Ilya Levitov explained why the Chelyabinsk stage of the Grand Prix has fallen through (AUDIO)
The Chairman of the RCF Board Ilya Levitov explained the situation about the cancellation of the Grand Prix stage in Chelyabinsk to our site,
"When there was an announcement that a stage of the Grand Prix would happen in Chelyabinsk, the chess federation of that city didn't know about it. We wrote a letter to the company AGON stating that, according to a certain Russian Federation law, international sporting events, held on the country's territory, must be agreed with a sporting organisation accredited at the Ministry of Sport; in other words, at the Russian Chess Federation. In return, we got a polite reply with apologies and a request to allow them to hold a stage in Chelyabinsk. We said, 'Yes, you are welcome; you can hold all stages in Russia if you want and we would help you, but we have one condition'. The company AGON was given the right to select six participants for the Grand Prix. So we voiced our condition that three out of six participants should be Russians".
"AGON was suddenly given the right to decide six participants of the cycle for the World Champion's title. Why six? Why not ten? With all due respect, why should Andrew Paulson do it? We think that if you hold the competition on the Russian territory, and since there is sponsor's money intended for the internal development of chess that instead goes to the external development of chess (let's call it that), then include our chess players".
You can listen to Levitov's interview in the audio player (in Russian).
Yesterday we quoted Andrew Paulson from the site Chessdom.com. The American noted that the RCF and FIDE tried to resolve the situation with the Grand Prix stage in Chelyabinsk, but he didn't participate in it himself,
"FIDE has been trying to resolve this situation for months. I am not involved, but from what I understand Levitov and Dvorkovich informed local Chelyabinsk officials that they were not to work with us, and sponsors that they were not to pay the €300k promised, and I was even told that it would be a criminal offence if we held an event in Russia. A completely confusing situation for a foreigner!"
Update: Today, Andrew Paulson has given an exclusive statement to Chess-News.