With top officials from the World Chess Federation, FIDE, meeting today in
Sydney, the world body has been embarrassed by statements by its World
Championship Director indicating that this year's open and women's
Championships are facing major problems.
The open Championship, a knock-out tournament, will begin in New Delhi in
November with the six-game final due to be played in Iran.
FIDE's WC Director, Willy Iclicki, has admitted that FIDE faces a shortfall
of up to $US1.3m on the upcoming events which could blow out to $3.5m
should an Israeli player reach the open final.
"Iran has offered $2.2m; India will cover the organisation cost," said
Iclicki. "About $US1.3m is missing from the prize fund."
However, with Iran refusing to grant visas to Israeli players, "FIDE would
be very happy if an Israeli would not qualify for the finals," said
"This is an emergency situation," he admitted, since FIDE would then have
to move the final and would lose Iran's sponsorship.
In 1993, FIDE held a World Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and
Jan Timman. The second half of the match was due to be played in Oman, the
sole provider of the prize fund. Oman withdrew their offer, leaving the
Championship in crisis and the players with no money. (The match was later
rescued by Indonesian businessman and soon-to-be IOC member Bob Hasan,
currently on trial for fraud in Jakarta.)
With Israel's Boris Gelfand one of the top seeds in India, a repetition of
the 1993 scenario is far from impossible, but the spectre of the world body
desperately hoping for the failure of one of the participants is perhaps
the ugliest feature of the whole affair.
Olympic Chess Competition
In the diagrammed position, (WKd6,Nf7,Rh3,Pd5,Pf6; B Ke8,Qg2,Pb7) White's
pieces appear to be hanging by a thread, yet White, to move, can force a
The first correct entry opened after October 4 will win a special bronze
medallion commemorating the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match. The next four
correct entries will win a commemorative envelope from the 1972 match.
Entries should be sent to: Sun-Herald Chess Competition, GPO Box 506,
Sydney 2001, or faxed to 02-92822151.