Official request from Bilbao organizers to FIDE to change Candidates dates

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
|
0 | Chess Event Coverage

The organizers of the Grand Slam Masters Final have sent an official request to FIDE to reconsider the dates for the Candidates Tournament. The letter, which is addressed to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is backed by both Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik.

The FIDE Candidates Tournament, a qualifier for the 2013 World Championship Match, is scheduled for 23 October-13 November, 2012, while the Grand Slam Masters Final will be held 24 September-13 October, 2012. As we reported earlier, the Bilbao organizers are not happy with FIDE's choice of dates. The Candidates Tournament will start just ten days after the Masters Final finishes, making it virtually impossible for players to participate in both events. They wouldn't be top fit, and prepared well enough, to play the Candidates, a tournament that could be the most important of their career.

Andoni Madariaga, General Secretary of the Grand Slam Masters Final, told us twelve days ago: 

We are reluctant to come with a statement right now, because the whole thing is not a hundred percent official yet. However, it's clear that we're not happy with these dates. There is just too little time between the end of our tournament and the start of the Candidates.

Madariaga also told us that the Grand Slam Chess Association sent a letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov already in January, in which they mentioned the calendar for this year's Grand Slam tournaments and asked FIDE to avoid clashes. 

Now that the dates for the Candidates Tournament have been confirmed, the Bilbao organizers decided to send another letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. We received a press release with a copy of the letter.

THE BILBAO GRAND SLAM MASTERS FINAL ASKS THE WORLD CHESS FEDERATION FOR AGREEMENT ON TOURNAMENT DATES

  • The Bilbao Grand Slam Masters Final has sent a letter to the President of the FIDE, Kirsán Ilyumzhínov, to ask him to change the dates for the Candidates Tournament, the prelude to the World Championship. The current dates selected for the Candidates Tournament will harm many other tournaments, including the Bilbao Final.
  • The proposal launched by the Grand Slam Masters Final has the support of two of the biggest figures of International Chess: the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, world number one and winner of the last Grand Slam, and Vladímir Krámnik who has been world champion and winner of the 2010 Final Masters.

Bilbao, 27 February, 2012. The Director of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final, Juan Carlos Fernández, has asked Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the FIDE (The World Chess Federation), to reconsider the dates selected for the next Candidates Tournament, the prelude to the World Championship. According to various media sources, it will take place from 23 October to 13 November in London.

The Chess Grand Slam Masters Final organisation announced at the end of 2011 that this year’s edition would take place between 24 September and 13 October in Bilbao. At the moment Magnus Carlsen, world number one and winner of the last Grand Slam, Vladímir Krámnik, who has been world champion and winner of the 2010 Final and Levon Aronián, the current world number two, have all been officially invited to participate in the Grand Slam Final. The three great international masters would also have confirmed their presence at the FIDE Candidates Tournament. If the reported dates are adhered to, only ten days would separate the two maximum level competitions which would seriously harm the Bilbao competition, among others.

In order to avoid this possible clash of dates and thinking about the search for synergies and the common good of the sport, the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final organisation has suggested to the World Chess Federation “that the Candidates Tournament be disputed during the first six months of 2013 as it has a lot more of tournament-free weeks than the second half of 2012.” This proposal has the support of “the elite amongst players and organisations”, amongst others, Magnus Carlsen and Vladímir Krámnik.

The Masters Final organizers also propose in the same letter the celebration of a “a meeting of the FIDE with the organizers of the most important tournaments so that, in the best spirit of cooperation, certain dates can be reserved for the top class competitions of the FIDE and for private tournaments.” In this way, it is intended that the dates of the different professional tournaments are “the same (or very similar) each year, unless a change of date was applied for with more than one year’s notice and with legitimate reason.”

Reproduced below is the letter sent to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the FIDE (The World Chess Federation). The organisation of the Chess Grand Slam Masters Final has sent a copy to the World Champion Viswanathan Anand, Magnus  Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladímir Kramnik.

To The President His Excellency Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE World Chess Federation

Dear Sir,

Common sense suggests that the FIDE and the organizers of the biggest private tournaments should work together in harmony to avoid the possibility of a clash of dates. This kind of collaboration is something that takes place habitually with the most important professional sports.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in the world of chess. Since the Grand Slam was created five years ago, the associated tournament organizers have approached the FIDE various times with solid proposals and always with a spirit of cooperation in mind. However, our feeling is that the FIDE sees us as enemies, not as allies.

Although you visited us personally during the 2010 Masters Final, what is more typical is that the FIDE does not even reply to our proposals.  An example of this was a letter respectfully sent to you by the Secretary General of the Grand Slam three weeks ago after the meeting in Wijk aan Zee. In that letter, apart from referring to the Grand Slam Tournament calendar and the dates for the Final, we explained to you the inconvenience of the dates unofficially announced by you for the Candidates Tournament. These dates will seriously harm various big tournaments in general, but our Masters Final in particular.

So, we appeal again to common sense to ask you to consider the following proposals:

1)     As many top class players and organizers have recently expressed, we suggest that the Candidates Tournament be disputed during the first six months of 2013. This period has a lot more tournament-free weeks than the second half of 2013.

2)     We propose a meeting of the FIDE with the organizers of the most important tournaments so that, in the best spirit of cooperation, certain dates can be reserved for the top class competitions of the FIDE and for private tournaments. These dates would be the same (or very similar) each year, unless a change of date was applied for with more than one year’s notice and with legitimate reason.  All the attendees at the meeting would make a commitment to respect this agreement every year.With the hope that we can finally reach a reasonable agreement, I look forward very much to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Juan Carlos Fernández
Tournament Director
Grand Slam Masters Final

In the press release, the Basque organizers only mention "Bilbao" as the location for this year's Masters Final. In previous years, the tournament was divided over two cities: Shanghai & Bilbao in 2010 and Sao Paulo & Bilbao in 2011. Mr Madariaga clarified to us that they're still negotiating with another city but that at the moment they cannot confirm anything yet.

More from PeterDoggers
Firouzja Regains Lead At Tata Steel Chess

Firouzja Regains Lead At Tata Steel Chess

Dubov, Giri Score In Tata Steel Chess Round 6

Dubov, Giri Score In Tata Steel Chess Round 6