Arkadij Naiditsch Open Letter

Why the German A-team will not participate in the 2010 Olympiad

On 28th July German the top Grandmaster, Arkadij Naiditsch, unveiled some details about the German Chess Federation in an open letter to all media. As per request of Mr. Naiditsch we are publishing the text here.

This letter is not addressed to anybody directly. As a player of the German National team I would like to make some things clear about my hard working Federation and its President, Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker.

Let’s start with the fact that nobody from the German A-team is going to participate in the Chess Olympiad this year. These players are Georg Meier, Jan Gustafsson, Daniel Fridman and me, Arkadij Naiditsch. Why? The easy answer is that the biggest chess federation in Europe, about 100,000 active members, couldn’t manage to find money to pay the players.
So, the next question is “how could this happen”? This question is easy to answer as well: nobody in the federation has been doing anything for at least five years. The German Chess Federation has no sponsors at the moment, so the money is only coming from their members. Generally, even this should be enough to have a great and lazy life, but the main problem is the meetings attended by huge amounts of hungry officials that are being held almost monthly in expensive hotels.

The letter continues with Naiditsch describing how he sees the key persons in the German Chess Federation – “Let me now become a bit more direct, because I would like to single out a few people with whom I have had to deal with personally.”

There follows a letter from Prof. Dr. Robert von Weizsäcker (dated 29th June, translated by Chessvibes) where he is asking the players “to reconsider your position and accept the same terms as two years ago.” Otherwise the players would be suspended from receiving Federation’s support. Naiditsch goes on to clarify:

Arkadij Naiditsch
Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker found 0 Euros in two years of being the President of the German Chess Federation. (Maybe he simply has no time, being a Professor at a few universities?) The huge support he is threatening to cancel is this: for myself as German number one (my current ELO rating is 2684), the German Federation covers about half of my expenses for playing in exactly one tournament, the European Championship. That amounts to about 800 Euros a year, nothing more.

Now, of course, their direct threat to cancel all that help is making me sleep badly and giving me nightmares. Next time, maybe if I cover the coffee bill I hope Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker and my hard working Chess Federation will not cancel the important support for me?! We will see in the future if they have any mercy.
As we know, Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker is running his campaign for the ECU Presidency, and many European countries are giving their support to him. Now, the logical conclusion would be since he could do absolutely nothing for chess in his own country in two years, or again had no time for it, which, of course, led to the same result, can he do something for Europe? I would say probably not. So here comes the idea. Maybe we could open a charity foundation for the German Chess Federation and for Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker? Many people are sending small amounts for “saving the forest” so maybe it could work with my dear Federation and Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker, too? It is hard to find anybody coming across as more poor and helpless than the German Federation.

Chessdom has contacted the other two candidates for ECU Presidency, Mr.Silvio Danailov and Mr.Ali Nihat Yazici. Both were very moderate in their comments.

Q: The ECU election Campaign goes intensively. What is your opinion for the ongoing election Campaign?

Ali Nihat Yazici: I like the quality of the Campaigns in Europe on the contrary to what happens with the FIDE elections from Karpov’s side. We have created our Campaign program, our website and we are visiting all federations. We work very hard to convince each federation to support our group and our Campaign program. We do not talk only about elections but also how we may realise our dreams after the election. Based on the communication we have with federations, we are optimistic that we can win the elections on the first ballot, because everybody knows what I have done in my federation, Europe, and FIDE.

Silvio Danailov: I am very happy with our Program and Campaign so far. Our team is working very hard and we are optimistic regarding the elections.

Q: Did you read the interview of Mr.Arkadij Naiditsch about German Chess Federation?

Ali Nihat Yazici: Yes, I read it and it is a pity. However, this is not our business, as it is an internal problem of German Chess Federation. We will not touch such national issues. We are sure European delegates will evaluate everything and will choose the best candidate. We may say only that when we are managing European chess, we will solve such financial problems for all European federations, including the German Chess Federation. Our objective is to find new financial sources for the federations, and we are going to help all Federations, irrespective of their size or financial status. It is time that the leadership of Europe works for all the continent and we are going to do so. In a maximum of 2-3 years, such problems, like the one which is facing the German Chess Federation will not be any more an issue. As we have mentioned in our website,, all federations, big-small, rich-poor, strong-weak, everybody, will get benefit from the strong, positive wind we bring to European Chess.

Silvio Danailov: Yes, the letter of Naiditch is with great sense of humor, but in reality this is very sad story. However, I hope that the situation in German chess will improve in the future.