European Individual Women Chess Championship 2011

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European Chess Union

The President of Turkish Chess Federation, Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, has published an open letter on 29 December 2010, and declared that TCF withdrew the organisation of 2011 European Individual Women Chess Championship in Gaziantep. The event was supposed to be organised from 19 March till 1st April. The prize fund of the event would have been a record in women chess.

In a conflict every side has its own arguments. The main ones stated by Ali Nihat Yazici were the unprofessional behaviour by ECU general secretary Sava Stoisavljevic and the feeling that TCF was completely neglected. On the other hand, ECU President Silvio Danailov replied that he knew this was about to come. “According to contract, Turkish federation was supposed to deposit 7,500 euro in May and later 97 000 in September, but none of these have been done,” says Danailov.

But can a conflict be over fees or unprofessional language? Can just a simple correspondence break a signed contract? The expert chess journalist Dylan Loeb McClain hits the issue right in NY Times. “Danailov and Yazici were opponents in a September election for the presidency of the E.C.U. and there may be lingering bad blood,” says McClain.

Read on for the letter of withdraw of Yazici, the NY Times article of Dylan Loeb McClain, and the latest letter from ECU, where the European federation throws all responsibility on TCF.

Letter of withdraw from TCF

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 Danaiolov.

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


NY Times about the EIWCC

In a letter posted on the Turkish Chess Federation’s Web site on Wednesday, Ali Nihat Yazici, the federation’s president, announced that Turkey had withdrawn as host of the European Women’s Chess Championship. It was to be held in March 2011 in Gaziantep, a city in the southeastern part of the country.

The prize fund was to be 104,000 euros (about $139,000 at current exchange rates), which would have exceeded the 101,000 euro prize fund ($135,000) for the overall European Championship, which will be held in Aix-les-Bains, France.

The reason given for Turkey’s withdrawal was a conflict between the federation and the European Chess Union, which has jurisdiction over the championship.

Yazici wrote that he tried to work out the details of organizing the championship with Sava Stoisavljevic, the general secretary of the E.C.U., but she insulted him and treated him in a condescending manner. He contacted Silvio Danailov, the president of the E.C.U., in an effort to resolve the problems, but he and the federation were “completely neglected.” So a decision was made to withdraw as the organizer.

In addition to the letter, Yazici published 13 documents of correspondence and proposals about the championship that were exchanged between the federation and the E.C.U. In the documents, there were several issues of contention regarding the contract between the two organizations.

The most significant were that the Turkish federation wanted to charge an organizing fee of 70 euros per player ($93.50), 120 euros for any player who chose not to stay at one of the two hotels reserved by the organizers ($160), and a late fee for anyone not registering by a deadline of Feb. 10.

Initially, Stoisavljevic countered that the first two fees were unacceptable and unprecedented. As to a late fee, she said that was also unacceptable, but suggested that the Turkish federation could bar late entries if it was concerned about possible additional hotel room costs, or accept them but not guarantee that players would be able to get rooms at the prearranged rates.

In a later e-mail, Stoisavljevic began by writing that Yazici had “double standards” in the negotiations. But she agreed to relent on all of the Turkish federation requirements, except the imposition of late fees.

Yazici replied that he felt “very much insulted,” and soon after Turkey withdrew as host of the championship, despite a letter from Danailov accepting all of the federation’s demands and requesting only that late entries not be accepted.

On the surface, the dispute seems to be over fees and the language of the contract between the E.C.U. and the Turkish federation, but there may be more to it than that.

Danailov and Yazici were opponents in a September election for the presidency of the E.C.U. and there may be lingering bad blood.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, 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.”

In an e-mail, Stoisavljevic said that the initial tone of her e-mail and phone conversations with Yazici were friendly. She said it was only after she objected to the fees in the draft of the regulations for the championship that problems in the negotiations arose. She said that she regretted using the words “double standards” in one of her e-mails to Yazici and was willing to apologize for that. She also noted that in the end, in an effort to salvage the championship in Turkey, the E.C.U. had accepted all of the charges for the players, except for the late fee.

Danailov that he would look for a new host for the championship. He said he did not want to fight with Yazici or the Turkish federation. “We always try to find sponsors and sell chess. That is hard enough already.”

Full article at NY Times

ECU latest press release

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.

Full statement here