President's Final Report from Istanbul
By Ruth Haring   
September 9, 2012
The US team at the closing ceremony of the Olympiad, Photo Tony Rich of STL Chess Club

The 83rd  FIDE Congress and 2012 Istanbul Olympiad concluded today. Team USA has great fighting spirit and there is a very good sense of team camaraderie.  During our time in Istanbul we celebrated the birthdays of Alex Onishuk and Sabina Foisor with cake and bowling. The highlight of the Olympiad was of course the victory over Russia, and Hikaru’s excellent win over former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. 

Final Standings for team USA were: 5th Place tie with Gata winning the Board 2 (Bronze) third place individual prize.  The Women's team finished in 10th place.
Ruth Haring at the closing ceremony, Photo Tony Rich of STL Chess Club
And now my report on the proceedings at the General Assembly.  The GA body can in general compared to the USCF Delegates body.  In FIDE, every federation is represented by a Delegate: one federation, one vote.  In addition to our Delegate Michael Khodarkovsky, Zonal President Franc Guadalupe and I were recognized by the chair of the General Assembly to speak on issues of importance to USCF.
The preliminary work on FIDE Statutes, which I described in my last report and which many people contributed to, was fruitful and the new Statutes were accepted by the GA.  This is a significant accomplishment for all involved and a necessary step for FIDE because the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne had suggested in all opinions handed down over the last years that the FIDE Statutes needed to be clarified in order to avoid future problems and misunderstandings.  It should be noted that FIDE benefited greatly from the hard work of Ms. Ank Santens of White and Case. Her work resulted in improvement of FIDE Statutes.  Ms. Santens was invited by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to the podium to explain the important statutes changes to the general assembly.  Later in the day, Garry Kasparov was invited to the podium and seated next to FIDE President Ilyumzhinov.  Garry spoke about mutual cooperation.  It seemed that peace had been declared with their handshake.
The work of the Qualification Commission is always very important to USCF.  Walter Brown from the office in Crossville, Tennessee is our representative on this Commission.  In this year’s meeting, titles were approved for:

Marc Arnold
Conrad Holt
Enrico Sevillano
International Master
Teddy Coleman
Victor Shen
FIDE Arbiter
William Broich

The Events Commission approved:
International Organizer
Francisco Guadalupe
The Qualification Commission also recommended a change in the time controls allowed for norm events. We are happy to report that there is now a new minimum time control approved rather than six specified time controls which must be used at norm tournaments.  This is important because of the prevalence of time controls with 5 second delay in the USA.
There was some discussion of the fees and taxes proposed and approved for Arbiters in Khanty Mansiysk but no changes will be made even though many countries expressed disagreement with these charges. Olympiad 2016 will be in Baku.  I will not comment on the parliamentary process around bid selection, but note that Azerbaijan is in a state of war with Armenia and we will need to carefully consider how to guarantee security of our players and delegation members of Armenian descent in 2016. 
We are considering a bid for the World Youth 2017 and you will hear more about this as we move through the bidding process.
Finally, Annex 60, which was the last item on the agenda of the general assembly, was the proposal by Turkish Chess Federation to suspend the five federations involved in the 2010 election related CAS case.  The Annex did not pass.  It is worthwhile to note that FIDE agrees all disputes are to be arbitrated in the Court of Sport (CAS) and the decision is binding (as described in FIDE Statutes).  For those of you who do not know the latest developments in this case, it was decided two years ago right before the FIDE election in Khanty-Mansiysk.  The CAS awarded costs of 35,000 Swiss Francs to FIDE which was paid in full.  FIDE then appealed the decision on allocation of costs in the Swiss Supreme Court.  The Swiss Court send the matter back to CAS which confirmed the cost allocation originally made and rightly commented that ½ of the CAS arguments in the original case were due to FIDE arguing that CAS did not have jurisdiction, and FIDE lost the jurisdiction argument.  FIDE made the decision to appeal the CAS award in the Swiss court and to argue jurisdiction of CAS in front of CAS.  Perhaps some of the extraordinary charges made at the Olympiad in Istanbul will compensate in some way for losses incurred as a result of decisions made by FIDE to pursue certain courses of legal action.  

Fast forward to 2012 General Assembly.  Many developing countries have been convinced that one million euros which FIDE expended towards certain costs related to the legal matters would have otherwise been spent for the development of chess. And so even though the decision of CAS is final and binding, there were calls for voluntary donations to the developing countries.  
And so we finish this assembly with good progress.  Our delegation has been together now for three FIDE Congresses and we work effectively as a team.  We cover every Commission meeting and debrief in the evenings so we are all aware of any issues which crop up that will need addressing the next day.  I am happy to report that we have established new relationships which will ultimately bring more influence in the future when we have important matters on the agenda.  We look forward continuing to engage with a positive spirit of cooperation.