European Championships start, Kutin criticizes Ilyumzhinov for clash with GP

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0 | Chess Event Coverage
10th European ChToday the 10th European Chess Championship takes off in Budva, Montenegro, where Tiviakov will defend his title in a huge, 11-round Swiss. There's turmoil in the women's section: Sunday is the first round of the European Women's Championship (held in St. Petersburg), while on Saturday the first FIDE Women Grand Prix starts in Istanbul. Europan Chess Union President Boris Kutin is not amused.

The 10th European Chess Championship, a 11-round Swiss, takes place in Budva, Montenegro from March 5th (day of arrival) until March 19th (day of departure) 2009. It's organized by the Montenegro Chess Federation under the auspices of the City of Budva and the European Chess Union. The tournament hall is the congress hall of the “Splendid spa & resort hotel”.

The European Championship is a qualification event for the next World Cup. According to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 22 players will qualify. The tournament is open to all players representing the chess federations which comprise the European Chess Union (FIDE zones 1.1 to 1.9) regardless of their title or rating. There is also no limit of participants per federation.

The rate of play of 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. In the schedule below time and space have been preserved for tiebreaks; these will be held to to establish the Champion, to establish the medal winners and/or to establish qualifiers for the World Cup. The first prize is € 15,000, second is € 12,000 and the third players earns € 10,000.

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Sergei Tiviakov defends his title in an enormous Swiss of 306 participants (138 GMs, 78 IMs, 19 FMs, 4 WIMs and 1 WFM). The Dutchman's biggest rivals are Vallejo Pons, Akopian, Naiditsch, Malakhov, Dreev, Bologan, Vitiugov, Cheparinov and Motylev. First round is today at 15:00 CET.

Clash of top women events The women's section of the European Championship is held in St. Petersburg this year. The rules are similar: an 11-round Swiss from which 14 players will qualify for the next Women World Championship. Top participants are Anna Muzychuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Anna Ushenina, Natalia Zhukova, Kateryna Lahno and the Kosintseva sisters.

Surprisingly, another big event in top women chess also starts: tomorrow is the first round of the very first FIDE Women Grand Prix, held in Istanbul, Turkey. The participants there are Humpy Koneru, Hou Yifan, Antoaneta Stefanova, Pia Cramling, Marie Sebag, Maia Chiburdanidze, Zhao Xue, Martha Fierro, Elina Danielian, Shen Yang, Zeinab Mamedjarova and Bet?ºl Cemre Yildiz.

It's clear that some of these Grand Prix participants could have played both events, if they hadn't been scheduled at exactly the same time! President of the European Chess Union (ECU) Boris Kutin has sent an angry letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, published in full by Chessdom. An excerpt:

In our case we have two extremely important FIDE events (European Championship is a qualification for the World Championship) at the same time. We have announced our date at the Dresden Olympiad and FIDE decided to go with Women's Grand Prix without a single phone call to us.

Unfortunately this is not the end of the story. The Second Woman's Grand Prix will be in Nanjing, China, exactly at the same time of the European Club Cup. You know very well this event is the second strongest team event, immediately after the Olympiad, with more than 200 GMs from all continents. For many clubs (especially top ones) this will cause big damage. For sure for some players will be in breach of contract. Really I have no comment, remembering the situation in last October, having a clash with World Mind Games and European Club Cup.

Dear Mr. President, in such way we are loosing our credibility - both, FIDE and ECU.


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