fears allayed

0 | Chess Event Coverage

Between October 15th and 21st the 82nd FIDE Congress took place in Krakow, Poland. Many important decisions were taken in different areas and on a wide range of topics. However, no official documents, reports or minutes of the meetings and results seem to be available at the moment. One thing is clear: the Dutch fears about the FIDE rating system being under threat have been allayed.

The 82nd FIDE Congress was a pretty big event, organized by the Malopolska Chess Association, the Polish Chess Federation and the Community of Krakow. Members of all 168 national chess federations were invited to take part in Commission Meetings and the Executive Board. There were meetings of a number of FIDE committees, including Swiss Pairings Programs, Rules and Tournament Regulations, Trainers, and Development CACDEC (Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries).

When FIDE released the agenda for the 2011 Congress early September, there was consternation about a number of proposals. A few weeks later the Dutch Chess Federation took the initiative to express their worries about the potential effects of these proposals:

It is with great concern that we have taken note of the proposals of the Events Commission for the Executive Board Meeting in Krakow. We feel that the interests of both chess players and chess organizers will be severely harmed if these proposal were to be accepted. And what is more we think that these proposals are a direct threat to the FIDE rating system – a system that is one of the great success stories of FIDE. (...)

-    The proposals will raise the costs for players, organizers and federations excessively.
-    The proposals lack any explanation regarding the necessity of these substantial raises in tariffs. Indeed, no coherent vision is presented.
-    The proposals will not bring the ‘customers’ a higher standard of service. The product remains the same, but the prices are multiplied with a factor 2 or 3.
-    The proposals will lead to more bureaucracy and administrative complications; money will have to be transferred back and forth between players, FIDE and national federations.
-    The proposals will erode the FIDE rating system, since many tournaments that are now rated will drop out for financial reasons. Likewise, many chess players will not buy a license and will not be rated in the future.

As it turned out, none of the proposals were accepted - in fact they did not even make it to the Events Commission. A representative of the Dutch Chess Federation told us that from the moment their open letter was published they received support from many federations. In Krakow it became clear that a number of FIDE officials did not approve of the proposals either.

The proposals regarding the higher rates for applying for a title, a license for playing FIDE tournaments, and the penalty regime for tournament organizers were withdrawn and were not discussed at the meeting of the Executive Board. Regarding the title for tournament organizers, a compromise was reached: current organizers can apply for this title for free.

The FIDE Treasurer's proposal to remove the ceiling for the maximum contribution of a federation will be examined by a commission which, in addition to the FIDE Treasurer, consists of the President of the Spanish Chess Federation Javier Ochoa, the German FIDE delegate Horst Metzing and the Dutch delegate (and zonal President) Herman Hamers.

We might report more on the 82nd FIDE Congress at a later stage, when more information will be available. For now we'll mention one more thing: the opening speech of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the start of the Congress. FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky from the USA was in Krakow, and reported for Chess Life Online. He wrote:

When Mr.Ilyumzhinov started to talk about pending legal issues many were taken by surprise that he dedicated a great deal of time to demonize Garry Kasparov, “who wants to bankrupt FIDE” and glorifying Anatoly Karpov, his opponent at the 2010 FIDE Presidential election, “who joined the newly formed political party by Vladimir Putin in Russia” (Putin, Prime-Minister of Russia plans to return to his former position as President of Russia in 2012).

The audience was mute until Tomasz Sielicki, President of the Polish Chess Federation and Deputy President of the European Chess Federation, asked for the microphone and said: ”We all came here to discuss chess issues and I don’t understand why should we listen a political speech for more than an hour, which has nothing to do with the agenda.”

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