Thursday, July 17, 2014
Norway vs Russia, Kasparov vs Putin
Controversy hits chess Olympics in Norway
July 17, 2014 1:51pm
The chess Olympic games in Norway next month could be under threat following the organisers' decision to exclude the Russian women's team, the current champions, who were not registered in time.
The organising committee of the games, to be held from August 1 to 14 in the city of Tromsoe in northern Norway, announced Wednesday its decision to bar 10 teams which had not registered before the June 1 deadline.
Leaving the Russian women's team out, despite the intervention of the World Chess Federation (Fide), means they will be unable to defend their title.
"(The) organisers of Tromsoe (have disappointed us)... Fide now has to consider very, very strict and strong measures against them," Fide vicepresident Israel Gelfer said.
He said he could not rule out that the games might even be cancelled as a result, dismissing the organisers' behaviour as "unacceptable".
The organisers said they had to apply the same rules to everybody.
"We have a regulation. We stick to it and treat everybody equally," the Norwegian committee director Boerge Robertsen said.
According to the website Chess News, Russia may have deliberately let the June 1 deadline pass for its women's team -- while its men's team was duly registered -- to buy time to add prodigy Kateryna Lagno to the line-up.
Ukrainian-born Lagno has just been granted transfer to the Russian chess federation -- a move she has reportedly said is not linked to the political situation in Ukraine.
The row coincides with a power struggle for the presidency of Fide, which should be decided during the games.
It is a battle between incumbent and controversial president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, from Russia, and his competitor, chess legend Garry Kasparov, much preferred by the West.
According to Canadian former chess grandmaster Kevin Spragget, Fide could try to organise the games in Russia with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin.