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Libya, Oh Libya...

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Does that remind anyone else of an old Groucho Marx song? (MP3 here) And it's something like a Marx Brothers movie, too. "A Day at the Camel Races" maybe. GM Joel Lautier of the ACP took a break from promoting the Kramnik-Leko match to write this strongly worded letter castigating FIDE and Ilyumzhinov for having the event in Libya, where Israeli players will be at a serious disadvantage if indeed they are allowed into the country at all.

Great, if a bit on the late side. I started ranting about this in February, about two months before "Libya" was mentioned by the ACP, and that was only in regard to the player agreement. If the ACP has any clout at all, which is still an open question because their members seem to prefer to sacrifice the other guy's pieces, so to speak, it needed to be exercised immediately, the moment FIDE announced Libya. If you can show overwhelming resistance to something this stupid quickly enough you can get results. (E.g. Ilyumzhinov backing down from playing the 1996 FIDE WCh in Iraq.) Waiting three months allows FIDE to say it's too late to make changes and gives the impression you really don't care that much.

Of course FIDE did use the bait-and-switch with the Malta alternative venue in order to gain time. No one said they were stupid. No, wait, I just did. But they have been crafty. American writer Paul Hoffman is determined to attend the WCh in Tripoli and has been jumping through an amazing number of hoops with the State Department to do so. The best part? You can't use American credit cards or traveler's checks there, so it's cash only. Then they warn you about the high level of street crime! Libyan thieves, take note!


Oh joy, another strongly-worded letter. I bet Ilyumzhinov and the Libyan authorities are quaking in their boots. 'Oh no; we'd better not do anything else that sucks big-time! Someone might write to me. Aaaaiiiieeee!'

I hope that the ACP can one day reach a point where it has political leverage over the monkey-boys at FIDE. Until then - like you said in the DD yesterday, Mig - all this planning and telling-off will mean naff-all until hard cash is put on the table.

oh my god, they are planning to held the event in a place where one can't use American credit cards or traveler's checks??? Are they mad? At least I hope there is a McDonald-Restaurant in the town, if not I would protest against these inhuman conditions!

I can't hear and understand this stupid ranting about Libya, it's a country with a dubious history like many in the world and it has taken serious steps to reintegrate in the world comunity. I think it is worth to support and welcome that. All speculations of problems for Israeli players have been vanished and I don't want to know which procedures a Syrian player would face if he would like to participate in an Israeli tournament.

regards Joachim

All problems for Israelis have vanished? That's simply false. Follow the link to Lautier's letter for the latest status.

Israel has long hosted events with participants from Arab states. The next computer chess championship will welcome the Hydra team from UAE, for one example. If they will come, of course.

The credit card comments was to illustrate the lack of formal relations and the practical difficulties of hosting an event in a country under international sanctions. Would it be stupid ranting if Germans weren't allowed to come with trainers or family but all the other players could?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 26, 2004 11:36 PM.

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