Coffee, Covid,FIDE & other Nonsense
Monday October 19, 2020. A date to remember. Much — if not all — of Europe is on the brink of a second politically-imposed lockdown within months of the end of the first lockdown.
There is no science here. Everyone is asking to see the governments’ statistics. Manchester always sees about 85% occupancy of IC-beds this time of year. Flu season.
Governments everywhere are blaming the youth for after-hours parties. But this just to escape their own culpability with the failure of producing an up and running track and trace program. China succeeded in getting Covid-19 under control, didn’t they?
Public transportation carrying workers to their jobs is the real super-spreader. And what about schools? Millions of students and teachers are mixing in closed environments with minimum of safety conditions. My wife is a teacher and she tells me that there is virtually no testing going on in the schools.
The government does not want to know what is really happening. They don’t want to know the truth…they are politicians and are magicians at manipulating the facts.
They need someone to blame, and someone to rule. They offer the same old solutions: the hammer and the nail. They are the hammer; everyone else is the nail.
There is nothing to do but to get on with our lives. A virus can not be legislated to disappear…it has the same right to exist on this planet as us. We need to learn to co-exist. We can not just throw up our arms and hide under the bed…again.
Candidates Postponed (Again!)
This past Friday, reluctantly of course, the FIDE leadership called off the Candidates Tournament. Exactly 2 weeks before it was scheduled to resume in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The FIDE announcement lists a hierarchy of excuses, but no mention of the Chinese superstar Wang Hao’s role in forcing FIDE’s hand.
Readers might recall that 2 weeks ago Hao went public with emails showing that FIDE was trying to downplay the virus while simultaneously bullying the players to go to Yekaterinburg:
The FIDE press release merely mentioned en passant that two un-named players from the same un-named country (China, of course!) had not yet confirmed their participation.
The Chinese Chess Federation was clearly not going to be bullied as uncertainties grew of the 2nd wave.
But FIDE managed to include the veiled threat that next time FIDE would not pay any attention to the concerns of the participants’ National Federations:
While having full respect for the respective national procedures, FIDE will take further decisions about both the location and timing of the event based on our organization’s internal rules.
FIDE to press RESTART button ?
FIDE was advised in February and March by numerous individuals against starting the Candidates Tournament in the middle of a pandemic, but neither Sutovsky nor Dvorkovich wanted to hear anything about it.
Both, it turns out, were very much like Trump, refusing to believe the science.
Sutovsky and Dvorkovich were only interested in pulling off a reckless publicity stunt, at a time where every other sport and activity was being cancelled or postponed.
FIDE went ahead and packed an auditorium with more than 2,000 spectators — only 1 using a mask — despite the fact that the Russian Duma prohibited gatherings of more than 50 individuals! FIDE posted the above photo on its social media, but half an hour later took it down to avoid controversy, offering the following lame excuse:
As we know, FIDE was obliged to stop the tournament anyway, mid-stream, because of deteriorating health conditions. It is now approaching November and FIDE has again postponed the tournament until the spring of 2021 at the earliest.
I mention all of this as way of demonstrating that all of this could have been avoided had the FIDE leadership listened to common sense in the first instance. A pandemic should never be a deliberate marketing tool.
Worse still, I can assure the readers that the Candidates Tournament will NEVER be finished. Force Majeure. Reality. The tournament will have lost its legitimacy as a qualification tournament because more than 1 year will have passed since it first started!
FIDE can not even be certain enough to guarantee that the tournament will infact be organized in the spring. This uncertainty has become a game for the FIDE leadership.
Anything to avoid tough and responsible decisions. Anything to not admit error on their part.
I feel that it is time to hold the FIDE leadership responsible for the mess that we now find ourselves in, and to press the RESTART button.
I propose, as way of getting out of this dilemma, to restart the Candidates Tournament from square 1 in the middle of next year, with 10 players: the 8 participants from Yekaterinburg, plus Radjabov (who was unfairly disqualified by Sutovsky and Dvorkovich) and finally, Magnus Carlsen.
It is not unheard of including the current World Champion in a qualifying event to determine the challenger to the World Championship match.
It was tried in London 1883 (Steinitz participated) and again in Avro 1938 (Alekhine participated). Of course, if the World Champion wins the tournament, then the second-place finisher becomes the official challenger.
There are no good solutions to the mess that FIDE has brought on to itself. But there is precedent in including a sitting World Champion. Radjabov deserves the 9th participant spot…no one will dispute that. And rather than hold an awkward 9 player round robbin or get into an endless dispute about who deserves the 10th spot, why not just invite Carlsen?
CAS to sink Russian Sport?
To be continued…