According to established CFC rules, the selections of the 2010 Canadian Teams that will represent Canada this coming September at the 39th Chess Olympiad are decided by a combination of rating criteria and a 2-person Selection Committee. The integrity of the over-all process is guaranteed by an Olympiad Coordinator.
Initially, the rules were correctly followed. The Selection Committee decided upon 3 choices and submitted them to Ilyia Bluvshtein : Pascal Charbonneau, Thomas Roussel-Roozmon and Artiom Samsonkin.
To make a long story short, several of those who automatically qualified (myself-by rating; Jean Hebert–by virtue of winning last year’s zonal) declined the invitation, as well as Pascal Charonneau. Once replacements were sought out (the rules provide for this) the final National Team that was publically announced by FIDE representative Hal Bond in mid May:
Board 1: Mark Bluvshtein
Board 2: Thomas Roussel-Roozmon
Board 3: Leonid Gerzhoy
Board 4: Artiom Samsonkin
Reserve: Nikolay Noritsyn.
Soon after this list was made public, doubts began to be expressed on the message boards by officials of the CFC (governors) and ordinary members concerning whether or not the rules regarding finding suitable replacements were correctly followed .
In particular, it was questioned how Nikolay Noritsyn found his way on the team since he was not on the list submitted by the Selection Committee nor was he sufficiently high rated to qualify ahead of several other candidates: E.Porper and T.Krnan.
Alberta international master Eric Hansen questioned E.Porper about whether he had been invited, and Porper made it clear that he was never contacted at any point in the process overseen by the Olympiad Coordinator Ilyia Bluvshtein. It is assumed that the same could be applied to T.Krnan
Alberta junior star Eric Hansen (born 1992) has had a consistently higher FIDE rating than Ontario player Nikolay Noritsyn, and feels that he has been ignored in the selection process. Fair? You decide!
It was at this point, on May 27, that Ilyia Bluvshtein posted an explanation on chesstalk that was meant to put an end to any doubts:”In accordance with the CFC Handbook, Kevin S, Mark B, and Leonid G were selected by rating, Jean H was invited as Canadian Champion, and Pascal S was chosen by the Selection Committee. After Kevin, Jean, and Pascal declined, Thomas R, Artem S, and Nikolay N were chosen by the Selection Committee. ”
Noritsyn was selected by the Selection Committee???
If Ilyia Bluvshtein expected this to end the discussion, then he was mistaken. On the 29th of May one of the members of the Selection Committee, Igor Zugic, spoke up: ”I feel obligated to respond since I feel that my integrity has been questioned because I was on the Committee.”
In a long and detailed post running readers thru the selection process step by step, he made very clear: ”I have no clue how Noritsyn ended up on the team, since I was not involved in that decision.”
I have known Igor for more than 15 years and I can attest to his integrity and honesty. If Igor says that the Selection Committee did NOT pick Noritsyn for the National Team, then you can be sure that either Iyia Bluvshtein was mistaken or he was lying when he made his May 27th posting on chesstalk.
I prefer to think that Ilyia Bluvshtein was mistaken. I have met him on a number of occasions and up to now I had no reason to not think highly of him.
Several days ago on this blog I wrote that some sort of a public explanation was expected from him (on chesstalk) to clarify what is clearly a potentially very embarrassing problem. So far not a peep from him, nor from Ron Livshits. Nor from any on the CFC executive, other than some 2nd-hand source saying that Hal Bond was also worried about the recent developments.
So that is where things stand now. I promised my readers that I would write a more detailed report on this developing scandal , but since both Ron Livshits nor Ilyia Bluvshtein have remained silent on this subject so far, I will leave you instead with an apporpriate youtube video: Simon and Garfunkel’s”SOUND OF SILENCE”.
And my readers can make up their own minds…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS