Garry Kasparov: "Cancelling the Olympiad In Retaliation? Punishing 175 Teams For the Mistakes of One?

Thursday, 17.07.2014 19:26

"Why must it be that chessplayers always suffer for the errors and arrogance of officials and bureaucrats?" - Garry Kasparov asks in his statemenet published on ChessBase.

Kasparov was asked to comment on FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer's brief interview in which he said that "Unfortunately the Organizing Committee [of the Tromsø Olympiad] is influenced by people who are working for Garry Kasparov. They are using it for their election purpose".

"I cannot explain the bizarre statements of FIDE vice-president Israel Gelfer," Kasparov writes. "What would I or the Norwegian organizers have to gain from excluding the celebrated Russian women’s team? And he wants to cancel the Olympiad in retaliation? Punish 175 teams for the mistakes of one? Such absurd arrogance! This matter does not involve me or my campaign for FIDE president. This is a transparent attempt to look for excuses and scapegoats for a self-inflicted disaster. The Russian Federation’s statement doesn’t address the obvious question of why they didn’t submit their women’s team on time, as they did with the men’s team. It’s obvious they were waiting for Lagno’s transfer to strengthen their team and intentionally allowed the registration deadline to pass to do so. Would permitting this devious maneuver be fair to all the other teams that followed the rules and registered on time?."

Kasparov says excluding Russian national team from the Olympiad is a tragedy as for the players, so for the organizers and fans, but the former world champion also stresses that everyone should be treated equally and therefore Russian chess federation shouldn't be expecting that the organizers will make any exceptions for it.  

"I’m sure the Russian Federation believed, and had been told, that FIDE would let them violate the rules and receive an exception. As the Norwegians’ open letter to Freeman attests, FIDE tried this by citing the President’s “nuclear option” of statute 6.1, the magic rule that says no other rules matter and that the President can do whatever he wishes, regardless of contracts or partnerships. (For me this brings back sour memories of 1985, when FIDE president Florencio Campomanes used the equivalent rule 6.11 to terminate my first world championship match with Karpov.)"

Further Kasparov writes on having rules as such: "That’s the real danger here, the real threat to the global chess community. Either we have rules and accountability and professionalism or we do not. Either we have consistency and transparency or we have instability and prejudice. I have often criticized the FIDE “zero tolerance” rule that forfeits a player for even a moment’s delay in reaching the board. But allowing for common sense and dignity is not the same as intentionally violating the rules. The Russian Federation is neither ignorant nor innocent in this case. The have sacrificed their players by seeking unfair advantage and FIDE attempted to bully the Norwegian organizers into allowing it."

The open letter at full


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