Open letter by Boris Gelfand to the FIDE President

0 | Chess Event Coverage
While the whole world is focussed on the match of the century (at least so far), it's quite important to remember that besides this success of FIDE,?Ǭ†the organisation has also been blundering the last few weeks (or months!?), just like Topalov.?Ǭ†Boris Gelfand?Ǭ†is the first player to raise questions about the candidates matches scheduled?Ǭ†for October.

To FIDE President, Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Dear Mr. Ilyumzhinov,

Around a year ago FIDE adopted a new system of World Championship. In order to fight for the highest title in the chess world, last December I went to the World Cup tournament in Khanti-Mansiisk, took 6th place and qualified for the next stage ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú the Candidates matches.

In December I signed a letter of intent with FIDE. In January 2006 FIDE made the pairings and announced that the matches would take place 20-30th of October with a minimal prize fund of US$40,000 for each match. It meant that for 2 rounds of the Candidate matches (8 of 1st round and 4 of next round) the prize find should be at least US$480,000. Taking this into account, I planned the timetable of my preparation.

In order to reach the peak of my form for the most prestigious event of the year, I accepted some invitations like a training match with Czech grandmaster David Navara to have an experience in matches. However I declined some other ones, for example, super tournament in Foros with big prize-fund. If accepted that invitation, I would be rated 3rd in the tournament and would have good reasons to get at least 3rd prize- US$10,000. I also rejected an invitation for a rapid event in Cap d'Adge at the end of October. I would be rated 1st there and would have a good chance to win 1st prize of 16,000 euro, as I did there already 2 times. I also hired some players specially to analyse the games of my opponent Rustam Kasimdzhanov and my potential opponents - Gata Kamsky and Etienne Bacrot. In order to help me, my seconds also refused some invitations to the tournaments and I had to compensate financially their expected losses.

During this, I didn't receive any e-mail or any news from FIDE (which is strange in itself) starting from the New Year, I was confident that matches would start on time. Last month you confirmed it and assured "that the issue will be finalised during the Presidential Board meeting in Elista, during the Topalov- Kramnik match" (I quote from the translation of your interview to Yuri Vasiliev from the site on 21st of August 2006).

However, yesterday evening in official report of the Presidential Board meeting I read the following: "In order to resolve difficulties in the organization of the Candidate matches, the Board offered a roundrobin tournament for the 16 players as an alternative to the original form of the competition. President Ilyumzhinov offered to hold all the matches or the tournament in Elista."

Of course, chess players are grateful to you for your kind offer to hold such an important event. But unfortunately, dates announced back in January should not be changed, especially not less than a month before the event. But especially harmful is the idea of replacing matches with a tournament. I never heard that in any sport that the structure of the World championship may be changed during the cycle. I also never hear that in any sport dates of world championship in any stage were moved in such a short notice. It is especially dangerous to break all the rules of sport world when chess is trying so hard to become part of the Olympics.

In case the dates of the matches would be moved from officially stated, or if the matches will be cancelled altogether I would expect FIDE to compensate me for my losses, as detailed above.

I am kindly requesting you to reply to my concerns urgently, as announced dates of the matches are within less than 1 month.

I consider the questions raised in this letter are of importance to all chess community, and therefore I send a copy of it to some of the most popular sites.

Sincerely yours,

Boris Gelfand, Candidate for the World Championship

Rishon le Zion, Israel

(Thanks to Chess Today.)
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