Is Nalchik A Safe Venue For The Women's World Championship?

Is Nalchik A Safe Venue For The Women's World Championship?

| 20 | Chess Politics

It can hardly have escaped anyone's attention that a terrible armed conflict has flared up in the South Ossetia region of Georgia.  The violence has claimed many lives and the whole region is in turmoil.

Anyone travelling near the area would naturally be concerned for their safety, and this is the dilemma that faces the participants of the Women's World Chess Championships, which is slated to take place in nearby Nalchik, starting in barely 2 weeks time, on the 28th August (see previous report here).


An open letter has recently been published by some of the participants:

Open letter by the participants of the Women World Championship of FIDE

We, the participants of the Women World Championship 2008, express our worry about the current dangerous situation near Cabardino-Balkaria. We think when there is such a tense situation, it is not expedient to hold such a high level tournament in that area. That’s why we kindly ask you to move this tournament to the safer place, which would be convenient for all the participants.

which has received the following reply from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of FIDE.

Dear chess friends!

After having read the open letter of several participants of the forthcoming World Chess Championship in Nalchik (Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Russian Federation), I would like to make the following statement:

The World Chess Federation is in close contact with the Russian Chess Federation and the Championship’s Organising Committee. The FIDE delegation visited the city of Nalchik during 5-6 August and took part in the meeting of the Organising Committee.

According to the information received, the preparation for the tournament has entered its final stages, and a lot of attention has been given to the issues of food, accommodation as well as the provision of all necessary security.

We are aware of the recent developments in South Ossetia, and would like to express our most sincere condolences to all who have become victims of this terrible tragedy.

However, in the current situation I appeal to all not to mix politics and sport, and not to involve FIDE and the world chess community into political, territorial and other disputes. All the issues should be settled at a chess board, and not beyond its limits. This issue is particularly critical during the days of the Olympic Games.

I am confident that we shall witness a very interesting World Championship in Nalchik, which will be organized on a proper level.

See you in Nalchik.

We are one family.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

So should the venue be changed at this late stage?  Is it safe to travel to Nalchik?

It would not be surprising if some players decide that their personal safety is worth more than a chance to compete for the Women's World Chess Championship.

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