03 January 2013

What Is Going on Here?

Just before Christmas, Chessvibes.com reported, Bulgarian Chess Federation vs FIDE at CAS: case (partially) dismissed, where CAS stands for Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The requests filed by the Bulgarian Chess Federation on 22 October against the Fédération International des Echecs [...] are dismissed.

At the center of the Bulgarian complaint was FIDE's right to award future World Championship events to Agon. If the Chessvibes' article had been about nothing more than this, I wouldn't mention it here, but there was much more. Most important was the revelation that Agon had still not paid a cash deposit to FIDE of $500.000. The article quoted Nigel Freeman, Executive Director of FIDE:-

Obviously we would like it but, you know, we're in discussions with Agon about it. But their cashflow... because Chelyabinsk was cancelled, Agon had to do London by itself. And also because the contract was still being attacked in court, there were extenuating circumstances. [...] We haven't set a [new] deadline as such but we have a Presidential Board meeting on 18 and 19 January in Armenia where it will probably be discussed and where Andrew Paulson is invited.

On top of that, Silvio Danailov, President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, had only unkind remarks for Agon and its representative, Andrew Paulson:-

I have met Paulson & Co several times and I immediately realized that [they] are not serious and will be a complete disaster for chess after the Candidates where Azerbaijan pays the bill. So far this is their only sponsor. The London Grand Prix was one of the worse organized big chess events ever; everybody could see it. They have no money, no sponsors and absolutely no idea about chess at all.

A new angle for me was Danailov's assertion that there are other, unseen actors in the affair:-

Who is the real owner of Agon? Obviously Paulson is a simple employee which he confirmed during the CAS hearing. FIDE promised to disclose who is Agon's owner after the ratification of the contract and again silence and nothing happened. Why?

For more about the Bulgarian lawsuit, see European Chess Union NEWSLETTER 91 (17 September 2012). For more about 'one of the worst organized big chess events ever', see Silvio Danailov: "We don’t like being treated as fools!" (10 October 2012):-

I thought I had seen everything in the chess world, but…I have never seen such a way of running a tournament as that in London! I got the impression that nobody wanted this tournament at all. A bad playing hall, into which there was no entry, would you believe, constant noise from neighbouring areas (the restaurant was being refurbished), no demo boards or spectators in the playing room, and even in the press room there was nothing except a tiny monitor.

What most surprised me about all of this was the apathy of the Chessvibes readership. Where one would normally find dozens of informed comments, there was only one. What is going on here?

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