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Shabalov withdraws from FIDE WC

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From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania comes the announcement by US Champion Alexander Shabalov (pictured with women's champion Anna Hahn) that he will not travel to Libya for the 2004 FIDE World Championship. He writes,

"The reluctance of FIDE to deal with the issues raised in the ACP open letter of May 26th and the publishing of "final list of participants" with my fellow chess players and friends excluded based on their nationality makes it impossible for me to participate in WCC in Tripoli."

A classy move of solidarity that follows a protest from the USCF, the withdrawal of Boris Gulko, and the refusal of many American qualifiers to send in their player agreements. It is rumored that top American qualifier Alexander Onischuk will also withdraw. [Update 19:00: His withdrawal is now confirmed. American/Polish GM Wojtkiewicz is one of the replacements. At least one of my old Argentine pals might make it in as well. Dale Ariel!] It's a terrible shame that FIDE's decision to hold its championship where all players cannot participate equally has cost Israel all of its qualifiers and most of the Americans as well.

When Gulko confirmed his withdrawal four days ago FIDE hastily took down their "final" list of players and put up a bizarre list of "candidates to replace him." Huh? What happened to the reserve system? Are the four players listed supposed to play for the spot, or does the first one to sign the agreement get the spot, like a radio call-in contest for AC/DC tickets? (Two of the players, D. Gurevich and Novikov, are Jewish and may have their own concerns about playing in Libya.)


For players who who qualified by rating or some other means than a qualifying tournament, they use the reserve list. For players who qualified via a tournament, they replace them with the next finisher. This is the order of finishing in the Americas qualifier:


Way to go Shabalov and Onischuk! I wish more players could stand up for what is right and not just go for the money. I had the privelege of meeting Shabalov in Moscow in 1994 at the Olympiad, and he is a wonderfully nice guy, so I am not surprised that he withdrew. Come on all you other players- boycott this shameful event!

Just saw this article about the current woes in the chess world, and it even mentions MIG- http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2004/06/03/003.html

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 2, 2004 3:19 AM.

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