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Chess: Women's Grand Prix in Delhi doesn't start; FIDE blames local organisers

The FIDE Women's Chess Grand Prix, which was supposed to held in Delhi from Saturday, did not start following a massive organisational failure.

Koneru Humpy Chess

Koneru Humpy (Source: FIDE)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 25 March 2023 5:12 PM GMT

In an embarrassing moment for India, the FIDE Women's Chess Grand Prix, which was supposed to be held in Delhi from Saturday, did not start following a massive organisational failure. The tournament had to be pushed back by a day and will now start on Sunday.

This development comes just a day after, a grand opening ceremony was held for India's first-ever Women's Chess Grand Prix on Friday.

As per reports, when players from across the world arrived for the tournament on Friday they were left in the dark with no official transportation facilities available from the airport. The players had to take their own taxis with no idea as to where they were supposed to go.

To make matters worse, the hotel rooms which the players were provided with were not ready either when they arrived forcing them to wait.

Unimpressed by this lousy treatment, Kazakhstani Grandmaster (GM) Zhansaya Abdumalik decided to drop out of the tournament and has travelled back to the country leaving the competition in jeopardy.

The world chess body, FIDE however decided to continue the tournament with one player less since the "FIDE calendar does not allow space for strong assurances when the tournament can be held." The very first day of the FIDE Women's Chess Grand Prix was declared as rest day, as per reports.

The world body, on its part, blamed the local organisers for the mess.

"FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, has issued an apology for the errors of local organisers regarding the Women's Grand Prix tournament in India," a statement from the FIDE read.

In the letter addressed to the players, which is now published in the FIDE website, the President has apologised for the mistake.

"We understand that this situation has caused great dissatisfaction among the players and has put the tournament in danger. We acknowledge your concerns and frustrations, and we take them seriously. We highly appreciate your openness and would like to assure you that we are committed to addressing the issues that have been raised regarding this tournament and FIDE women events in general," the letter reads.

"Considering all the arguments in place, we have decided to continue with the Women’s Grand Prix tournament in India. We believe that such a decision is best under the given circumstances, even though the withdrawal of a player would require all of the tournament participants and organizers to adjust themselves," it adds.

FIDE has also decided to appoint an additional coordinator at full disposal of the players following the ugly incident.

"Our priority is to demonstrate that we truly care about our participants, and we will spare no effort to ensure that they receive the highest level of support and attention. To that effect, FIDE will appoint an additional coordinator to be at the full disposal to the participants of the event," Dvorkovich wrote.

FIDE also assured the players that they will be provided with the financial compensation to cover for the additional expenses they might have had to incur.

"Also, all affected players will be provided with compensation, such as covering any additional expenses they may have incurred or will incur during the event," the letter stated.

The Women's Chess Grand Prix is one of the biggest tournaments in the FIDE calendar. A total of 12 players, including three Indians - Harika Dronavalli, Koneru Humpy, and Rameshbabu Vaishali, were to compete in the tournament.

The event will now be held in an adjusted fashion with just 11 players.

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