Some progress has been made in the chess world, to stop discrimination against Israeli players. The European Chess Union (ECU) has unanimously adopted a resolution against individual boycotts from players, following the ECU General Assembly in Skopje on 23 March 2019, where chess players from 42 federations were represented.
Earlier this month UKLFI wrote to FIDE, reporting an Iranian player, Aryan Gholami, who had refused to play his Israeli opponent, Ariel Erenburg, at the Rilton Cup in Stockholm. UKLFI pointed out that multiple rules had been breached by the Iranian, and urged FIDE to act.
Additionally, the ECU General Assembly is asking FIDE to ban the practice of “special pairings” at the chess Olympiads, special tournaments, and all FIDE rated events when players from certain countries are discreetly kept apart by adjusting the pairing software.
For decades there has been a practice of manually amending the computer software that determines which teams play each other from round to round. Frequently, when they feel it’s necessary, the tournament arbiter or pairings committee will prevent nations or players from being drawn to face each other.
This manual interference with the competition circumvents the problem of certain countries whose players would refuse to play with other countries. However, this manipulation compromises the competition.
The circular letter of the ECU Board and the ECU General Assembly said: “A resolution against individual boycotts from players was adopted unanimously. Additionally, ECU General Assembly is asking FIDE to ban the practice of “special pairings” at the chess Olympiads, special tournaments, and all FIDE rated events when players from certain countries are discreetly kept apart by adjusting the pairing software.”
UKLFI has made written submissions to Arkady Dvorkovich, president of the World Chess Federation, FIDE, pointing out that multiple rules have been breached by the Iranian, and so far FIDE has failed to act.
Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “We are pleased that progress is being made to prevent future discriminatory behaviour by players.”