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Banda
26-10-2011, 10:24 PM
http://pakchess.org/images/stories/pakchess/tournaments/international-tournaments/2011/October/Corsican-Circuit-2011/maghami-ehsan-ghaem.jpg

Organisers of an international chess tournament in Corsica said on Tuesday they had expelled Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami for refusing to take on an Israeli player. Scheduled to face Ehud Sachar in the fourth round of the Corsica Masters in the French island's city of Bastia, Maghami told organisers he would not play the Israeli for political reasons.

Read the full story (http://pakchess.org/hot-stories/iranian-gm-refuses-to-play-israeli-opponent)

Max Illingworth
26-10-2011, 11:00 PM
Is it against Iranian law for an Iranian citizen to compete in a sport against an Israeli?

Garvinator
26-10-2011, 11:29 PM
Is it against Iranian law for an Iranian citizen to compete in a sport against an Israeli?Have no idea. I had a look at his rating information on the fide website for the last few years and I could not find one time when he played a person listed as representing Israel.

Keong Ang
27-10-2011, 11:18 PM
Is it against Iranian law for an Iranian citizen to compete in a sport against an Israeli?

Yes.
And that applies for many other Arab states as well.

Normally the arbiter would check that such pairings are not made at all as they are "forbidden pairings".
You'd find such things in the unwritten forbidden pairings list!! :eh:

Capablanca-Fan
28-10-2011, 12:19 AM
Good on the arbiter for expelling this antisemite.

machomortensen
28-10-2011, 02:29 AM
Shaun Press expresses some interesting points of view the 25th. october about this "event".

http://chessexpress.blogspot.com/

One can always try a "Shalom"...

Max Illingworth
28-10-2011, 08:45 AM
Good on the arbiter for expelling this antisemite.

When speaking to Peter Doggers of Chessvibes, Ghaem Maghami stated:


It was something normal for me. Time to time it happens that I meet an Israeli player in the pairings. I want to emphasize that personally I don't have any bad relations with anyone from Israel. I respect people from all over the world and I understand very well that we are all sports men.

Personally, I don't agree with the arbiters' decision at all. Ghaem Maghami would like to have played his fourth round game, but under his country's law he cannot. The simplest solution is to have forbidden pairings in the pairing program before the event as suggested by Keong.

MichaelBaron
28-10-2011, 10:34 AM
Good on the organizers for expelling that shit. Let him go back to the cave and play other cavemen. International sporting events should be above politics.

MichaelBaron
28-10-2011, 10:48 AM
The simplest solution is to have forbidden pairings in the pairing program before the event as suggested by Keong.

So how does it work? Israel is a small country but has a lot of strong players. Some of the Spanish/French opens have 5-7 Israeli GMs in them and the GMs are usually on the ''top boards'' what if there is also an Iranian GM playing? At some point he may get an unfair advantage by avoiding some of the top seeds. And what if I inform organizers in advance that I am a member of a sect does not allow me to play against women? and what if I do not want to play with fat people? shall there be pairing provisions?

Kevin Bonham
28-10-2011, 10:52 AM
I'd think the use of a "forbidden pairings" solution could be argued to technically invalidate a tournament for norm purposes, ie

1.11 "The tournament system must be a fair one. Tournaments where the composition is changed (without FIDE approval) during the tournament or those where players have different conditions in terms of rounds and pairing are not valid."

Now to me it seems that if one player can play against an Israeli (or an Iranian for that matter) but another cannot then those two players have different conditions in terms of pairing. Indeed if there is a tournament in which Israelis (or Iranians) are the strongest players, then a player boycotting playing them for political reasons could gain an unfair score advantage - though that would most likely damage norm chances for both the player and their opponents.

Rincewind
28-10-2011, 10:52 AM
I agree with the arbiter's decision but I don't blame Ghaem Maghami. He would probably be banned for life if he had played.

See this story on a weightlifter who has been banned because he stood next to an Israeli competitor during a medals ceremony.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/140623#.Tqn69k-YlfJ

So I agree that it is unsporting to refuse to play. But the problem seems to be with the government's treatment of their own representatives, not the individual representatives themselves.

Kevin Bonham
28-10-2011, 11:02 AM
Really the only solution I can see is that if a government insists on such policies its players should not compete in the same tournament as those from the disliked country, except for Olympiads and other such events, in which case the odd forfeit might have to be tolerated in the interests of inclusiveness.

Rincewind
28-10-2011, 11:11 AM
Really the only solution I can see is that if a government insists on such policies its players should not compete in the same tournament as those from the disliked country, except for Olympiads and other such events, in which case the odd forfeit might have to be tolerated in the interests of inclusiveness.

I agree and certainly if you are going to be banned by simply appearing in the award ceremony along side of a dislike foreign national then you are taking a risk if there is any chance of that happening, forfeits notwithstanding.

In the present case, perhaps the thought was the chance of a pairing with an Israeli was low and so he decided to enter and worry about pairing with an Israeli should it be necessary and thinking he could always forfeit if the request for a repairing was denied. I suspect he didn't count on being expelled.

Max Illingworth
28-10-2011, 11:41 AM
I agree and certainly if you are going to be banned by simply appearing in the award ceremony along side of a dislike foreign national then you are taking a risk if there is any chance of that happening, forfeits notwithstanding.

In the present case, perhaps the thought was the chance of a pairing with an Israeli was low and so he decided to enter and worry about pairing with an Israeli should it be necessary and thinking he could always forfeit if the request for a repairing was denied. I suspect he didn't count on being expelled.

Now that I am aware of rule 1.11 mentioned by Kevin, I also agree.

Denis_Jessop
28-10-2011, 07:56 PM
Good on the organizers for expelling that shit. Let him go back to the cave and play other cavemen. International sporting events should be above politics.

And you wonder why some people are anti-Semitic? You silly twisted boy!:(

DJ

Denis_Jessop
28-10-2011, 08:08 PM
This debate is becoming really quite weird. Everyone seems to imagine that nothing like this has happened before whereas there are many examples of similar things in the past. For example, Sammy Reshevsky refused to play games on the Sabbath and Bobby Fischer had a similar objection more recently. Had the player in question here not been an Iranian, I suspect that we might have been spared much of the nonsense pedalled by Jono and M. Baron.

DJ

Mischa
28-10-2011, 10:12 PM
make him take a half point bye...:)
if it is on the sabbath of the half moon Christmas halloween solstice sabbat...but only on the easter melbourne cup break

Rincewind
28-10-2011, 10:35 PM
make him take a half point bye...:)

I think he would have leapt at that solution. :)

MichaelBaron
29-10-2011, 02:17 AM
This debate is becoming really quite weird. Everyone seems to imagine that nothing like this has happened before whereas there are many examples of similar things in the past. For example, Sammy Reshevsky refused to play games on the Sabbath and Bobby Fischer had a similar objection more recently. Had the player in question here not been an Iranian, I suspect that we might have been spared much of the nonsense pedalled by Jono and M. Baron.

DJ
Reshevsky refused to play at a particular time against everyone irrespectively of the opponents' religion/race/nationality. While Iranians are targeting opponents from a particular country. Its a huge difference. I am surprised that a lawyer can not see the difference!

Garrett
29-10-2011, 07:14 AM
a couple of decades ago we refused to play the South African's, and severely sanctioned any player who did.

Capablanca-Fan
29-10-2011, 09:10 AM
a couple of decades ago we refused to play the South African's, and severely sanctioned any player who did.
That always struck me as rank hypocrisy, given that many of the countries calling for sanctions committed far worse violations even than apartheid.

Capablanca-Fan
29-10-2011, 09:13 AM
Reshevsky refused to play at a particular time against everyone irrespectively of the opponents' religion/race/nationality. While Iranians are targeting opponents from a particular country. Its a huge difference. I am surprised that a lawyer can not see the difference!
It's probably because he's a lawyer that he can't see the obvious difference.

And you wonder why some people are anti-Semitic? You silly twisted boy!:(
I don't wonder at all. It's often caused by Leftardism, since this often comes with crass moral equivalence between antisemitism and Sabbath observance.

Rincewind
29-10-2011, 09:15 AM
a couple of decades ago we refused to play the South African's, and severely sanctioned any player who did.

That is completely correct the sporting boycotts against South Africa in one form or another covered more than 20 years from the 1960s and lasted until 1991.

Rincewind
29-10-2011, 09:23 AM
I don't wonder at all. It's often caused by Leftardism, since this often comes with crass moral equivalence between antisemitism and Sabbath observance.

My understanding is that this guy will happily play people of the Jewish religion and people of Jewish ethnicity. What he cannot do, due to his government's stance on the country of Israel, is play against an Israeli national.

With all due respect, not seeing he difference between that and anti-Semitism comes across as attention-seeking sensationalism.

Denis_Jessop
29-10-2011, 12:19 PM
Reshevsky refused to play at a particular time against everyone irrespectively of the opponents' religion/race/nationality. While Iranians are targeting opponents from a particular country. Its a huge difference. I am surprised that a lawyer can not see the difference!

There is no difference, obvious or otherwise. In each case a player refused to play. The basis for his action is immaterial. I mention that your comment, and Jono's too, reflects an inability, that sometimes afflicts even lawyers, to recognise what is, and what is not, relevant to a particular issue.

As it happens, Reshevsky's decision was based on his religious beliefs and Maghami's decision was based (at worst) on his religious beliefs though it seems it was because of his government's requirements which is apparently not your assumption. So where is the difference?

DJ

Keong Ang
29-10-2011, 02:21 PM
There is no difference, obvious or otherwise. In each case a player refused to play. The basis for his action is immaterial. I mention that your comment, and Jono's too, reflects an inability, that sometimes afflicts even lawyers, to recognise what is, and what is not, relevant to a particular issue.

As it happens, Reshevsky's decision was based on his religious beliefs and Maghami's decision was based (at worst) on his religious beliefs though it seems it was because of his government's requirements which is apparently not your assumption. So where is the difference?

DJ

Maghami cannot play with an Israeli because it is against the law of his country, Iran, to do so.
Iran is one of many countries that have laws forbidding their citizens from having sports contact with Israeli nationals.
For chess, most of these countries are in the Asian continental zone. The home zone for Australia and New Zealand.

Not everyone in the world is as fortunate as we are to have our liberties.

I wonder why the organiser made the decision regarding the pairing and expulsion. The media report did not specify if Organiser and Chief Arbiter is the same person. Such decisions are none of the organiser's business.

Anyway, for a VP of the French chess federation, this whole thing reeks of opportunistic sensationalism. Of course, being a European continental zone federation, he could plausibly claim ignorance.

Most organisers and arbiters in the Asian continental zone know of such issues. Such "forbidden" pairings would usually be altered if possible. The arbiter should avoid such pairings as they are going to result in unfair results.

These boycott laws by countries that are enemies with Israel actually disadvantage their citizens by requiring them to forfeit their games if paired with Israelis.

We would be making a big political statement in favour of Israel if we insist on pairing these players (despite there being possible alternative pairings) and expelling them in this manner.
For organisers, appeals committees and arbiters, this would contravene the FIDE principal of strict neutrality (FIDE Handbook, A-Administrative Subjects, Chapter 1, Article 1.2).

I'd say that in the situation where it is possible to make an alternative legal pairing, it should be done. Where it is impossible, then there is no choice but to have a forfeit. It should never be grounds for expulsion of a player.

Capablanca-Fan
29-10-2011, 03:37 PM
Maghami cannot play with an Israeli because it is against the law of his country, Iran, to do so.
Iran is one of many countries that have laws forbidding their citizens from having sports contact with Israeli nationals.
Yes, ruled by a Jew-hating Holocaust denier.


These boycott laws by countries that are enemies with Israel actually disadvantage their citizens by requiring them to forfeit their games if paired with Israelis.
Their problem.


We would be making a big political statement in favour of Israel if we insist on pairing these players (despite there being possible alternative pairings) and expelling them in this manner.
Sounds good to me.


For organisers, appeals committees and arbiters, this would contravene the FIDE principal of strict neutrality (FIDE Handbook, A-Administrative Subjects, Chapter 1, Article 1.2).
The arbiter in question appealed to the higher principle: FIDE motto Gens Una Sumus, which these antisemites violated.


I'd say that in the situation where it is possible to make an alternative legal pairing, it should be done. Where it is impossible, then there is no choice but to have a forfeit. It should never be grounds for expulsion of a player.
No loss if these antisemites are thrown out for bringing the games into disrepute.

Rincewind
29-10-2011, 04:12 PM
^ Wally

Igor_Goldenberg
29-10-2011, 08:05 PM
Maghami cannot play with an Israeli because it is against the law of his country, Iran, to do so.
Iran is one of many countries that have laws forbidding their citizens from having sports contact with Israeli nationals.

It is indeed not Maghami's fault, but the Iran's government. The principled decision for any international sporting federation (including FIDE) would be to expel any country that has has such a policy.
I understand that some countries have such a strained relationship that their players can't visit each other. If an official FIDE competition (e.g. part of world championship cycle) is held in, for example, Israel, then some arrangement accommodating Iranian players can be made.

As far as I know, Azerbaijan and Armenia players cannot visit each other, but at least they don't refuse to play on neutral ground.

It is quite sad that some on this board don't see Iran's policy as outrageous.

Garvinator
29-10-2011, 09:55 PM
In regards to Fide's position regarding Israel, they made their position very clear when they decided to play the 2004 Fide fake world championship in Libya, fully aware that players holding Israeli passports would not be able to compete.

I think there is quite a difference between a person competing as an individual versus competing for your country under the countries flag.

The comparison with South Africa is not a good parallel because most of the time it was teams competing under a countries flag.

This is an individual competition. From a quick google search, it does seem that players belonging to the Iran Chess Federation are indeed banned from playing against Israeli players, which does make this a much more complicated issue than just a personal stance of one player, which is what I thought it was when I first read the article.

I do agree with Jono on one point, that any country that has a stated policy of not being willing to play against another country should not be admitted to the competition.

Rincewind
29-10-2011, 11:23 PM
I think there is quite a difference between a person competing as an individual versus competing for your country under the countries flag.

The comparison with South Africa is not a good parallel because most of the time it was teams competing under a countries flag.

While the South African boycott was mainly visible in Australia in the first of cricket, the Australian rebel cricketers were not representing Australia they were just a collection of individuals touring South Africa and sanctions were imposed no them for their individual decisions to play in South Africa.

Keong Ang
29-10-2011, 11:47 PM
In regards to Fide's position regarding Israel, they made their position very clear when they decided to play the 2004 Fide fake world championship in Libya, fully aware that players holding Israeli passports would not be able to compete.

I think there is quite a difference between a person competing as an individual versus competing for your country under the countries flag.

The comparison with South Africa is not a good parallel because most of the time it was teams competing under a countries flag.

This is an individual competition. From a quick google search, it does seem that players belonging to the Iran Chess Federation are indeed banned from playing against Israeli players, which does make this a much more complicated issue than just a personal stance of one player, which is what I thought it was when I first read the article.

I do agree with Jono on one point, that any country that has a stated policy of not being willing to play against another country should not be admitted to the competition.

The issue here is dealing with a player from a country that imposes travel or contact prohibitions on it's citizens towards other countries (aka sanctions).
Many countries around the world treat Israel as an enemy. Quite a number of them impose sanctions on their citizens from dealing with Israel or Israelis to varying extents.

This situation is not unknown to western countries. Just look at the trouble Bobby Fisher got into when he personally violated USA's sanctions.

Chess law stipulates that a chess game is basically a contest between two individuals. So even at Olympiad level, the players are seen as individuals even if they represent their country. That's where a player can go against the team captain's instructions.

However when it comes to International tournaments, we cannot simply exclude players from certain federations. A tournament is considered to be international when it is possible to earn title norms.
Basically you can exclude players from certain federations from closed tournaments but not from open tournaments.

These title norms make a tournament for individuals become a tournament of individuals representing their country. Once we have norm qualification clauses about number of different federations, we automatically make the players represent their federation. So the Iranian player and Israeli player are not only playing for themselves, they are also officially representing their countries through the federation they belong to. They could automatically break a "no official sporting contact" sanction by playing in an individual open tournament.

Common FIDE practise is to avoid making "forbidden pairings". In the Corsican tournament, it is quite surprising that the arbiter did not avoid this pairing. It should be possible to avoid this forbidden pairing in the 4th round. If impossible, the result would have been a default loss by the Iranian GM.
There must be some unreported reason behind the draconian expulsion decision.

Capablanca-Fan
30-10-2011, 03:37 AM
In regards to Fide's position regarding Israel, they made their position very clear when they decided to play the 2004 Fide fake world championship in Libya, fully aware that players holding Israeli passports would not be able to compete.
Yes, the Gens Una Sumus has long been hypocritical. In 1986, they held the Olympiad in Dubai, although this country also banned Israel.

Keong Ang
30-10-2011, 09:18 AM
Yes, the Gens Una Sumus has long been hypocritical. In 1986, they held the Olympiad in Dubai, although this country also banned Israel.

And now both World Cities Chess Team Championship 2012 and World Youth Chess Championship 2013 will be held in Al Ain, UAE.

You are right about the hypocrisy, but what else do we expect?
I doubt many federations would forcefully support Israel over hosting issues. Much easier to simply take the easy route.

It may not be so hypocritical after all. How would you treat warring family members when we're all in one family?

Igor_Goldenberg
30-10-2011, 11:36 AM
It may not be so hypocritical after all. How would you treat warring family members when we're all in one family?

If they meet on neutral ground, they should play each other. If they refuse, they shouldn't bother entering tournament in the first place.

Btw, Israel's approach is in stark contrast to it's opponents - they are happy and willing to engage in sporting/cultural contacts, unlike Iran, many Arab countries and "A lot of non-Arab originations" pushing for confrontation on every front.

Keong Ang
30-10-2011, 12:26 PM
If they meet on neutral ground, they should play each other. If they refuse, they shouldn't bother entering tournament in the first place.

If it was the players who personally refuse to play with other players, it is easier to judge.

However we have a problem when the players would face severe consequences when they return home if they play with players from forbidden countries.
Usually this issue arises when Israeli players are present. Usually the chances where the only possible pairing would be with an Israeli player is small enough that it is not an issue. The issue is usually not forced because players from all federations should be able to enter.

For round robin tournaments, players should not enter if they are prohibited from playing another player.


Btw, Israel's approach is in stark contrast to it's opponents - they are happy and willing to engage in sporting/cultural contacts, unlike Iran, many Arab countries and "A lot of non-Arab originations" pushing for confrontation on every front.

It's all part of the larger conflict strategy to contain, isolate and annihilate.
Unfortunately for us, chess gets caught or used like pawns... :wall:

Denis_Jessop
30-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Ian Rogers considers this issue in his column in today's Sunday Canberra Times.

DJ

Ian Rout
30-10-2011, 03:21 PM
I feel a little sorry for the GM as he would be in a lot of trouble with his government if he played an Israeli opponent so really had no practical choice.

But having said that, chess tournaments have to be run in accordance with the laws of chess and the rules of the tournament. The rest of the field doesn't have the option to pick and choose their opponents - which might be useful if you were drawn to play Boris Gelfand in the last round. Where would the line be drawn? There are many permutatations of countries with some sort of animosity between them, or even regions within countries.

Would those who think the GM was hard done by be so relaxed if a player refused to play a woman, because under his country's laws it's illegal for a woman to be out in public alone? What about if a player refused to play someone because they were black, or gay, or employed as a parking inspector?

If such arrangements are to be allowed I think it would be preferable for FIDE to explicitly sanction it and specify which countries are covered. In general, though, I'd say that if your government or your religion prohibits you from doing something you should avoid playing a sport or an event which requires you to do it, rather than asking everybody else to put themselves out.

Kevin Bonham
30-10-2011, 05:14 PM
For example, Sammy Reshevsky refused to play games on the Sabbath and Bobby Fischer had a similar objection more recently.

That's true but that can (in theory) be resolved by rescheduling the game while keeping the opponent.

Kevin Bonham
30-10-2011, 05:16 PM
And now both World Cities Chess Team Championship 2012 and World Youth Chess Championship 2013 will be held in Al Ain, UAE.

And I have a copy of a bid form from Al Ain that states that visas will be assured to representatives of all federations without exception.

Igor_Goldenberg
30-10-2011, 08:46 PM
And I have a copy of a bid form from Al Ain that states that visas will be assured to representatives of all federations without exception.
As Lybia promised (and, surprise surprise, didn't deliver) in World Championship 2004).

Igor_Goldenberg
30-10-2011, 08:51 PM
Would those who think the GM was hard done by be so relaxed if a player refused to play a woman, because under his country's laws it's illegal for a woman to be out in public alone? What about if a player refused to play someone because they were black, or gay, or employed as a parking inspector?

Spot on!

Rincewind
30-10-2011, 09:27 PM
Would those who think the GM was hard done by be so relaxed if a player refused to play a woman, because under his country's laws it's illegal for a woman to be out in public alone? What about if a player refused to play someone because they were black, or gay, or employed as a parking inspector?

But Ian, your analogy breaks down to even casual scrutiny. This is not a ban on playing Jews. It is a ban on playing Israeli nationals and not appreciably different to the the anti-apartheid sporting bans from the 1970-1980s.

Ian Rout
31-10-2011, 11:03 AM
But Ian, your analogy breaks down to even casual scrutiny. This is not a ban on playing Jews. It is a ban on playing Israeli nationals and not appreciably different to the the anti-apartheid sporting bans from the 1970-1980s.
Well it breaks down in the sense that boycotts based on nationality are not the same as boycotts based on religion, ethnicity, employment or ugliness. But that's what an analogy means.

In fact my aim in mentioning other bases of boycotts was not to insist that all were good analogies but to ask what were good analogies - because you don't need many before chess tournaments become unmanageable.

Barry seems to suggest that nationality is somehow special and no other grounds are acceptable, with other analogies breaking down on just casual scrutiny. However I find this strange. Why should you be able to boycott a player based on the conduct or morality of their government but not on their own conduct or morality?

I'm also not convinced about the comparison with South Africa for several reasons.

When Australia's sporting teams, among other countries, boycotted South Africa it was on moral grounds, not because of strategic interests or other conflict with South Africa. The same doesn't apply to the relationship between Iran and Israel.

Australia made sacrifices by their boycott and didn't affect innocent third parties. The GM is doing something quite different. In demanding to be paired contrary to the Swiss rules he is sacrifing nothing, and may even get an easier pairing. In addition his demand if met affects at least two other players whose pairings also have to be changed.

Moreover the South Africa boycotts were against national teams, not individual players. For instance Barry Richards played for South Australia and also for World Series Cricket in Australia.

I'm aware that many people take a strong and partisan interest in Middle East politics but many others of us would like a rest from it from time to time; it just seems to involve people saying the same things over and over and nobody ever agreeing or admitting to anything. In spite of the word "boycott" being thrown around there was no boycott, just a player asking that everybody else be inconvenienced so that he could avoid an opponent for opportunistic reasons.

I don't agree that the arbiter's actions were draconian. The penalty for deliberately losing a game is not normally the loss of the game you've already thrown. The player had made it clear that he would do the same thing again if the same circumstance arose - the two players could well have been paired every second round for the rest of the event. Had he simply refused to play in the tournament because Israeli players were or might be involved then that's his business; the problem is not that the player wanted to take a stand but that he wanted to do it with other people's feet.

Rincewind
31-10-2011, 02:30 PM
Well it breaks down in the sense that boycotts based on nationality are not the same as boycotts based on religion, ethnicity, employment or ugliness. But that's what an analogy means.

It seems to me that you were saying that the decision not to play was based on something akin to a sexist, racist, homophobic or some other arbitrary dislike. However the case here is that two countries Israel and Iran are on poor terms and one way that one country lets another country know this is by suspending sporting interaction. You may disagree with it but this is an accepted way that international diplomacy has been conducted and so in that regard such boycotts are fundamentally to a boycott due to an arbitrary dislike.


In fact my aim in mentioning other bases of boycotts was not to insist that all were good analogies but to ask what were good analogies - because you don't need many before chess tournaments become unmanageable.

As I said in my first post I agree with the arbiter's decision but I can sympathise with the position of the player as well. As I also said he probably just hoped he would not draw an Israeli player but if he did he could at worse just forfeit the game. However, I haven't been critical of the decision to expel.


Barry seems to suggest that nationality is somehow special and no other grounds are acceptable, with other analogies breaking down on just casual scrutiny. However I find this strange. Why should you be able to boycott a player based on the conduct or morality of their government but not on their own conduct or morality?

Because this is how countries interact with one another. Just like the way you like to interact with me by speaking to me in the third person.


I'm also not convinced about the comparison with South Africa for several reasons.

When Australia's sporting teams, among other countries, boycotted South Africa it was on moral grounds, not because of strategic interests or other conflict with South Africa. The same doesn't apply to the relationship between Iran and Israel.

I don't think you can just make that statement. There are many moral grounds cited by a number of organisations as reasons to boycott Israel. Certainly the treatment of Arab Israelis is not without problems and there there is the question of the treatment of the people in the occupied territories.


Australia made sacrifices by their boycott and didn't affect innocent third parties. The GM is doing something quite different. In demanding to be paired contrary to the Swiss rules he is sacrifing nothing, and may even get an easier pairing. In addition his demand if met affects at least two other players whose pairings also have to be changed.

Now you are straying off the topic of the morality of the boycott and into the specifics of this particular incident. I wont reiterate what I said above. I agree that there are problem with the arbiter agreeing to a repairing and I don't criticise him for expelling the player.


Moreover the South Africa boycotts were against national teams, not individual players. For instance Barry Richards played for South Australia and also for World Series Cricket in Australia.

That's true in cricket and golf. However it wasn't the entire story. For example the athletic governing body IAAF suspended South Africa from the IAAF meaning South African nationals could not compete in (say) track and field worlds and olympics.


I'm aware that many people take a strong and partisan interest in Middle East politics but many others of us would like a rest from it from time to time; it just seems to involve people saying the same things over and over and nobody ever agreeing or admitting to anything. In spite of the word "boycott" being thrown around there was no boycott, just a player asking that everybody else be inconvenienced so that he could avoid an opponent for opportunistic reasons.

If you look at the Middle East threads on this board you will find I am a very rare contributor. What has made me speak up is some unfounded claims of anti-semitism what what we are dealing with is an anti-Israeli boycott between nations.


I don't agree that the arbiter's actions were draconian. The penalty for deliberately losing a game is not normally the loss of the game you've already thrown. The player had made it clear that he would do the same thing again if the same circumstance arose - the two players could well have been paired every second round for the rest of the event. Had he simply refused to play in the tournament because Israeli players were or might be involved then that's his business; the problem is not that the player wanted to take a stand but that he wanted to do it with other people's feet.

You probably need to take that up with Keong. I didn't call the arbiter's decision draconian.

Keong Ang
31-10-2011, 09:24 PM
I don't agree that the arbiter's actions were draconian. The penalty for deliberately losing a game is not normally the loss of the game you've already thrown. The player had made it clear that he would do the same thing again if the same circumstance arose - the two players could well have been paired every second round for the rest of the event. Had he simply refused to play in the tournament because Israeli players were or might be involved then that's his business; the problem is not that the player wanted to take a stand but that he wanted to do it with other people's feet.


You probably need to take that up with Keong. I didn't call the arbiter's decision draconian.

Expelling a player from a tournament is the maximum penalty available to an arbiter (Laws of Chess, article13.4.g).
That's why I said there must be some unreported reason behind the draconian expulsion decision in my earlier post #33.

From what is reported, the situation is GM Maghami from Iran cannot play with FM Shachar from Israel.
Iran has sanctions on Israel and Iranians are forbidden from playing with Israelis. GM Maghami has no personal choice in the matter.

Looking at the unplayed board at the start of the video, you can clearly see the flags of Iran and Israel. This is not a private social game and it is easy to infer that the players are representing their countries.
If GM Maghami had played the game, we'd now be talking about him being prosecuted in Iran. The only realistic actions for GM Maghami to take would have been to get the pairings changed, or failing that, to default the game.

On the arbiter's side, pairings cannot be changed once they are published. If the arbiter had stuck to that reason, GM Maghami would then have to default his game. Not changing the pairings (and there is a chess rule for this) is a valid course of action for the arbiter. Then GM Maghami would have to default his game and let FM Shachar get a free point.

Up until the time GM Maghami defaulted his game, everything was occurring in accordance with standard procedure. This is not the first time such things have happened.

What is unexpected was that GM Maghami was then expelled from the tournament for defaulting his game. This is where I find it to be draconian action. What law of chess did GM Maghami actually break in a major way?
The only clause that could be used is the disrepute one, article12.1, but this cannot be applied when the player does not have a choice. It is the country that is causing the disrepute and not the player.

If defaulting a game is sufficient cause for expulsion, we would expect the arbiter to have applied the lesser penalties (eg. loss of game, subtraction of points) liberally during the course of the tournament. An arbiter that dishes out penalties liberally is certainly not acting in the best interest of the competition.

If GM Maghami had simply defaulted by eg. arriving late and had article6.6.a applied to him, everyone would have just had a laugh at him. Instead, he seems to have been punished for being honest about the reason.

Perhaps the expulsion was the action of an arbiter who is fed up of sanctions spilling over into sports. It's a real pain to have to keep updating the forbidden pairings options in the pairing program. Chess arbiters are not supposed to be skilled international diplomats.
Judging from reports that GM Maghami and the arbiter parted on amicable terms makes me wonder if the expulsion was a way for GM Maghami to send a message to the regime.
:uhoh:

Kevin Bonham
31-10-2011, 09:59 PM
If defaulting a game is sufficient cause for expulsion, we would expect the arbiter to have applied the lesser penalties (eg. loss of game, subtraction of points) liberally during the course of the tournament.

Only if there were cases of situations where players breached the Laws of Chess or were otherwise seen to merit disciplinary action. There may well not have been any such situations.

Also, I believe you are in error in suggesting that the action was taken by an arbiter (or at least one acting in that role). The action was reported as having been taken by the tournament director who stated that his action was taken as "an organizer of a sporting International competition". All the material in the Laws about the powers of the arbiter thus seems irrelevant. I expect that the arbiter just forfeited the player but the organisers can always take additional measures.

Keong Ang
31-10-2011, 11:34 PM
Also, I believe you are in error in suggesting that the action was taken by an arbiter (or at least one acting in that role). The action was reported as having been taken by the tournament director who stated that his action was taken as "an organizer of a sporting International competition". All the material in the Laws about the powers of the arbiter thus seems irrelevant. I expect that the arbiter just forfeited the player but the organisers can always take additional measures.
I had mentioned in post #26 about this.

I wonder why the organiser made the decision regarding the pairing and expulsion. The media report did not specify if Organiser and Chief Arbiter is the same person. Such decisions are none of the organiser's business.
Since then I had interpreted the title of "Tournament Director" in this situation to be a term used for the person who is both Chief Organiser(CO) and Chief Arbiter(CA). I could be wrong here though.

FIDE Tournament Rules specify what the CO and CA can do and even stipulates that CO and CA can be the same person. Basically once the tournament is underway, it is the CA that makes the decisions.

Even if it was just the organiser taking action, the Laws of Chess cannot be set aside. If a federation cannot impose more detailed rules on just a mere FIDE rated tournament (Laws of Chess Preface c.), an organiser has no such power either.

If the Tournament Director was both organiser and arbiter (or even just the arbiter), then the power to expel a player is there.

FIDE Tournament Rules 12.a.
If a player has lost one game by default for reasons that are not valid, the player shall be expelled unless the CA decides otherwise.
is probably what the CA applied in this case.
It is for the CA to judge if the reasons for defaulting were valid and when judged to be invalid, to decide if the player should be retained.

In this case, the CA probably judged that a player's country's sanctions, prohibitions and laws are not valid reasons for defaulting a game. Then decided to not overrule the player's compulsory expulsion.

Usually organisers and arbiters make every effort to work around sensitivities. Lots of discretion is built into the regulations to work around international, religious and cultural sensitivities/hostilities.

I recall this forum having a thread about Orthodox Jews and their observation of the sabbath.
That's the situation article6.7.d of the Laws of Chess
If a player is unable to use the clock, an assistant, who must be acceptable to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to perform this operation. His clock shall be adjusted by the arbiter in an equitable way.
is made to cover. They can now play tournament chess without making or breaking electrical circuits.

However, the regulations allow the arbiter to be draconian as well, no assistant is acceptable or the player is not given the option to have an assistant press the clock. Eventually the player could be expelled under the regulations. I wonder what the reaction would be like if this happened.
:hmm:

Kevin Bonham
31-10-2011, 11:54 PM
FIDE Tournament Rules specify what the CO and CA can do and even stipulates that CO and CA can be the same person. Basically once the tournament is underway, it is the CA that makes the decisions.

FIDE Tournament Rules are mandatory only for official FIDE tournaments and merely "recommended" for other FIDE-rated tournaments. They were not binding on this tournament and I would be fairly surprised if they were considered at length in making the decision.

If the FIDE Tournament Rules were being applied it would also be worth considering 15.a:

15. The conduct of the players
(a) Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in cases of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity.

This was clearly not a case of force majeure since the player would have known there was some chance of being paired against an Israeli player. While this does not specify a penalty, and while it is not completely clear that it necessarily means he must play every round, it adds to the case that political reasons for not playing are not accepted.

Of course a similar breach has occurred in an Olympiad, which was specifically covered by the Tournament Rules, and no action was taken beyond a forfeit.

Kevin Bonham
01-11-2011, 08:19 PM
As Lybia promised (and, surprise surprise, didn't deliver) in World Championship 2004).

Yes, well, that's Libya under Gaddafi for you. I doubt the UAE will follow suit.

Reading the thread I tend to agree that attacks on the individual player are unfair. If someone wants to criticise the policies of the Iranian Government towards its own players that's quite another matter. By the way there were Iranians and at least one Israeli together at the same meetings at the FIDE Congress without any sign of bad blood between them.

Kevin Bonham
01-11-2011, 09:14 PM
Posts moved

Some posts dealing with the broader political nature of boycotts of Israel and generally not referring directly to the Corsica tournament situation (or replying to posts that did not refer to it directly) have been moved here (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=13553). Similar posts will probably continue to be moved.

Keong Ang
02-11-2011, 10:21 AM
FIDE Tournament Rules are mandatory only for official FIDE tournaments and merely "recommended" for other FIDE-rated tournaments. They were not binding on this tournament and I would be fairly surprised if they were considered at length in making the decision.

If the FIDE Tournament Rules were being applied it would also be worth considering 15.a:

15. The conduct of the players
(a) Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in cases of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity.

FIDE Tournament Rules 15.a
Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in cases of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity. Acceptance of another invitation is not considered to be a valid reason for not participating or withdrawing.
is to deal with players who have accepted an invitation to play in a tournament and then cancels. Thought that was the extent of it's meaning and basically applies to the whole tournament, not individual rounds.

If we want to expel a player, the specific rule to apply should be 12.a
If a player has lost one game by default for reasons that are not valid, the player shall be expelled unless the CA decides otherwise.

I think you're probably using 15.a as the rule that empowers the organiser to take unilateral action without involving the arbiter. What I'd assume is that in this case, both the arbiter and organiser acted together as is normal. I've actually come to assume that the CA and CO are the same person in this event.

FIDE Tournament rules stipulate that both CO and CA are supposed to work together anyway. Since no arbiter has been reported to have been fired or resigned, it could be assumed that the arbiter agreed with the expulsion decision.


This was clearly not a case of force majeure since the player would have known there was some chance of being paired against an Israeli player. While this does not specify a penalty, and while it is not completely clear that it necessarily means he must play every round, it adds to the case that political reasons for not playing are not accepted.

Actually, this clause makes it impossible for GM Maghami to withdraw from the tournament when he learnt that Israeli players would be present, especially if he had already officially accepted the invitation.

Most of the time, players enter tournaments without knowing who else would be playing in the tournament. Once a player enters a tournament, they have "officially accepted the invitation".

There is no need to specify that a player must play every round in 15.a because 12.a already made it compulsory to do so while providing the CA flexibility here. Mainly to cover the situation of a player defaulting by being late (zero time default) due to eg. catching the wrong bus etc.


Of course a similar breach has occurred in an Olympiad, which was specifically covered by the Tournament Rules, and no action was taken beyond a forfeit.

It is normal for the CA to forgive defaults caused by countries sporting sanctions. As far as the players are concerned, it is beyond their control. Losing a point is sufficient penalty.

It is also wrong to insist that players not enter tournaments that have players from sanctioned countries participating. The tournament organiser would have to specifically exclude players in their tournament invitation/announcement. I think there is some rule somewhere that prohibits exclusion of players for political reasons.

If players were to be excluded due to potential sanction issues, then the preferred logical choice for exclusion would automatically be Israeli players. Excluding Israeli players would solve the problem, since the situation seems to always be about players from <some country> being forbidden from playing with players from Israel. While disgusting, it is the obvious practical result that has minimum impact on the majority of players. By adopting a stance of strict neutrality, Israelis are able to participate and the creation of "No Israelis" FIDE tournaments would not occur.

Kevin Bonham
03-11-2011, 10:18 AM
FIDE Tournament Rules 15.a
Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in cases of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity. Acceptance of another invitation is not considered to be a valid reason for not participating or withdrawing.
is to deal with players who have accepted an invitation to play in a tournament and then cancels. Thought that was the extent of it's meaning and basically applies to the whole tournament, not individual rounds.

Imprecise drafting is often a problem with these things but in my view the "or withdrawing" indicates that the rule can apply to individual rounds, eg in the case of a player who pulls out of a tournament mid-event to play in another one. Still I agree that is different to a player who just wants to boycott a particular opponent then complete the event.


I think you're probably using 15.a as the rule that empowers the organiser to take unilateral action without involving the arbiter.

No. The organiser does not need any rule to take unilateral action as the event is not one in which following the FIDE Tournament Rules is mandatory.


What I'd assume is that in this case, both the arbiter and organiser acted together as is normal. I've actually come to assume that the CA and CO are the same person in this event.

That could even be the case (I don't know) but even so there are cases where an administrator who is both CA and CO takes a decision in the capacity of CO as opposed to CA.


Since no arbiter has been reported to have been fired or resigned, it could be assumed that the arbiter agreed with the expulsion decision.

It could be assumed the CA (if a different person) doesn't strenuously disagree with it but I wouldn't necessarily go further.


Actually, this clause makes it impossible for GM Maghami to withdraw from the tournament when he learnt that Israeli players would be present, especially if he had already officially accepted the invitation.

It isn't clear to me whether he knew there would be Israeli entries before or after accepting. Curiously the organisers' statement says "The presence of five Israeli players in this tournament is known by all participants since Saturday, October 22." - which is not very informative since that is only a few days before the event began!


I think there is some rule somewhere that prohibits exclusion of players for political reasons.

For official FIDE events such exclusions are obviously - in theory - not allowed. But there is nothing to stop organisers running invitationals in which they specifically refuse to invite particular nations. Keeping specific nations out for whatever reason is more difficult in an open event.


It is also wrong to insist that players not enter tournaments that have players from sanctioned countries participating. The tournament organiser would have to specifically exclude players in their tournament invitation/announcement. I think there is some rule somewhere that prohibits exclusion of players for political reasons.

In a non-title event there is nothing to stop organisers being choosy about which nations they invite entries from or award conditions to. With an open event where players are able to enter automatically this is more difficult to enforce of course.

However if organisers choose to ban boycotts that is not really the same as refusing to accept entries from a boycotting nation. The organisers could simply indicate that players from any nation are free to enter, but players who boycott any opponent for political reasons will be expelled. This would have the effect of excluding boycotting nations that harshly penalise non-boycotting players but would not be an official exclusion of those nations.

In the ACF Code of Ethics it is an offence to persistently refuse to play a specific opponent. The impetus for that was a case where a player was threatening to persistently forfeit against the same opponent because of club-political grudges.

It probably sounds like I'm arguing a part of the case for expelling Maghami but really I haven't made up my mind about whether expulsion is a good response to boycotts. My sympathies would have to be with any FM who missed an opportunity to score a rated win or draw against a GM because that GM boycotted the game for political reasons - as well as with any GM whose country does not allow him to play particular opponents.

Keong Ang
03-11-2011, 03:46 PM
No. The organiser does not need any rule to take unilateral action as the event is not one in which following the FIDE Tournament Rules is mandatory.

CO powers are even more limited in tournaments where FIDE Tournament Rules are not applied. Of course, this is in a legal sense, the practical situation is usually very different.

If FIDE Tournament rules are not applied, the Laws of Chess define the powers of officials. There are only 3 classes of people defines in the Laws of Chess, players, arbiters and spectators. A CO would only have powers under one of these. No federation (let alone organiser) can add or subtract from the Laws of Chess in a tournament that is FIDE rated. Also, in every FIDE rated tournament, the unaltered Laws of Chess is mandatory.


It isn't clear to me whether he knew there would be Israeli entries before or after accepting. Curiously the organisers' statement says "The presence of five Israeli players in this tournament is known by all participants since Saturday, October 22." - which is not very informative since that is only a few days before the event began!

Sounds like weasel words from the organisers to shift blame onto players who know they are forbidden from playing with Israeli players. Quite unreasonable to expect players to withdraw from a tournament on such short notice.

What every CA of an international tournament knows is that pairings are checked before being announced to ensure forbidden pairings due to sporting sanctions are not made. We could blow up this Corsican situation as one that shows up the CA as being ignorant of standard international operating procedure. It was disingenuous of the organisers to suggest that the computer pairings rigidly made it so. They're saying that they forgot to load the forbidden pairings rules.

My suspicion is that there was intent to make a political statement against sporting sanctions/boycotts. A laudable intent in my opinion. ;)


For official FIDE events such exclusions are obviously - in theory - not allowed. But there is nothing to stop organisers running invitationals in which they specifically refuse to invite particular nations. Keeping specific nations out for whatever reason is more difficult in an open event.

An invitational is certainly expected to be an exclusive event. Just don't invite those who are to be excluded.


However if organisers choose to ban boycotts that is not really the same as refusing to accept entries from a boycotting nation. The organisers could simply indicate that players from any nation are free to enter, but players who boycott any opponent for political reasons will be expelled. This would have the effect of excluding boycotting nations that harshly penalise non-boycotting players but would not be an official exclusion of those nations.

That's one way of doing it. But what would be the effects?
Essentially it's a declaration that the CA would expel any player who defaults a game on political grounds like sporting sanctions.

Could be quite risky to implement. It removes any doubt over the actions of the CA and essentially makes it mandatory for the CA to expel players. May be better to leave such conditions out and let the CA have discretion.

A situation could occur where expelling a GM could result in removing norm chances of players who could have played him in future rounds. Expelling players could also run foul of regulations against altering the composition of the tournament.

If players from affected federations choose not to attend, a tournament would have fewer norm prospects due to decreased federation mix.

I fear conditions may eventually be players from countries that are subject to sporting sanctions could be expelled. Easier to exclude the minority than the majority. That's the tyranny of the majority!! :doh:


In the ACF Code of Ethics it is an offence to persistently refuse to play a specific opponent. The impetus for that was a case where a player was threatening to persistently forfeit against the same opponent because of club-political grudges.

Rules are a good indicator of where trouble occurred. You wouldn't need a law against something if there were no problems there.

We need to remember that a federation like ACF does not have the power to add, subtract or modify the Laws of Chess if a tournament is FIDE rated or above. Of course, there are always ways around such restrictions...


It probably sounds like I'm arguing a part of the case for expelling Maghami but really I haven't made up my mind about whether expulsion is a good response to boycotts. My sympathies would have to be with any FM who missed an opportunity to score a rated win or draw against a GM because that GM boycotted the game for political reasons - as well as with any GM whose country does not allow him to play particular opponents.

We're in the same conundrum here!! :doh:

Sports sanctions/boycotts for better or worse are with us. Even citizens of USA can find themselves in such situations as Fisher found out in his rematch with Spassky.

At present, I'm of the opinion (and not a firm one!) that expulsion is a bad response in this case because it would deny players from future rounds the chance to play. With the ramifications towards ratings, norms, standings etc. Affecting potential players in future rounds is the same as spreading the sanction/boycott contagion to players from federations that should not be affected.

Denis_Jessop
03-11-2011, 04:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keong Ang
FIDE Tournament Rules 15.a
Once a player has formally accepted an invitation, he must play except in cases of force majeure, such as illness or incapacity. Acceptance of another invitation is not considered to be a valid reason for not participating or withdrawing.
is to deal with players who have accepted an invitation to play in a tournament and then cancels. Thought that was the extent of it's meaning and basically applies to the whole tournament, not individual rounds.

Imprecise drafting is often a problem with these things but in my view the "or withdrawing" indicates that the rule can apply to individual rounds, eg in the case of a player who pulls out of a tournament mid-event to play in another one. Still I agree that is different to a player who just wants to boycott a particular opponent then complete the event.

For what it's worth, it seems to me that the quoted rule, and its reference to "withdrawing" is aimed at the whole tournament, not individual rounds. The reference to withdrawing occurs in a sentence saying that acceptance of another invitation is not considered to be a valid reason for withdrawing. The provision thus means that a player cannot properly play part of a tournament and then pull out to go and play in another one. A similar practice is common in road cycling but there it is not forbidden. I see that I have said the same thing as you did but I consider that conceptually it is the whole tournament, not any of its rounds, that is the subject of the provision. All rather technical :)

DJ

Kevin Bonham
03-11-2011, 10:35 PM
^^^

Fair enough. Or another way of describing it could be that the subject of the provision is either the whole tournament or the entire remainder of the tournament at the time of the action in question. I think my initial interpretation of 15a was incorrect.