Morten Sand of Norway, a member of the FIDE Executive Council, the Committee for the Commercialization of FIDE, and a longtime prominent FIDE leader, has made available an email he recently sent to Egon Ditt, President of the German Chess Federation.  

The German Federation had protested various recent decisions of the Presidential Board of FIDE, claiming that only the General Assembly had the right to enact such changes.  In this email, Sand maintains that the GA delegated to the FIDE Presidential Board the power to enact its changes relating to the format and time controls of the World Championship.

However, Sand also concedes that the Presidential Board did not have the authority to require organizers of all title norm events in the world to use the "new time control" of 40/75, SD/15, with a 30 second increment.  The Presidential Board at first announced that the "new time control" was mandatory for all norm events effective January 1, 2001, but has since retreated from that position, saying that its earlier announcement had been misunderstood, and that its intent was only to add another option for organizers, and not to mandate the new control.

From: Morten Sand []

Sent: 2. februar 2001 13:04

To: Egon Ditt

Subject: PB decisions

Dear Egon,

I have gone through the documents you sent me, the GA minutes from Istanbul and other available mails etc regarding the decisions taken by the FIDE Presidential Board in Tehran. In short my views and comments is as follows:

1. The GA decision

For me it is quite clear that the GA gave the PB the right to finalize both the regulations and the time control for the WC Cycle. In Istanbul there were several suggestions regarding the WCC format and (unfortunately) not enough time to have a serious debate in the GA. However there had been several discussions in the FIDE Commerce Committee in Istanbul before the GA, mostly regarding the structure of the WC.

In the GA Mr. Anderton presented the draft agreement with FIDE Commerce and the minutes page 11, 2.paragraph says: “He said the GA is also asked to empower the PB to make changes to the world Championship format and regulations within the general principles set out.”

I would also like to quote page 11, 3.paragraph: “On the format of the World Championship, Mr Anderton said the fundamental rights of the Zones would not be restructured without their consent. Mr Makropoulos said that we have to receive comments of federations for the PB to decide on the format and technical details while the GA has to decide on the contract with FIDE Commerce International.”

Mr Makropoulos invited suggestions from all federations for the format of the World Championship, GA minutes page 12, 2. paragraph

I think it is very difficult to argue that the PB decisions are illegal. It is in fact one of the few times where the GA is asked to empower the PB. Normally the PB makes its decision and then it has to ask the GA for approval because it violates the FIDE Statutes.

Of course it is now possible to ask the next GA to debate, change etc. the decisions taken by the PB.

2. The Zonals

As far as I can see the FIDE Zonal structure is part of the World Championship regulations. The PB decision does not change the zonal structure as such or abolish the zones. Organizing the zonals has been an important part in the zones. However, I do not think it has been the only reason for establishing and maintaining the zonal structure within FIDE. It is important that the zones promote the game of chess and organize regular contact between the federations within the zone.

The main impact of the PBs decision regarding the Continental Championship is that the zonals are no longer the qualification tournament in to the WC cycle. However it was a clear consensus in the discussions I took part in, that there must be a zonal representation into the Continental Championships. Each zone must know in advance how many players from their zone are qualified to the CC. This means in my opinion that each zone must decide how the players are to qualify. This can of course be done through a zonal tournament, but it is up to the zone.

The change of the system as the PB in Tehran decided it, is clearly within the mandate given by the GA.

3. The Time Control

I have had no access to the poll taken among the top players in New Delhi. However, I think a poll taken among the WC qualifiers must reflect the general opinion between players in general.

The time control in the WC games is in my opinion within the” format and regulations. ” The PB decision to reduce time must therefore be legal at least when it comes to the WC cycle. Of course, the necessary changes in the rating and title regulations must be made so that the new time control doesn’t create a problem in this respect.

I am less sure that the GA empowered the PB to make changes into other tournaments than those of the WCC. On the contrary, I think such changes needs to be brought to the GA before they are valid.

Best regards

Morten Sand homepage