12 June 2012

Olympiad Size Politics

The name Ali Nihat Yazici has already appeared several times in this blog. Two years ago, in June 2010, in a post titled Three Elections, I favored Yazici over Silvio Danailov for the presidency of the European Chess Union.

I initially favored Danailov. He has many good ideas about how to promote chess and he gets things done. Unfortunately, his chronic lack of diplomacy is a serious handicap. [...] A better choice is Ali Nihat Yazici. He also has many good ideas, he gets things done, and he knows how to get his way without using brass knuckles.

Yazici eventually lost to Danailov, but that's the way elections work. Participation means accepting an adverse result that is the will of the majority. A year and a half later, in December 2011, Yazici's name came up a couple of times in Out to Ruin FIDE?, a discussion on two lawsuits that arose from the 2010 FIDE Presidential election. According to the minutes of the 2011 Executive Board meeting at the 82nd FIDE Congress, Yazici is on record as saying 'in any democracy suing is the right of any member'.

A few months ago, in FIDE/ECU Chess in Schools, I tied the lawsuits to the 'Chess in School' programs:

[There is] ongoing friction between FIDE and Kasparov: Out to Ruin FIDE? Chess politics being what it is, that conflict spilled over to the CIS programs: Official Statement by Ali Nihat Yazici, Chairman of Chess in School Commission [Fide.com; November 2011].

Yazici's name came to the forefront again this past week: Turkish Chess Federation denies arbiters from seven federations to Istanbul Olympiad [Chessvibes.com].

Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE. [signed, Ali Nihat Yazici, President of Turkish Chess Federation]

The seven federations were the same that launched the two lawsuits mentioned in 'Out to Ruin FIDE?' As for the principle that 'in any democracy suing is the right of any member', I can only assume that FIDE is not just 'any democracy'. Is it only ironic that Yazici was one of the beneficiaries of the action that brought on the second lawsuit? A day or two later, six of the seven targeted federations reacted: Chess Olympiad in Istanbul – officials from seven countries banned [Chessbase.com].

The open letter from Mr Yazici acknowledges that nominated individuals from seven federations were excluded because of legal action taken by those federations against FIDE. This is irrelevant to the selection of the Olympiad arbiters and cannot be considered anything other than a discriminatory political act.

Since losing to Danailov, Yazici has consistently been at odds with the European Federation; see, for example, the series on Turkish Chess Federation @ nytimes.com. In this dispute he has not been above threatening lawsuits of his own, e.g. Mismanagement of ECU:

As the Turkish Chess Federation, we declare that if the statutes are changed in Aix-les-Bains, we will sue the ECU directly to cancel this change. [...] We propose to the general assembly that these three organizers should be sued by the ECU to collect their debts.

Emanuel Lasker, the second World Champion, famously said, 'On the chessboard lies and hypocrisy do not survive long'. Too bad the same doesn't apply to chess politics.

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