Open Letter on Topalov Kamsky from USCF
By USCF President Bill Goichberg   
November 7, 2008
The World Championship challengers match, originally guranteed for Lvov, Ukraine with a $750,000 prize fund has now been cancelled for that location and the Bulgarian bid has been renewed. The USCF statement, written by the president, protests this decision.

An Open letter to FIDE Office and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

To: FIDE office

To: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE

November 7, 2008

The U.S. Chess Federation is astonished to hear the latest position of FIDE regarding the Kamsky vs. Topalov match.

On June 1, 2008, FIDE announced that this match would take place in Lvov, Ukraine, beginning November 28, with a prize fund of $750,000.  Following is the FIDE press release of that date, as posted on the FIDE website:

President guarantees Topalov–Kamsky match

President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has announced that the World Championship Challenger Match between Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Gata Kamsky (USA) will take place in Lvov, Ukraine in November 2008.

The organiser offered a prize fund of 750,000 USD and to hold the match on the “neutral” territory of Ukraine, as the players wanted to avoid Bulgaria or the USA. President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov guarantees the organiser’s offer by backing the event from his personal finances.

FIDE Presidential Board acknowledged the offer as well as the guarantee and assigned Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to conclude the final contracts and to check the availability of the finances. The Match will be held in dates between November 26th and December 14th 2008.

Now we are being told that the “guarantee” that FIDE announced can be withdrawn because the organizer of the Lvov match has failed to make the necessary payment to FIDE?  But this guarantee had significance only under precisely these circumstances!

If the organizer had made this payment, then for the FIDE President to “back the event from his personal finances” would not be necessary.  Since the organizer has failed to make the payment, “backing the event from his personal finances” is now needed- and FIDE’s position appears to be that it was happy to promise backing with words only, but that backing with actual money was not what FIDE had in mind.  Incredible!

Retail products are often sold with guarantees.  Imagine if your product does not work, and you return it for repair or refund, and the seller says “Sorry, we have decided that the guarantee we offered is only valid if the product is working perfectly.”  That is exactly what FIDE is trying to do to the players in this match.

The chess world and the media will not be so easily fooled.  It is apparent that FIDE made a public commitment, and now is seeking to back out for no valid reason.  A "guarantee" is not subject to being revoked at the whim of the guarantor.  Please reconsider this very unwise and inappropriate action.

Sincerely Yours,

USCF President
Bill Goichberg