Turkey withdraws as host of European Women’s Championships

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Turkey withdraws as host of European Women’s ChampionshipsThe Turkish Chess Federation has withdrawn from hosting the upcoming European Individual Women's Chess Championships, which were due to be held in March 2011. In an open letter posted on its website, the TCF expresses disappointment about the correspondence with the European Chess Union (ECU), but there may be more to it than that.

Last week the following open letter was published on the Turkish Chess Federation's website. It was written by TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici, who announces that Turkey withdraws as host of the European Women’s Championships to be held in March 2011 in Gaziantep, Turkey.

TO EUROPEAN CHESS FEDERATIONS

Dear Friends,

The Turkish Chess Federation was granted the 2011 European Individual Women Championship, the 2011 European Women Rapid and the European Women Blitz. The contract was signed in March, 2010 in Rijeka, Croatia.

The Turkish Chess Federation has a concrete strategy in investing in women’s chess by supporting and organising Atatürk Memorial in 2008, FIDE Women Grand Prix in 2009, Women’s World Championship in 2010, ACP Women World Cup in 2009 and the events granted specifically for women are 2011 European Women Individual Championship, 2012 European Women Individual Championship, 2011 Women World Team Championship, ACP Women World Cup 2011, FIDE Women Grand Prix in 2012.

These last few weeks, we started to communicate with the General Secretary of ECU to finalise the details of this event and then as a result of insulting and condescending behaviour on her part we requested the intervention of the President of the ECU, Mr.Silvio Danailov. None of those attempts have however worked, as you will see from the various emails and letters sent, and we were completely neglected by ECU management. This is really a big disappointment for me considering that I was the first person celebrating the victory of ECU President just after election and wishing him good luck in the next 4 years.

I also sent a last official message on 24th December 2010.

Again, we have not been answered.

After all this unfair approach, we have decided to withdraw from the organisation of the 2011 European Individual Women Championship. Event, may I add, which would have created chess history with prizes at the same level as the event in Aix les Bains. Please look at below for the prize fund comparison.

We will take under careful consideration the legal rights of Turkish Chess Federation in the next few days.

We try to hope that this will be the last conflict between TSF and ECU management, created for no reason.

We would like to draw your attention to these issues in the interest of ECU and its future.

Best regards,

Ali Nihat YAZICI President


As the letter reveals, there has been a conflict between the Turkish Chess Federation and the European Chess Union (ECU), which has jurisdiction over the championship. Yacizi says he was insulted by Sava Stoisavljevic, the general secretary of the ECU. He then contacted ECU President Silvio Danailov, to no avail.

Below his open letter Yacizi publishes a set of 13 PDF documents of correspondence between the TCF and ECU. The documents reveal that at first the ECU objected against TCF plans to charge players extra fees. Later, apparently in an attempt to salvage the championships, the ECU accepted almost all of the TCF's plans.

As Dylan Loeb McClain points out in his piece on the matter for the NY Times Chess Blog, there may be more hidden animosities between the ECU and the TCF. Ali Nihat Yacizi was running for ECU President during the elections in September in Khanty-Mansiysk, but lost to current President Silvio Danailov. Besides, in a telephone interview with Loeb McClain, Danailov suggested that

there may be a more important issue: The federation might have had trouble financing the championship. He said that the Turkish federation was supposed to put down a 7,500 euro ($10,000) deposit in May, but he said it was not done.

Then, six months before the event, in September, the federation was supposed to provide a 97,500 euro ($130,000) bank guarantee that the money for the prizes was available, but he said that also did not happen.

Danailov said of Yazici, “The guy was looking to withdraw somehow from the very beginning.”


Early this week the European Chess Union sent an official message to chess media:

Announcement

The European Chess Union has regretfully received information from the Turkish Chess Federation that the organization of the European Individual Women's Championship in Gaziantep was canceled.

For its part, the European Chess Union has done its best in order to help and collaborate with TCF for the organization of the event. Having in mind that, TCF is the only responsible for the cancellation of the Championship.

As far as this situation is concerned, the European Chess Union will take the official position during the Board meeting in Belgrade, January 12-13.

January 3rd, 2011 ECU office
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