US Delegation's Report: 2016 FIDE Congress and General Assembly

ruthpicinbakuMichael Khodarkovsky – Delegate, Ruth Haring – US Zonal President and Walter Brown – QC Commission Councilor all contributed to this report, which presents highlights from the FIDE Congress Meetings September 4-14 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Ruth Haring on The 87th FIDE Congress in Baku: The FIDE Congress in Baku was jam packed with Commission meetings.  Because some of the meetings were conflicting with other meetings of interest, we sometimes had to attend for the first half of a meeting, and then run to another meeting and follow up later with any questions left over from other meetings.  At the Ethics Commission meeting, they invited questions from the audience, and then went into closed session. Some meetings, such as World Championships and Olympiad were not held. I followed up after the anti-cheating commission meeting with Yuliya Levitan and had a good discussion about anti-cheating measures in the US.  Yuliya is a lawyer and helping FIDE to integrate anti-cheating regulations into FIDE statutes.  She is also the FIDE anti-cheating person on the ground in the USA so I will work closely with her as Zonal President. Trainers (TRG) – The Trainer’s Commission was chaired by Adrian Mikhalchishin.  The Commission continues to conduct seminars worldwide to license trainers. TRG proposed for 2017 to contribute 50% of its revenues from the seminars to national federations where the seminars to take place. TRG leadership believes that this incentive plan will energize national federations to promote FIDE Trainers seminars in their respective countries. Constitutional Commission – Chaired by Roberto Rivello (ITA), this commission discussed a variety of issues. A significant portion of time was dedicated to the motion submitted by Jamaica Chess Federation (president Ian Wilkinson). This motion suggested the removal from the office FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov due to a devastating impact on the financial situation since the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Mr. Iljumzhinov.
ruthpichotelviewView From the window of the Fairmont, photo, Ruth Haring
It’s been established that Removal of the office of any of the elected officials must be dealt first by the Ethics Commission. Also, there is no provision of impeachment in the FIDE statutes. And finally, No Confidence vote is required two thirds of the votes. Having in mind all of the above, Mr.Wilkinson was suggested to modify his motion to the address to the General Assembly to open a discussion on the matter after President’s brief report. Mr.Wilkinson accepted that suggestion. walterbrownWalter Brown Reports on the Qualification Commission  I am a councilor on the Qualification Committee (QC).  The Chairman Werner Stubenvoll of Austria, Secretary Nick Faulks of Bermuda, and Councilors Paloma Gutierrez Castillo of Spain and myself had a meeting at the playing hall and discussed new rules and rating regulations.  On The 5th we held the first of two sessions that were scheduled for the QC. The first session was on title regulations.
  • For tournaments that give direct titles, a certain minimum rating needs to be met by the player before the title is awarded except in the World tournaments.
  • Four hour games without an increment of at least 30 seconds (2 hours for each player) will be allowed for title norms.
  • Starting on July 1, 2021 tournaments will need a 30 second increment to be a norm tournament. That is a long way off and could change by then.
  • For those trying to obtain FM, WFM, CM and WCM titles by rating: starting on July 1, 2017, a player will need to have played 30 games and have his rating at the minimum level for the title to have it awarded.
  • Regarding a player winning a game by forfeit in a norm tournament – He can still achieve an eight game norm but 27 games are needed for the title. It has been passed that 26 games would be needed in such a case. Only one such norm (8 game norm where he won a game by forfeit) is allowed in the application.
  • Submission of applications need to be in only 30 days in advance without an increase in the application fee. Previously, 60 days was the rule. It was felt that with all submissions and correspondence being done electronically, we do not need such a long lead time.
A second session of the QC was held two days later which mainly covered rating regulations.
  • An interesting discussion was held concerning time limits for the games and the strength of the players playing. These were left as is with this type of exception. If you have a 90 minute time control like game 90 or game 60 + 30 second increment per move, all players must be rated below 2200 FIDE. It will now be allowed that the stronger players can play but the games would not be rated for either the stronger player or the lower rated player. The games would not have to be removed when submitting the tournament file as the rating software in Elista will be able to take care of this. In US Chess tournaments, they would still be rated by the US Chess Federation. This would allow some stronger players who otherwise would have to sit out to play in these events.
  • The K factor was amended to reduce the K factor when a large number of games are played in a given rating period. There have been spikes of several hundred points in a rating period by some players. The maximum K is 40 and goes down as players play more games or they get a higher rating. To stop some of the monster gains, the K for a particular rating period will be your normal K (10, 20, or 40) or 700/n where n is the number of games played in that period, whichever is lower. If a player with a K of 40 plays 20 games in a rating period, his K would be reduced to 35 for that rating period. In exact terms, K is the largest whole number such that n times K <= 700. With 24 games, K would be 29.
  • 87congressArbiters Commission meeting. Walter Brown reports that in the arbiters meeting, very little was changed. One change was to allow 5 round tournaments be one of the norms for the FA title. This was approved and it means only one such tournament in your application. I believe then it was amended to be one 5 or 6 round event and for the IA, 7 or 8 round event and only one. This was to eliminate the idea that five rounds was good and seven rounds was good but what about 6 rounds? It was added that National Level arbiters be at least 16 years old. It was also added that if the Chief Arbiter was a NA, he cannot sign an IA norm certificate for an arbiter who was working the event.
The Rules Commission meeting had an interesting discussion was about touch move. As most TD’s are aware of, touch move is a problem. Obviously, we all know to say adjust (or j’adoube) when adjusting a piece (and only when we have the move). They have added a sentenced which goes: Any other physical contact with a piece, except for clearly accidental contact, shall be considered to be intent. One of the notable changes was moving towards some of the practices in the US. An example would be that if a game was started with an incorrect starting position and more than ten moves have been played, the game continues and you do not go back to starting the game over. The same goes for illegal moves which occurred more than 10 moves before. Exact wording of the rules still need to be approved in Baku and then they will be published on the FIDE website. Arbiters should then review them so that they understand what the new rules are. As with everything changed, they go into effect on July 1, 2017. The Commission for the Disabled was chaired by Thomas Luther and US Chess has recently formed a Special Needs and Circumstances Committee and invited Mr. Luther to join us so we are in synch on our efforts to support these programs and can share information quickly. The Commission for Women’s Chess meeting was chaired by Susan Polgar.  More information on the FIDE WOM website at: At On-line commission meeting it was pointed out that FIDE has less than 3,000 paid members that belong to the on-line Arena. The chairman gave out a lot of statistics on players, titles, etc. He pointed out an incident in the Women’s Blitz finals which was held in Rome. An Italian player at the event was in the middle of her game. The husband arrived home from work and logged in to see how his wife was doing in the event. Because it was the same login, it disconnected her from the game. She had one minute to re-connect which she was able to do. Swiss Pairings Systems. Walter Brown attended and reports that approved programs must be used for norm tournaments and all programs must be certified and re-certified for 2017. Thad Suits has been working on getting SwissSys approved. The commission has a pairing checker to interface with programs that need to be approved and Thad has had his check. After much working on it, he seems to have it approved.  Since the Dutch Pairing System has been changed, all programs are going to have to add these changes and be re-certified. venueviewVerification Commission – In the Verification Commission meeting it was confirmed that FIDE is running a deficit, which was described in the Commission’s report and discussed online, most notably in the article by Peter Doggers on  No definitive answers were given by the FIDE task force to improve finances, although it was mentioned by FIDE Treasurer Mr.Adrian Siegel and FIDE Executive Director Mr. Nigel Freeman that they are projecting a modest surplus in 2017. There are also other large areas of expenditure which are not transparent, like the expenses of the World Championship and Olympiads Commission and cost to pay the advisors to the President. It was confirmed at the Verification Commission meeting and in the General Assembly, that all payments by FIDE could be authorized only by three individuals, Mr.Siegel, FIDE Treasurer;  Mr. Freeman FIDE Executive Director; and Ms. Marinello, FIDE VP. Checks and transactions are executed by the latter two individuals only. mcihaelkinbakuFIDE America Continental meeting – In the Continental meeting we are represented by our FIDE Delegate, Mr. Michael Khodarkovsky. VP Darcy Lima opened the Continental America meeting with a roll call.  Thirty Delegates were in attendance and a quorum was declared. Continental President Vega addressed the body and discussed that CCA finances are still healthy, but there were temporary problems with the FIDE and CCA UBS bank accounts.  He said he hoped the account problems experienced by Mr. Illjumzjinov would soon be solved. Treasurer, Allan Herbert presented the budget and discussed cuts being made by FIDE to the Development Commission budget.  Herbert recommended that the CCA open another bank account, because the UBS account was temporarily blocked.  It was agreed to open an account in Barbados to be sure all funds are not blocked again.  The Treasurer's report was approved by the assembly and the Treasurer was discharged from further responsibilities for 2015. vegMr. Vega thanked the Treasurer for the excellent work and indicated that the next year would be difficult due to the cuts by FIDE and lower income expected from tournaments. The calendar of events was discussed and approved by the CCA Assembly.  Pictured is America’s Continental President Jorge Vega receiving an award at the General Assembly. While our delegation was busy with the FIDE Congress, our teams were performing very well. I was always eager to get over to the playing hall after the meetings were done for the day, and watch some chess. Busses left the Fairmont, where the Congress was held and went to the playing hall at a quarter past the hour.  This meant we could see the end of the games and walk around the venue and watch the other matches of interest after all of the Commission meetings for the day had finished. viewbaku The playing hall was out near the Caspian Sea in a very scenic location.  Every afternoon the wind would whip up and blow in big waves which would occasionally splash over the sea wall.  It wasn’t a cool wind, the temperature was in the 90 – 100 degrees F range while we were in Baku.
The US Team on the highest level on the Olympic podium along with the silver and bronze winners, Ukraine and Russia. Photo: Maria Emelianova, Official WebsiteThe US Team on the Olympic podium along with the silver and bronze winners, Ukraine and Russia. Photo: Maria Emelianova, Official Website
Security at the playing site was tight, with metal detectors at every door and a place to check in your cell phone and any electronic devices, including pens in your purse or backpack.  I was also asked to check my backup battery which I take along while traveling in case my phone power drains while I am out and about. Executive Board – The EB meeting was short and finished mid-morning with most items deferred to the General Assembly as is common in non-Olympiad years. The body is composed of the FIDE President, Honorary President, Deputy President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Presidents, Honorary Vice-Presidents, four Continental Presidents, four Continental Deputy Presidents, the Zonal Presidents, four elected representatives from each of the Continents, the Auditor, the current World Champion and Women’s World Champion. The Executive Board meets as a rule immediately before the General Assembly and once per non-Olympiad year. The Executive Board can be convened by the FIDE President at any time.  Procedures are subject to the same articles as set out for the General Assembly. In meetings of the Executive Board, the quorum is set to 50% of the voting members. At the General Assembly We are represented in the General Assembly meeting by our FIDE Delegate, Michael Khodarkovsky. You have probably already read about the FIDE President’s address to the General Assembly in which he talked about asking President Obama for citizenship so he could expedite his case to the Supreme Court, and take his winnings from the litigation to spend on chess.  There is also a petition sent to the White House asking for the case of the sanctions against the FIDE President to be expedited. After the President’s address, Mr. Ian Wilkinson did make his address and appeal to FIDE President to step down. This topic was allowed on the floor for discussion, and our Continental President Mr. Vega spoke in support of allowing discussion on the floor. President Vega also discussed the financial situation of FIDE and openly supported Mr.Wilkinson’s address at the GA suggesting that Mr.Iljumzhinov should not run in 2018 if imposed sanctions by the US Treasury are still in place.  No action was taken by the body, and as noted in the Constitutional Commission report, removal actions need to go through the Ethics Commission. FIDE VP, Mr.Gelfer at one point intervened, and tried to vilify and bully Ian Wilkinson while he was speaking in support of his address. Mr. Gelfer used inappropriate rhetoric saying that Ian was an enemy of FIDE, and thus should not be listened to.  FIDE VP Gelfer was rebuked on the floor for these attacks by delegates from Africa and Asia who considered his comments to be out of line and somewhat racist as well. The FIDE Treasurer’s report and Verification Commission Report were accepted after some questions from the floor.  FIDE is bleeding money and this is in a large part due to no control over the expenses of the President.  It was confirmed at the General Assembly as well as in the Verification Commission Meeting, that all payments by FIDE could be authorized only by three individuals, Mr.Ziegel, FIDE Treasurer;  Mr. Freeman FIDE Executive Director; and Ms. Marinello, FIDE VP. Checks and transactions are executed by the latter two individuals only. The Proposal regarding the World Championship by the President of the Russian Chess Federation, Mr. Filatov was rejected.  It was the position of a predominant majority of the Delegates that the Challenger for the title match must be selected through the process of qualification. Bids for the next years FIDE major events were presented at the GA.
  • The Women’s World Championship proposal from the Iranian Chess Federation was not presented as a bid as usual, e.g. no documentation published or information provided for Delegate or Executive Board Review. The date was set for 2017 and was awarded to Tehran, Iran.
  • World Youth Cadet Championships (age groups of U/8 – 10 – 12) was awarded to Spain
  • World Youth Championships (U14 -16 -18) awarded to Greece
  • 2018 world Junior and Girls Championships U20 awarded to Turkey
  • 2018 World Senior Championship awarded to Slovenia
  • 2018 Olympiad will be in Batumi, Georgia.
  • 2020 World Chess Olympiad was awarded to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. No other bids were submitted but a motion recommendation was ratified to recommend construction of more hotel rooms in Khanty-Mansiysk as local residents were moved into the space constructed for the last Olympiad in Khanty.
Ten nations were approved for membership in FIDE: Burkina Faso, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Timor Leste, South Sudan, Eritrea, Liberia, Nauru, Cabo Verde, plus Kosovo with an asterisk (Serbia objected). Titles approved: IA’s – Robert Messenger FA’s – David Hater, Chris Kim, John McCumiskey, Brian Yang “C” Arbiter upgrade – Steve Immitt.
Jennifer Yu WFM Chicago Open 2016 By Betsy Dynako Zacate-1117 Jennifer Yu by Betsy Dynako Zacate
WIM – Jennifer Yu IM’s – Michael Brown, Nicolas D Checa, Vignesh Panchanathan (conditional/rating), Atulya Shetty, Alexander Velikanov (conditional/rating) GM’s – Darwin Yang achieved a 2500 rating during the Washington International and FIDE has now confirmed his title. No dates or venue for the 2017 FIDE Congress was announced. Decisions are documented here:

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