Thursday, January 31

Editorial Regarding Changes By FIDE

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) sanctions international competition among master and professional level chess players.  One right of passage for advanced juniors (and adults too) is earning a published FIDE rating.  In the USA, organizers host three categories of FIDE rated events: invitational round-robins (often called norm tournaments), rating restricted Internationals, and the Open/Master section at high profile (big money) weekend tournaments.  The author of the editorial below organizes many of the biggest weekend events across the country, including World Open, North American Open and Golden State Open.

The current issue involves the registration and licensing of all players in a FIDE rated tournament.  Starting July 1, participants in a FIDE rated section must be registered and licensed with FIDE, prior to the first round.  Licensing costs nothing--for now.  Registration is more complex, e.g. including a player's passport number.  The burden lies on the organizer, with financial penalties on top of already high fees.  These rules come on the heels of a new license for arbiters to run any FIDE tournament.

Bill Goichberg decided that his Continental Chess Association will not cooperate with the latest edict.  Instead, he will stop submitting tournaments to FIDE.  Smaller organizers may follow suit.  Players will see a decrease in opportunities to play FIDE rated games and compete for norms.  Only invitational round-robins escape the brunt of these rules, since it is easier to register 10 players who have been invited well in advance.

The last word has not been spoken.  Stay tuned. -- fpawn

Update on February 11: "Dear friends, The licensing of the players has been cancelled. The new documents about registration will be presented in due course. FIDE Secretariat"

Bill Goichberg
Continental Chess will not participate in the FIDE registration/licensing process, and does not plan to hold FIDE rated tournaments which begin after June 30. The idea that we have to register players for FIDE before the first round is ludicrous, and would probably cause that round to start very late. We also are not going to do the work of contacting advance entries to try to register them for FIDE online.

I predict that because of complaints, FIDE will modify this requirement to allow registration to be submitted with the rating report. I thought about whether CCA could accept this and decided that no, we are not going to do all that extra work just because FIDE says so. There is also the issue of the passport numbers facilitating identity theft. I suggest that USCF inform FIDE that it will not register players either.

A plan I'm considering for the World Open is to modify our publicity to bring back the two weekend schedule, probably in the Open Section only. This will make the starting date of the overall event June 29 rather than July 1, which should mean it will use June FIDE ratings and not be subject to the changes effective July 1. We will have to use 40/90, SD/30, inc/30 in the Open Section for norms to be possible, but won't need to do any FIDE registration. After the World Open, we will hold no more FIDE rated tournaments unless the registration and licensing nonsense is repealed, and not replaced by something else similarly objectionable.

The FIDE method appears to be gradually issuing one edict after another announcing new fees, restrictions, or tasks that federations and organizers are required to pay, observe, or undertake. When there is an outcry they back off somewhat, but soon they return with another version of the same thing, and ultimately, little by little, they get what they want. If they insisted on everything immediately, too many organizers and federations might quit, so instead they announce a big power/money grab and "generously" settle for less, but soon are back with a different power/money grab. Each time, many federations are unhappy and object, but then grudgingly go along, thinking that even given the latest outrage, it's still worth being part of FIDE. This acceptance is a mistake. When the arbiter fees were passed as a result of Kirsan declaring them approved without objection and not allowing opponents of the fees to speak or vote (microphones disabled), that would have been a good time for a group of federations to tell FIDE, "No arbiter fees or we drop out of FIDE." Now we have another chance to draw a line in the sand, and I hope the letter of complaint from the Netherlands Chess Federation to FIDE issues such a warning if their latest idiotic rules are not quickly annulled.

FIDE already charges very high federation dues, rating fees, title fees, arbiter fees, federation switch fees, late fees, etc. They now have an individual membership fee for scholastic players and a "relisting fee" for delisted players (not clear why USCF would want to delist players but presumably FIDE will force us to), and they want to in effect collect from multiple federations in the same country by having "FIDE Academy" fees and giving the academies powers previously reserved for federations (the right to submit rating reports to FIDE, to apply for CM titles, and to send players to the World Youth). It's only a matter of time before all "registered players" are required to renew their "licenses" by paying a fee.

If we can get some other leading chess countries to participate, it may be time to help set up a new international association to calculate ratings and award titles. This could certainly be done at far less cost than what FIDE has been charging.

Bill Goichberg

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