[ Below and for download are letters from Garry Kasparov and European Chess Union President Silvio Danailov on the controversy around the teams excluded from the Tromso Olympiad. ]
I do not intend to allow Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s plan to drag me and the election for FIDE president into the situation around the Olympiad teams excluded from the Tromsø Olympiad. Ilyumzhinov’s gang and his allies at the Russian Chess Federation are desperate to politicize this unfortunate mess of their own making. They should not be allowed to distract from how and why they created this scandal by attacking me and the Norwegian organizers.
It is clear that Ilyumzhinov’s administration has been accomplice to the Russian Federation both before and after the willful rule violation that led to this crisis. They assisted in an illegal action and then attempted to pardon that illegal action using 6.1. And instead of working with the Norwegian organizers, or any of the other affected federations, Ilyumzhinov’s group took the side of one powerful federation. All federations should be equal under the law or the law has no meaning. Similarly, if 6.1 allows the FIDE president to overrule all other regulations and contracts there is no point in having them. Lastly, it is complete hypocrisy for Ilyumzhinov to now speak of the other excluded federations, especially since four of them – Gabon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Senegal – failed to meet the deadline due only to their legitimate leadership being attacked by Ilyumzhinov’s administration in the Electoral Commission for purely political reasons.
Today is the 90th anniversary of FIDE. In the spirit of Gens Una Sumus we should all seek a compromise that satisfies spirit of the rule of law and that allows for every team that desires to play in the Olympiad to play. This cannot mean bullying the organizers with every kind of legal action, even of canceling the Olympiad, as several Ilyumzhinov officials have threatened to do. If there can be any possibility for the Russian women’s team and the other excluded teams to participate, it must begin with ceasing to make threats and instead to align FIDE and the federations with the organizers and to show respect for the rule of law. The RCF should begin by admitting they consciously violated the rules and apologizing to the organizers and the other federations for doing so.
I cannot speak for the organizers and I have no authority or role in these proceedings. I wish only to express my desire as an eight-time Olympiad champion, and as a chess fan, that the players not be punished for the errors and wrongdoings of officials. From my first Olympiad as a teen in 1980 to my last as a veteran in 2002, the Olympiad was always a very special event and I know every other participant feels the same. FIDE and the federations must reconcile with the organizers in Tromsø to find a way forward instead of making threats and burning bridges. I am ready and willing to help in any way that I can.
July 20, 2014
ECU President Silvio Danailov:
Statement ECU President – Norway
FIDE cannot be effective and stable if its member federations cannot rely on it to obey and defend its own statutes. FIDE cannot be successful if it cannot be a reliable and transparent partner for organizers and sponsors. As ECU President I am therefore very troubled by FIDE’s aggressive support for the Russian Chess Federation’s willful violation of the regulations governing the registration of Olympiad teams against the Norwegian organizers.
Most damaging of all is that FIDE’s representatives and counsel are citing Statute 6.1, stating in effect that the FIDE President has the power to violate all contracts and even its own regulations. Such a precedent would be anathema to any form of corporate or public sponsorship and so threatens the integrity of FIDE and the entire chess world. If FIDE and the federations do not respect our organizers we will soon find it impossible to find any. Therefore we vigorously support the organizers of the Tromsø Olympiad and the rule of law they are attempting to defend.
As ECU President I would like to express my sympathy and solidarity with all players excluded from the Olympiad due to this crisis. Let’s hope a lawful and amicable path may be found that permits every player to participate in Tromsø.
[ View or download both signed documents in PDF: Kasparov | Danailov ]