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FIDE Makes 'Urgent Visa Appeal' To Canadian Government Regarding Candidates

FIDE Makes 'Urgent Visa Appeal' To Canadian Government Regarding Candidates

TarjeiJS
| 183 | Chess.com News

One of the world's most prestigious tournaments is facing a significant hurdle as FIDE has announced a public appeal to the Canadian authorities to expedite the visa process for several players. Update, March 2: Canadian Chess Federation President Vladimir Drkulec says there's a week to fix things and otherwise the tournament will be moved to Spain.

For the first time in history, the much anticipated event is scheduled to take place in Canada, but now dark clouds have appeared in the sky. With 33 days left before the first move is made in Toronto on April 4, FIDE has expressed "grave concerns" about the "timely arrival of players."

The remarkable appeal, published by FIDE on X/Twitter, urged the Canadian government to take action and issue visas and permission to enter the country.

Regrettably, players from various countries worldwide, who submitted their visa applications [a] few months ago, have not yet received any updates on their status. With only a month remaining till the FIDE Candidates Tournament, there are grave concerns about the timely arrival of the players to Toronto.

Players from various countries worldwide, who submitted their visa applications [a] few months ago, have not yet received any updates.
—FIDE

FIDE also tagged the accounts of Canadian Minister of Immigration Marc Miller and other Canadian immigration authorities.

Recognizing the popularity of the game in the country, and its growing role in the chess world, we kindly ask the Canadian Government for support in urgently addressing this matter. Ensuring the safe and timely arrival of players is crucial for the success and integrity of the FIDE Candidates Tournament and for promoting Canada as a host of the most important chess tournament of the year, which will be followed by millions of spectators worldwide. 

FIDE's General Director GM Emil Sutovsky shared the appeal by tagging Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, implying that the event could be moved.

FIDE did not name any players or reveal details about which players are affected by the visa problems, but according to Canada's immigration services, an application for a visitor visa from Russia takes an average of 182 days to process. For Indians, the current processing time is 27 days. A work permit takes considerably more time.

That would affect a total of eight players. From India, they include GMs Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, Vidit Gujrathi, Gukesh Dommaraju, Vaishali Rameshbabu, and Humpy Koneru. From Russia, GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Kateryna Lagno, and Alexandra Goryachkina could face problems.

Relations between India and Canada deteriorated after the June killing of a Canadian Sikh activist on Canadian soil. Last September, Trudeau alleged that Indian agents were involved. India strongly denied these claims, calling them "absurd," according to NPR.

Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada
FIDE has appealed to Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada via X/Twitter to issue visas needed by the Candidates players. Photo: Wikipedia.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has also caused its athletes to face sanctions, restricting their participation at international events.

On February 21, Andrey Filatov, the president of the Russian Chess Federation, was also sanctioned by the Canadian government with nine other individuals "who represent nodes of direct and indirect support of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine through finance, logistics, and sanctions evasion."

It's not the first time FIDE has issued a public appeal to a government. Last year, the world chess governing body published an open letter on its website urging Ukraine to let GM Vasyl Ivanchuk play the FIDE World Cup. The legendary grandmaster did eventually travel to Azerbaijan, despite restrictions on men aged 18-60 leaving the country, though the Ukrainian government claimed FIDE had organized a publicity stunt.


Update, March 2:

Canadian Chess Federation President Vladimir Drkulec has told the Toronto Star that over 40 people in total are waiting for a visa and that some applied over four months ago. He says only one week remains to decide the fate of the tournament: "If we don't have some significant progress in one week, it's cancelled. You can't have a candidates tournament without the candidates."

You can't have a candidates tournament without the candidates.

—Vladimir Drkulec

He says that FIDE has a backup plan to move the tournament to Spain, commenting: "We have a week. And if nothing happens in that week, then it'll be in Spain and I'll be watching it on the internet."

TarjeiJS
Tarjei J. Svensen

I am a chess journalist on Chess.com, the site you are playing on. Hope you enjoy my stories. Let me know if you have any tips on what I should write about!

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