Open Letters From Bill Goichberg, Susan Polgar and Gata Kamsky

Letters flying in over the last several hours

November 7, 2008

Open Letter From Bill Goichberg

Open letter to FIDE Office and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

The U.S. Chess Federation is astonished to hear the latest position of FIDE regarding the Kamsky vs. Topalov match.

On June 1, 2008, FIDE announced that this match would take place in Lvov, Ukraine, beginning November 28, with a prize fund of $750,000. Following is the FIDE press release of that date, as posted on the FIDE website:

President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has announced that the World Championship Challenger Match between Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Gata Kamsky (USA) will take place in Lvov, Ukraine in November 2008.

The organiser offered a prize fund of 750,000 USD and to hold the match on the “neutral” territory of Ukraine, as the players wanted to avoid Bulgaria or the USA. President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov guarantees the organiser’s offer by backing the event from his personal finances.

FIDE Presidential Board acknowledged the offer as well as the guarantee and assigned Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to conclude the final contracts and to check the availability of the finances. The Match will be held in dates between November 26th and December 14th 2008.

Now we are being told that the “guarantee” that FIDE announced can be withdrawn because the organizer of the Lvov match has failed to make the necessary payment to FIDE? But this guarantee had significance only under precisely these circumstances!

If the organizer had made this payment, then for the FIDE President to “back the event from his personal finances” would not be necessary. Since the organizer has failed to make the payment, “backing the event from his personal finances” is now needed- and FIDE’s position appears to be that it was happy to promise backing with words only, but that backing with actual money was not what FIDE had in mind. Incredible!

Retail products are often sold with guarantees. Imagine if your product does not work, and you return it for repair or refund, and the seller says “Sorry, we have decided that the guarantee we offered is only valid if the product is working perfectly.” That is exactly what FIDE is trying to do to the players in this match.

The chess world and the media will not be so easily fooled. It is apparent that FIDE made a public commitment, and now is seeking to back out for no valid reason. A “guarantee” is not subject to being revoked at the whim of the guarantor. Please reconsider this very unwise and inappropriate action.

Sincerely Yours,

Bill Goichberg

President, US Chess Federation

Open Letter From Susan Polgar

Bill,

Please kindly verify that this is only your personal opinion or the opinion of various individuals. As a board member of the US Chess Federation, I did not authorize this letter nor have I seen this open letter before it was published. You definitely do not have my permission to speak on my behalf. This is the first time I am seeing it.

This is a very serious matter as it will clearly affect the professional careers of two great players: Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov. I would like to see these two world-class players settle their differences on the chess board and not through war of words. I encourage all parties to engage in diplomatic and respectful negotiation sessions to come up with a sensible solution instead of adding more fuel to the fire with this type of open letters.

Our chess community has suffered enough already. If you would like to be personally involved in this negotiation, you are more than welcome to come to Dresden next week and speak to the FIDE officials. But let’s not go down this destructive path with no possible amicable ending.

Best wishes,

Susan Polgar

USCF Minority Board Member

Bill Goichberg Clarifying

Susan, I am speaking for the USCF, which means the majority of the Executive Board. I have not claimed that every member of the Executive Board agrees with my statement.

Bill Goichberg

Open Letter From Gata Kamsky

Dear President, gentelmen, Susan,

When I first seen Bill’s letter I was happy, because finally USCF has been showing strong support for their representative. Whether there could be a better solution or a more diplomatic one is a good question, but the reality is that there is no time to negotiate and given FIDE’s strong-arm history of negotiating, it is not likely to succeed. When I spoke with FIDE Vice President Mr. Makropoulos in Greece, it was decided that both my team and Mr. Topalov’s team would meet during the rest day at the Olympiad in Dresden to negotiate and discuss everything, including technical details. With their last public statement, Mr. Illumjinov not only attempted to revoke his personal guarantee of the match, but he also imposed the time limit of 1 week for the players to acceed to his demands and at the same time re-awarded the bid to the Bulgarian Federation, which was the original FIDE’s intention in the first place. You all are aware of the clause in the FIDE regulation for this “special” match that gave the Bulgarian Chess Federation a privilege of matching any bid that is coming from my side, which effectively ruined any attempt to find and submit a bid from the United States.

Throughout the negotiations with my managers, FIDE did nothing to find a sponsor on their own, despite the fact that it was sole FIDE’s decision to create this match and thus, to allow Mr. Topalov a backdoor into the final steps of the qualification proceedings for the world championship title, quite unfairly, I might add.

FIDE’s entire purpose, for the chessplayers, for fairness has been changed into a special interest group organization and I personally believe that any negotiations with FIDE rulers or tsars, or whatever you like to call them, will be unsuccessful.

The time for the negotiation is over and the only way to fight FIDE is to expose their mistakes, and perhaps fight them in a court of law if and when FIDE broke the law. Therefore, I would respectfully request all USCF Board members to unite and find ways to make sure that justice and fairness will prevail.

Sincerely,

Gata Kamsky