Chess Journalist In Tournament Ban

Chess Journalist In Tournament Ban

| 42 | Chess Politics

JanisNisii3.jpgThe recent Reggio Emilia tournament won by Anish Giri in Italy certainly delivered lots of excitement on the board, but there was some off-the-board disquiet about the last-minute exclusion of defending champion Vugar Gashimov from the event.

Gashimov wanted to bring his parents with him to Italy, but needed to obtain an invitation letter for them from the organisers in order to arrange for visas, but this request was not met and Gashimov was unceremoniously kicked out of the tournament.

Now, respected chess journalist Janis Nisii (pictured) has spoken out at her treatment by the Reggio organisers...


Unique concept of the right to an opinion and the freedom of the press
by the organizers of the Reggio Emilia chess tournament
On the occasion of the recent international chess tournament in Reggio Emilia (New Year’s Tournament), I was assigned by the Dutch magazine New in Chess (NIC) to write a report on the event, as was the case last year.

I thereafter sent an e-mail to the technical director of the tournament, Roberto Mogranzini, to inform him of my assignment. His answer deserves to be fully transcribed to avoid any misunderstandings:
“Dear Janis,

The organization of Reggio Emilia was not pleased with your article on the Reggio Emilia tournament which came out in NIC last year, nor with your comments posted on the blog Scacchierando.  As a result you will not be issued press accreditation. New In Chess will be advised of this decision.

Regards, Roberto Mogranzini”
janis nisii email reggio.jpg
The text of this communication does not deserve any comment. It taught me, however, that the Reggio Emilia organizers (namely: Circolo Scacchistico Ippogrifo, Accademia Internazionale di Scacchi and Scacchi Randagi) granted press accreditation only if the reporters expressed themselves according to the wishes of the organizers and not because they could do their work freely according to their conscience and intelligence.
This as a rather unique concept of freedom of opinion and indirectly of the press, to put it mildly. Without freedom of expression, reporting becomes meaningless.
I believe that my article, published in New in Chess 1/2011, is a balanced account of last year’s event, which put the Italian chess scene in a very good light, together with the revival of the Reggio Emilia tournament from the Jubilee Year edition onwards. The proof of the pudding is in the…reading.
It would be interesting to know what the relevant bodies (such as the Italian, European and World Chess Federations) think about the incident hereby reported, which is not much about me as an individual, as it is about a breach of principles that belong to the cultural heritage, legal system and shared values of a democratic society.

Janis Nisii
January 2012


Some excerpts from the "offending" article:

"The 2007-2008 edition...marked an important milestone for Reggio Emilia...with of the most captivating closed tournaments ever played on Italian soil...directed by Italian chess publisher and organiser Yuri Garrett."

"That jubilee edition represented a turning point for the event, restoring its world-class ranking after many years of lesser fame. The passionate work of the local Chess Club Ippogrifo and the technical director Yuri Garrett...generated a renewed interest in one of the oldest international chess tournaments."

"The tournament atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. To quote the words of Paco Vallejo, "The organisation is very sociable and warm, they make you really feel like home among friends".

"While the Ippogrifo Chess Club is still the organiser, a completely new team was running the tournament. Instead of applying the Sofia rules they had decided to invite fighting players..."As a tournament player myself, technical director Roberto Mogranzini explained, "I think that draws are part of our game...The public has to understand that players are not machines".

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