Kutin vs. Yazici: not justice, but chaos prevails

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Turkish Chess Federation vs European Chess UnionWe received a letter from Ali Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, concerning a recent arbitration in the court of Lausanne about an organizing dispute between the European Chess Union and the Turkish Chess Federation. Yazici's letter speaks of justice, but to us, it seems only chaos prevails. A down-to-earth perspective is badly needed.

To be honest, here at ChessVibes we had already completely forgotten about the case, which was filed back in October 2007. Reading articles with so many abbreviations also didn't help getting us into the case, which was basically about the rights of the Turkish Federation to hold three major tournaments in Turkey:

  • 2009 European Individual Chess Championship
  • 2009 European Club Cup
  • 2009 European Youth Championship

In August 2007, The European Chess Union (ECU) decided these events would be organized not by the Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) in Turkey, but in other countries. The 2009 European Individual Chess Championship was held in Montenegro (men) and Russia (wonen), the 2009 European Club Cup will be held in Struga, Lake Ochid, Former Republic of Yugoslavia and the 2009 European Youth Championship is scheduled to be held in Fermo, Italy. Now, the Lausanne court has apparently ruled that the results of these tournaments should be declared void. It's important to note that this includes norms, rating gains and losses and qualifications for the World Cup 2009. Here's Yazici's lengthy letter:


‘Law is just and justice prevails’

As is well known, from the open letter that was presented to the chess world on 12 October 2007, I invited Boris Kutin, the President of the European Chess Union (ECU) to resign. Together with the invitation, I also explained the reasons of the unfortunate obligation that TCF had to sue ECU in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I explained that from 24 August 2007 to 2 October 2007 we had tried to find a solution with the ECU but starting from the dear President, the majority of the ECU Board did not take our rights or reasons into consideration. This was not only the first time and not the last time that the ECU was violating our rights.

I also underlined that ECU lost objectivity in their decisions starting from 2006, since all the tournaments were being given to a group of countries from a specific geographical region, while ECU was behaving as if there was an unwritten convention that countries like Turkey, Greece and Georgia were not to be given any tournaments. As a leading national federation, the Turkish Chess Federation could not be silent against this double standard and therefore we opened a law suit against ECU.

After the letter had been published, on November 3, 2007, during the ECU General Assembly held in Crete, these issues were heavily debated during a long session and it was registered in the assembly that the decisions of the ECU were not in line with the bidding procedures and the rights of our Federation were not defended.

Our common friends tried to end the suit between the TCF and the ECU. FIDE Deputy President and the President of the Greek Chess Federation worked a lot to find a peaceful solution. I agreed with his views that these kind of problems should be resolved under the roof of FIDE through diplomacy, however the entirely consciously biased decisions against our Federation were not acceptable.

Mr.Kutin, continued his explicitly biased and hostile attitude during the ECU General Assembly in Dresden, 2008.

During the ?? Bank Atat?ºrk FIDE Women Grand Prix held between 5-20 March in ?stanbul, Mr.Makropoulos again tried to assist as a mediator between the two parties and showed enormous effort to find a compromise. The TCF accepted to conditionally drop the case, unwillingly I must add, but respecting the motto of Gens Una Sumus. However, ECU rejected these reconciliation efforts.

Actually, the inability to administer by the ECU Board was clear after the 2007 and 2008 ECU General Assemblies. ECU Board could not pass any of their propositions. Furthermore, during the 2007 Assembly the authority of the ECU Board, on deciding the organizers of annual events, was reduced by the GA and by 2008, except for the youth championships, all other events will be decided by the GA. This shows a de facto distrust of the ECU Board.

It is sure that law is just and justice prevails eventually. This was proven true once again.

After the last trial was held on 30 March 2009 in Lausanne, the court ruled for TCF with the decision taken on 22 April 2009 as their decision written in French (and our translation in English) is attached.

According to this judgement, the decisions of the ECU Board on 24 August 2007 for the three tournaments of 2009, were cancelled and became void. So those three decision given below are now void! Furthermore, it was decided that ECU should pay 6.593 CHF for legal costs to the Turkish Chess Federation as compensation. And also they will pay 3.686 CHF for the court expenses in total the amount will be 10.279 CHF.

I do not count the money we spent for the law suit, the money spent by ECU for travelling, accommodation and for lawyers in Lausanne. All those money were spent to the detriment of the chess world due to the illegal decision of ECU and their behavior of disregarding the views of one of their members. What were the decisions which were cancelled?

1. 2009 European Individual Chess Championship 2. The decision to hold 2009 European Club Cup in Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Struga. 3. The decision to hold 2009 European Youth Championship in Italy, Fermo.

What are the probable consequences?

1. With the court decision regarding the European Individual Chess Championship, the European Individual Championships held in Montenegro and Russia for men and women respectively are both void. Any of the players that participated and qualified from those events cannot play in the World Cup (that is the opinion after consulting lawyers). Those tournaments should be held in 2009 again! ECU is responsible for all the expenses of those events spent by players and organizers. FIDE, as the body controlling the World Championship cycle, should convene quickly and decide about it. It is an absolute mess now.

2. ECU decision to “legally” hold the European Club Cup 2009 is also cancelled. A new bid procedure should immediately start for the organization of this event. Until 2007, ECU Board was the deciding body about the incoming bids but now ECU General Assembly should convene as soon as possible with a new bidding procedure to decide for this event.

3. The ECU Board’s decision taken on 24 August 2007 to hold European Youth Championship also cannot be hold in this country without a new decision. Since the event is being planned to be held in August, the bidding process should restart immediately and a new organizer should be determined.

This is only the beginning. ECU President has created a real mess in the chess world, despite our and all other intermediaries’ suggestions. This issue is not about losing one or three events, but we will resume our struggle until the decisions are taken lawfully according to the procedures, since our rights were unlawfully violated.

We immediately invite all of the ECU Board starting with Mr.Boris Kutin to resign and believe that is the time to convene immediately an Extraordinary General Assembly with elections.

We are proposing following:

  • All the ECU board must resign. We know that some members of the board did their best to persuade the President but they could not change his rigid opinion. However, considering that the decision belongs to all board, we ask them all to resign.
  • Turkey is ready to organize an extraordinary ECU GA in Istanbul in order temporary to elect a new President and board members until the next ECU GA in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk

  • TCF is ready to do everything possible to help in the negotiation between all affected parties to find right solutions to avoid serious problems which we are facing today.

It is the time that ECU should be administered in the right hands.

It is time to stop this bad situation. European chess needs a much better leader than dear current president.

This board, which could not manage to find any sponsor, nor achieved any corporate success so far in great and important continent like Europe could only organize events thanks to the FIDE’s granted rights that enabled them to raise money by entrance fees, which is probably paid to the President and to the General Secretary.

I invite my honorable friends in the ECU Board to resign. Please resign and let’s convene the General Assembly.

Gens Una Sumus

Ali Nihat YAZICI President Turkish Chess Federation

Quite apart from the court's decision (in French, English translation by the Turks here), it seems to us that Yazici's letter misses the mark on several points. First of all, the focus of the letter is on the proposed resignation of Kutin and the rest of the ECU board. This request is made no less than four times, which to us suggests a personal element that this situation can really do without for now. Secondly, the suggestion that Turkey is willing to host the replacing tournaments is definitely nice-to-know, but no more than that: surely there are many more countries which would like to host such events. Third, the assertion that 'law is just and justice prevails' is opportunistic at best, not to say tasteless.

What's most important is not what happens to Kutin, the TCF or any other federation, but what happens to those who suffer most from all this - the players. Yazici is completely silent on this fact, but so is the ECU, whose website is a blank about the whole affair.

It's about time that shameless examples of chess politics like this come to an end. There seem to be no winners in this case - only losers. The result: total chaos and anarchy - a long way from justice indeed.
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