Ilyumzhinov reconsiders, gives Chernenko one more day (2nd update)

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
2nd UPDATE: open letter by Rustam Kamsky Update: No Chernenko money, Iluymzhinov gives Bulgarian Chess Federation another chance.

By now nobody believes the Kamsky-Topalov match will still take place before the end of the year, if at all, but after receiving another letter by Kamsky's manager Chernenko, FIDE President Ilyumzhinov decided to reconsider his personal guarantee and set Mr Chernenko another ultimatum: one more day. Article updated.

2nd update, November 7, 10:02 CET: expectedly, protests would follow Ilyumzhinov's decision to re-opened the bidding for the Kamsky-Topalov match. This morning an open letter (why all these press releases and open letters are necessary beats us - why not have a few conference calls every now and then?) by Rustam Kamsky was published at Chessbase. The most important parts:

Dear chess fans,

It is clear that Mr. Ilyumzhinov personally guaranteed the prize funds of $750,000 for the match to be organized in Lviv, Ukraine and thus undertook specific moral and legal obligations towards both players.

My position towards options available to FIDE is simple. FIDE President, Mr. Ilyumzhinov, can follow the venue and great organization of Anand-Kramnik match in Bonn, Germany.

Unfortunately I do not have any faith in FIDE and Mr. Ilyumzhinov who in front of the whole world breached his word, which is not the first time. Also, I do not have much faith in Mr. Makropoulos, a personal friend of Mr. Danailov.


The foremost important issue that FIDE omitted from its agenda for the technical meeting in Dresden on November 18th, 2008 is to have both players and their attorneys to discuss and negotiate the terms of the contract. During prior months FIDE remained silent to numerous requests for a contract for the Kamsky-Topalov match made by GM Kamsky's attorney. Yet having no contract, FIDE mandated on November 6, 2008, that both players must confirm their participation by November 14, 2008. Before any confirmation can be given a player must know the time, the place and the prize fund for the match. FIDE is trying to use time pressure to force players into confirming to unknown terms that could later become critical. GM Kamsky is asking for the minimum ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú an honestly and fairly organized match in neutral location. If that does not occur both players instead of fighting against each other should unify to fight against FIDE in the court of law.


It is clear that FIDE has a direct duty and responsibility to organize the world championship match Kamsky-Topalov. However FIDE's latest response is to place its burden upon players, thus confronting the players even before their battle on a chess board. I anticipate that in these uncertain times Gata's life could be in danger: no person ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú no problem.

Thank you Roustam Kamsky

Update November 6, 17:47 CET: this time also sent to us by email and published on the FIDE website is another statement by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Instead of keeping up to his promise of guaranteeing a US$ 750,000 prize fund, he now gives the Bulgarian Chess Federation another chance, and a prize fund of 250,000 USD plus 50,000 USD as contribution to FIDE is enough. Here's the statement:

Moscow, 6 November 2008

Announcement of the FIDE President concerning the match Topalov - Kamsky

Dear chess friends,

As already known, FIDE had initially reached a decision to award the Challenger's Match Topalov - Kamsky to the Bulgarian Chess Federation which offered a prize fund of 150,000 USD.

Afterwards, and following consultations with both sides, FIDE gave the opportunity to Alexander Chernenko, the manager of GM Gata Kamsky, to bring in an improved bid with Lviv suggested by Mr Chernenko as the host city. The prize fund offered by GM Gata Kamsky's manager was 750,000 USD. Since then, FIDE received several letters, by banks supposed to co-operate with Mr Chernenko, stating that the funds were "on their way". But up to this moment, and despite numerous reminders to Alexander Chernenko, no bank guarantees have been provided and of course no transfer of the prize fund has been made to the bank account of FIDE.

At this point I must say that I have deeply regretted the trust which I had shown to Alexander Chernenko, concerning the reliability of his offer. The actions of Mr Chernenko indicate an abuse of right to invoke my guarantee which was declared after his own request and in good faith to help him secure the necessary funds. Furthermore, I understand the complaints of the Bulgarian Chess Federation concerning the procedure followed, although FIDE was only trying to improve the financial conditions for both players.

In order to restore the procedure towards holding this very important match, FIDE announces the following:

a) The Bulgarian Chess Federation will be re-awarded with the event if it accepts in written form, by 14 November 2008 12:00 GMT, to hold the match with a prize fund of 250,000 USD plus 50,000 USD as contribution to FIDE and all organising expenses covered. In this case, the dates of the match Topalov - Kamsky remain as already announced (29 Nov. - 12 Dec. 2008) and I intend to nominate FIDE Vice President Mr William Kelleher of USA as the FIDE Supervisor of the Organising Committee (*duties of the FIDE Supervisor as annex 1 to this announcement). The confirmation letter of the Bulgarian Chess Federation should be sent by email and by registered post to the FIDE Secreteriat, address: 9 Syggrou Ave, 11743 Athens, Greece.

b) By 14 November 2008, 12:00 GMT, both players have to officially confirm, in written form and in a clear and explicit way, that they will play the match. If GM Topalov refuses to confirm his participation, then GM Kamsky qualifies automatically for the 2009 WCC match. If GM Kamsky refuses to confirm his participation, he will be replaced by GM Shirov (the runner-up of the World Cup 2007). The confirmation letters should be sent by email and by registered post to the FIDE Secreteriat, address: 9 Syggrou Ave, 11743 Athens, Greece.

c) If the Bulgarian Chess Federation will not confirm that it accepts the financial requirements of (a), an open bidding procedure will be launched with a deadline of 31 December 2008. The best bid will be awarded with the event which will then be held in February or March 2009.

The unfortunate handling of the situation by Alexander Chernenko has brought us to a point where the time limits are very tight. With this procedure, FIDE puts the Challengers Match back on track and with a clear timetable. We are all looking forward to a great match which will produce a worthy challenger to World Champion Vishy Anand for the year 2009.

Gens Una Sumus!

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

Clearly we have to add to this: to be continued...

Original article, published November 4:

After the Bulgarian Chess Federation expressed their worries about the Kamsky-Topalov match at the end of September, again things have been very quiet around the event that should deliver a challenger for a match against world champion Anand.

In a press release on June 1st, FIDE President Iluymzhinov had personally guaranteed the match to be organized for a prize fund of 750,000 USD in Lviv, Ukraine. But there haven't been any signals of an upcoming match in that city, and rumours say that the FIDE President was about to announce the match to be held in Elista.

Today the following, remarkable statement can be read at the FIDE website:

Dear chess friends,

Yesterday 3 November 2008, FIDE received the following message from Alexander Chernienko, the manager of GM Gata Kamsky:

"Due to technical reasons (copy of the banking letter re delay of the transfer was sent by me on the 1st of November 2008), the payment of 935,000 USD according to the BID for the organisation of the Kamsky-Topalov match to the FIDE account, will be effected on the 5th November 2008."

As we have been receiving such letters by Mr Chernienko for a long time now, with yet no transfer made to the FIDE bank account (and we are only one month before the start of the event), this will be the last extension accepted by FIDE as all possible time limits, in order to assist Mr Chernienko with his bid, have been exhausted.

If the amount of 935,000 USD is not transferred to the bank account of FIDE by Wednesday 5 November 2008, FIDE will re-open negotiations with the Bulgarian Chess Federation, the original organiser awarded to hold this match.

FIDE is obliged to take all necessary steps in order to ensure that the Challengers Match shall indeed take place and a worthy challenger for World Champion Vishy Anand will be established. We are all looking forward to this exciting match!

Gens Una Sumus,
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

The official letter by Chernenko:

Chernenko letter

Is it possible to turn a big mess into an even bigger mess? Everytime you think the FIDE President is not capable of surprising us anymore, it turns out he still is.

Even if FIDE does receive the money tomorrow, chances are slim that the match will take place during the scheduled period, November 26-December 14. Especially the Bulgarian team can be expected to object strongly, and in fact Veselin Topalov can be found on the Olympiad's website as playing board one for Bulgaria. (The Olympiad ends on November 25.)

And what about Kamsky, who has always stated that he doesn't want to get involved in all his, and only wants to concentrate on chess? Has he been preparing lately?

Chronological list of events:

  • June 25, 2007: at the Presidential Board meeting in Tallinn, FIDE accepts a 150,000 USD bid by the Bulgarian Chess Federation to organize a match between Veselin Topalov and the winner of the 2007 World Cup, to be held in Bulgaria in the second half of 2008.
  • November 2007: FIDE confirms the accepted bid by the Bulgarians at the 78th FIDE congress in Antalya.
  • December 2007: Gata Kamsky wins the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, and with it the right to play a match against Topalov.
  • January 2008: Kamsky states that he isn't going to play the match in Bulgaria but prefers neutral grounds.
  • February 12, 2008: despite the Bulgarian bid that already stands, FIDE extends the bidding period for the organization of the Kamsky-Topalov until April 11, 2008, "in order to try to improve the financial terms and conditions for both players".
  • April 10, 2008: FIDE extends the deadline for receiving bids once more, until April 23, 2008, as was asked for by the Kamsky team. The Bulgarian Chess Federation publishes a protest, urging FIDE "to follow the decisions of its governing body - the Congress."
  • April 11, 2008: Gata Kamsky's manager Alexander Chernenko tells Yuri Vasiliev, journalist for Sports Express, that "the match will be held in Lviv, Ukraine for a prize fund of US$ 750,000."
  • May 15, 2008: Russian chess website Chesspro publishes an interview with Chernenko and chess media report the Lviv bid as "confirmed".
  • May 18, 2008: Macauley Peterson, in a piece for Chess Life Online, makes clear that both Chernenko and FIDE rebut Vasiliev's account that "the financial guarantees have now been received by FIDE, at their Swiss bank account." Things remain highly unclear.
  • May 29, 2008: Alexei Shirov, who lost the World Cup final in December 2007 to Kamsky, loses his patience and publishes an open letter, stating that by now he should be the one to play Topalov.
  • May 30, 2008: The Kamsky team responds, also in an open letter, and obviously not amused.
  • June 1, 2008: after discussing the Kamsky-Topalov match at a Presidential Board Meeting, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov personally guarantees the prize fund of US$ 750,000 for the match Topalov-Kamsky.
  • September 26, 2008: Stefan Sergiev, President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, protests once more against FIDE's actions - or non-actions, this time.
  • November 3, 2008: Ilyumzhinov receives a letter by Chernenko that states that the payment of 935,000 USD will be effected on November 5, 2008. FIDE accepts this date as the last ultimatum.
  • November 6, 2008: instead of keeping up to his promise of guaranteeing a US$ 750,000 prize fund, Ilyumzhinov gives the Bulgarian Chess Federation another chance, and a prize fund of 250,000 USD plus 50,000 USD as contribution to FIDE is enough.
  • November 7, 2008: an open letter Rustam Kamsky, protesting.

Relevant posts:

More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race