My intention was not to turn this into a chess blogg. But now when I have decided to celebrate Mr. Vassily Ivanchuk, I should also support him when he is in unfair trouble. I hope we all soon will be able to say that this was not trouble at all, this was nothing, and nothing it should be.
The chess organization of FIDE has a long tradition of messing up the chess world more than organizing it. It began with Campomannes from the Philippines, and now it is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov from Russia. Or perhaps we should say the republic of Kalmykia, where he is the president. As he is in FIDE. Kalmykia is located in Caucasian Russia, where there is oil, and Mr. Ilyumzhinov is suspiciously rich. He is the president of FIDE, and he can do what he want, because he has the money, and he may pay any event he would like to settle. He runs FIDE like the party leaders lead the Soviet Union, like the tsarists lead Russia, this is a one man, one (changing) will show.
After a full year of peace and understanding in the chess world. Turmoil and controversy are now back to make things recognizable again. Everything came from the also well run Olympiad in Dresden, Germany. Suddenly there was announced a drastic change in the Grand Prix cycle, this was to be the qualification to the world championship, the winner should meat the champion in 2009. Just now this was changed to qualification to “another tournament”. And from the 6 tough GP tournaments 2 players (out of 24 of the best players in the world) should qualify. 6 others should qualify, or get a more or less free spot, as all the losers in recent matches should be free to join (including Kramnik, the story will show). Magnus Carlsen has already announced his retirment from the GP, Leon Aronian has also written an open letter complaining. This spells collapsing to me.
There are not enough money in Ilyumzhinov’s pocket to dictate all the major chess players in the world. Both Aronian and Carlsen are so entertaining and fun to watch, they will never lack invitation to tournaments and great salary. They don’t need FIDE’s mess. I fully support them.
But this is a post in honor and support to the greatest of them all. Mr. Vassily Ivanchuk. He plays more games than anyone, he is entertaining on and off the board, and now he risks to be expelled from chess activites for a full 2 years. It would be a disaster for chess, I would just quit, never would I pay any money to any chess organisation in the world. And never would I watch any game organised from FIDE. Luckily, we have other tournaments, and I guess Ivanchuk wouldn’t lack invitations. I hope not.
The reason for his – well, what other word is there? – trouble, is that he refused to take a doping test after a traumatic loss against Gata Kamsky in the last round of the Olympiad. Traumatic losses are his trade mark, that is why we love him, and in this charming and passionate condition some FIDE official wanted him to take a dope test. He didn’t. And according to the clear – stupid – rules, to refuse a test is the same as not passing, which means two year off. Wow.
Which other organization could put themselves in such a situation? There are never ever anyone who has been tested positive for any kind of dope in the chess world, there are not even anyone who can say what the preparate should be. Cheating in chess is computers, not drugs. And this drug testing is just silly.
There are also other impacts should FIDE really follow their own rules. The medals in the Olympiad would be distributed elseway, Hungary would get bronze, instead of Israel, or was it some other country. In other words: The medals would be decided off the boards.
I see some “not so very fond of chess” people try to argue that the “rules are the rules”, and Ivanchuk should be punished, no matter what. I could say that in USA there were once upon a time some rules in some states that black people were not allowed to sit in the bus. We celebrate the one who did.
There are signs that everything will set out peacefully now. The Ukrainian chess federation has been informed, that Ivanchuk has to pass the test within tree months, and everything will be fine. And Ivanchuk has announced he didn’t even realised it was a doping control he refused to take, he understood nothing of the man talking to him.
Still, FIDE has put themselves in a situation where lot’s of players could sue them. Some have got some medals, which they perhaps shouldn’t have got according to some rules. And some lesser known players have been punished for refusing to take the test, and no one stood up for them. The easy solution is to cancel all this stupid drug testing once and for all. It has led to nothing but trouble. And – hopefully – the trouble is bigger for FIDE, than for the glorious Ivanchuk.
Without the players, FIDE is nothing. Without FIDE, the players are still everything. And Ivanchuk still does what he does best, play chess in tournaments all around the globe with tremendous results. Glory, glory!