Das Appellationskomitee: Anmerkungen von Bartlomiej Macieja

06.10.2006 – Die Vorfälle beim Wettkampf in Elista zeigen, dass die FIDE anscheinend nicht in der Lage ist, als Wettkampfausrichter diesen unter regulären Bedingungen über die Bühne zu bringen. Vor allem das Personal des Appeals Committee und dessen offenbar unkundige Anwendung der Regeln haben den Streit auf die Spitze gebracht. Yasser Seirawan hatte dargelegt, wie die Rgeln aus seiner Sicht hätten angewendet werden müssen. Martlomej Macieja (Sekretär der Spielerorganisation ACP), hat dazu einige Anmerkungen und beschreibt auf eindringliche Weise, wie er selber die Inkompetenz eines FIDE- Appelationskomitee bei einer Weltmeisterschaft am eigenen Leib zu spüren bekam. B.Macieja: Comments (engl.)...

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Comments on Yasser Seirawan's "The Layman's Guide to World Chess Match Officials"

Dear Yasser

I have read your "The Layman's Guide to World Chess Match Officials" with great interest and have decided to add a few comments. I hope you will find them useful.

1) You suggested, that "The Appeals Committee is there to consider protests regarding decisions by the Chief Arbiter." and "Now we come to the first mistake. The Chairman of the Appeals Committee, Georgios Makropoulos, agreed to receive the complaint. Given that Danailov's complaint did not concern a decision by the Chief Arbiter, Makropoulos should have had nothing to do with it and should simply have referred the matter to the Match Director.".

In principle, I fully share your point of view regarding roles and responsibilities of match officials, however in this particular case, according to the point 3.17.1 of the Match Regulations:

The (Appeals B.M.) Committee may decide on the following matters:
a) an appeal against a decision by an arbiter,
b) a protest against a player's behaviour,
c) a complaint alleging false interpretation of the regulations,
d) a request for the interpretation of specific regulations,
e) a protest or complaint against any participant, or
f) all other matters which the Committee considers important.

It means, the Appeals Committee was not only allowed, but even forced to accept a complaint under investigation. Obviously, after receiving clarifications from Mr Kramnik, the complaint should have been rejected, as it was completely clear its main aim was to disturb the opponent, to increase tension, and to change a subject, as the chess things were looking very bad for Mr Topalov. It is really difficult to understand what kind of improvement it is to have one toilet instead of two.

2) Regarding the judgement: "As John Nunn pointed out in his article on Elista, the members of the Appeals Committee for the Kramnik v Topalov match are egregiously ill-suited.", I would like to inform you, that already last year the ACP sent an official letter to FIDE, suggesting for Candidates Matches: "We believe that a player should have the right to ask FIDE for the change of an arbiter of his match or a member of the Appeal Committee, providing necessary written explanations. FIDE should then find a substitution." and receiving the following answer: "Concerning the arbiters, we begin point 3.16.1 with "The arbiters of the Candidates Matches will be nominated by FIDE after consultation with the players." For the Appeals Committee it's a matter of principle that its members would decide on issues objectively and with no external influence. So an amendment there doesn't seem necessary.".

3) My last comment concerns your guess that "To my knowledge, it is unprecedented in the history of World Chess Championship matches for a forfeit win, signed by the Chief Arbiter, to be overturned.".

I would like to come back to the events of the 1999 FIDE World Chess Championship in Las Vegas. According to the official pairings, I should have been played against Mr Michal Krasenkow. In the last moment it appeared, that two players seeded immediately to the second round didn't arrive. The main arbiter, Mr Geurt Gijssen, stated, they should have been replaced by the reserve players, as it was written in the Regulations of the 1999 FIDE World Chess Championship. Nevertheless, the Appeals Committee decided to change the regulations, so the two missing players seeded directly to the second round were substituted by the two players with the highest ratings seeded to the first round, while they were substituted in the first round by two reserve players. Because of that, my over 200-hour preparations with a coach were (at short-term) useless, as my opponent had changed from Mr Michal Krasenkow to Mr Vadim Milov. Obviously I wasn't glad about the arisen situation, but I didn't complain and the following day went for the first game of my match against Mr Vadim Milov. When my opponent didn't show up at the playing hall, I asked a round-arbiter whether I won my first game by forfeit. He answered positively, the main arbiter confirmed, adding, he would check if I won only that game or already the whole match. After that declaration I went to my room to prepare for the second game, just in case Mr Vadim Milov would arrive and I would have to play the second game. I was sure, a draw in it would be sufficient for me to win the whole match and I prepared my strategy accordingly. How unpleasantly I was surprised when just a few hours before a round, in the moment when I was leaving my room for a lunch, I got a call from the main arbiter, who informed me about the decision of the Appeals Committee (which he personally disagreed with), that my match against Mr Vadim Milov would have to be played from the beginning. That was a terrible news for me, because it meant, my whole preparations were once more destroyed, as a draw was not any longer sufficient for me to qualify to the second round. Instead of thinking how not to lose a game I was forced to start thinking how to win the whole match! It is worthy to add, that if the main arbiter called me 5 minutes later, he would not reach me at a room and I would probably get known about the sudden change of the situation just at the playing hall!

Immediately after that call, together with my second - Mr Yury Shulman, we went to the room of the Appeals Committee, asking for an explanation of their decision. We found only Mr Israel Gelfer, who informed us, we could write a protest if we strongly wanted to, but we would have to pay a fee of 200USD, while "additionally" he assured us, the protest would be rejected whatever we would write in it. After hearing such a statement, already knowing the decision of the Appeals Committee to my appeal-to-be, I decided ... not to lose 200USD and the match started from the beginning, but with a delay of one day and ... reversed colours. According to the schedule, a round consisted of three days: two days for two classical games and a seperate day for tie-breaks. I lost the first game, the second game was moved to a seperate hall, as it was impossible to concentrate for a classical game having so many rapid and later blitz games played around. As I won it, a problem arose when we should play tie-breaks. It was too late to start on the same day, while there was already a first game of the second round scheduled for the following day! The Appeals Committee, selected (as we well know) by strictly professional criteria, didn't foresee such a simple situation! To save the championship, the main arbiter proposed to start our tie-break the following day, cutting the time limit and the total number of games! Eventually I won that match, but a few hours later I had to play the first game of the second round against Mr Rafael Leitao. Meanwhile I had to eat something and try to rest. I was unprepared, tired, also I found it very difficult to adapt to the new situation in which I had to fight so soon in another so important match against another opponent, with completely different time control. I lost that game and as the second was drawn, I got eliminated from the Championship.

I still cannot understand how something like that could happen. I came on time, was present at the opening ceremony, fulfilled all conditions predicted in all possible regulations, but I couldn't play like any other player. I was unable to protest (to be more precise - I was told even before I wrote a protest, that it would be rejected), I didn't get any compensation, and I even didn't receive any excuse neither from FIDE nor from the Appeals Committee. The only thing I got was a letter signed by Mr Emanuel Omuku, without a phrase "we are sorry" etc., but with a phrase "Thank you for understanding", which made me only angrier. I wonder if a similar letter has already been sent to Mr Kramnik.

With best regards
Bartlomiej Macieja
Warsaw, 6th of October 2006



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