Report from Tromso: Day 13

August 14, 2014

Today there was another meeting of the General Assembly. The weather in Tromso in the morning of the second day of GA was really nice, clear blue sky and much sunshine. The Organizer provided special buses for the delegates from the Prostenet Park to the University of Tromso – some half an hour drive away. I went with Maung as he was excused from his arbiter duty to attend the GA Meeting as the delegate from Myanmar.

Not many delegates went for today’s meeting. Maybe because most knew that there would not or could not be any voting due to the fact that the African nations still could not yet elect their president. According to FIDE Regulations of GA Meeting, no voting can be processed if one continent representatives are not present. Instead of postponing the GA Meeting, FIDE just went on with their programs, which is rather ridiculous. It was against the FIDE Meeting Regulations, yet they did go on with the Meeting any way. House rules can be overruled? FIDE knew beforehand that the African nations were not ready for today’s GA Meeting, but did nothing about it, thereby causing a waste of time for delegates in the end.

At the GA Meeting, Makropulous, FIDE VP, suggested that the Meeting be adjourned because of lack of quorum. Some delegates however disagreed, saying that since many delegates were present and some were going home tomorrow, reports and proposals for changes of the Ethics Commission and Arbiters Commission should be addressed to the GA. I wonder myself that if the African nations could not possibly learn of the proposed changes, how can they vote for these issues? In the end, after objections and concurrences, FIDE decided to go ahead with the Ethics Commission report and proposals for changes to the GA.

The Ethics Commission’s proposals, according to its Head, were merely meant to ‘modify’ the present regulations. Actually, it would give more powers to the Ethics Commission to inflict harsh penalties when matters of all sorts (like violations, cheating, corruption, etc.) sent to them have been proven to be true based on their inquiries and findings. There were some concerns among the delegates as to whether it would be fair to those accused and whether the process of lawsuit or decisions by judges should be taken into consideration or not. The Ethics Commission Head argued that a cheating should be considered final if there were ‘clear evidences’ based on ‘statistics’. He said that, like doping test in any Olympic Games, or alcohol test by Police for drunk driving, clear indication of a player who had made excellent moves in a row, like Magnus Carlson would have, should be sufficient to condemn the said player – no need to wait for the verdict of a lawsuit. Some delegates jokingly said that if that particular player happened to be a new Magnus Carlson in the making, would he/she be subjected to condemnation too. Good point. This was just an example of the Ethics Commission’s proposal for changes. There were many other ‘modifications’ in other aspects. I again would be more than happy if any of you want to know all about this when I go back to Thailand. Then again, the said proposals were not yet approved by the GA. Maybe tomorrow, together with the VPs election, 2018 Chess Olympiad Host, among other matters.

After the report by the Ethics Commission, FIDE adjourned the GA Meeting at around 11 a.m. We had to wait for buses to take us back to the town centre, because they did not know that we would be finished so soon. Plan ahead and nothing like this would have happened. I and Maung then had time to walking about exploring the University. It is a very big University. The northernmost university in the world. It is more or less like a small city. As we went to a stationery shop within the University, the guy at the counter greeted me and asked when I would depart from Tromso. I said on 15th August and then he said that you might have a chance to see the aurora lights on 14th August if the sky was dark enough, because last year he could spot some northern lights on 14th August. He showed me the videos of last year’s activity and the graphs indicating the northern lights activity as of today – there was quite an activity really, but we could not see it as the sky was not dark enough. Hopefully, we could see it on the last night of us all in Tromso.

I therefore had a chance to meet our players at the tournament hall, which may be the last time. Who knows if there are not that important issues on the 14th, I might skip the GA Meeting and watch the games of our players instead. You all know the results of today’s matches and as such there is no need for me to write about them. Poompong finally got his FM title, the youngest ever for Thailand, though it came through special exception for this Chess Olympiad. We are now hoping for more: the first WFM for Nattakritta – if she wins her final game in the last round, plus Champions of Group E for both Men and Women. Evidently, TCA is heading towards the right direction. We came here to let our young players gain some experiences at a Chess Olympiad Event, but now the players have achieved beyond our expectations. All of this could not have been possible had we not been given so much support from our main sponsor – the Thai Beverages Plc.

I had a brief chat with Alexandra Botez of Canadian Women Team before her game today, enquiring if she could perhaps take part in our Thailand BCC Open 2015. She said it might be possible, depending on her vacation time and the terms of conditions. She could be a very good promoter of chess in Thailand, as a large number of Thai people know her well about her beauty on the internet (Manager Online Web Site). She is more exquisite than Bella – the Kazak volleyball player. To me, it would definitely be a good investment. I will raise this issue with the TCA Board. Maybe we even provide her with return airfare and accommodation throughout the tournament, plus a few days tour of Thailand. She said to me that one of her cousin used to live in Thailand for seven years. This is a plus and a positive sign. For your information, GM Nigel Short and GM Eugene Torre said they both would participate in our next year’s tournament.

Maung persuaded me to go with him up the mountain via the cable car. I agreed to accompany him. We could go by bus, but it would cost us 45 NOK per person. So, we decided to walk across the bridge and from there it was just 15 minutes walk to the cable car station. It was a good decision, because we could have more time enjoy the sight-seeing of the city on the other side of Tromso. It appears that this area is the habitat of rich people, with many big and lovely houses. It was not until 5 pm. that we finally got to the cable car station. It cost us 110 NOK; we got discount of 30 NOK as we are chess people in the Chess Olympiad. How nice.

The cable car leaves every half an hour and it opens from 10.00 a.m. to 1 a.m. There were not many people in the car we got on. Up there we could see a lot more people but not that many. The view from the top is magnificent. On their first rest day, our players came here too, but the weather was bad – full of clouds – and they could not see any view of the city of Tromso at all. Actually, one can walk up to the mountain through a steep trekking track for free. Some locals do that for exercising, especially during summer time. We met a young girl who greeted us in Thai language. She has lived here for many years as her father is a Norwegian. In Tromso, wherever you go, you tend to meet Thais quite easily. We spent nearly two hours on the top of this mountain taking pictures and enjoying the excellent view. We came down and got back to the hotel around 8.00 p.m., just enough time to join the Georgia presentation of 2018 Chess Olympiad.

The Georgian presentation party to host the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi was simple. Only video presentation were shown. Wine and snacks were served. On second thought, after consultations with chess friends, I think I would change my mind to vote for South African City of Durban instead. Thai nationals are not required to apply for visas to visit South Africa under the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Republic of South Africa. For Batumi, we need visas, which is too troublesome. And, Baku and Batumi are just 100 kilometres apart. We are going to Baku in two years time, and to go to Batumi in 2018 would be more or less the same place – not much different. Upon my checking with the air fares among other things, South African City of Durban favours us better. However, Batumi is getting strong support from FIDE and it is offering more money to FIDE than Durban. With Kirsan camp won all the way in voting, it is likely that Batumi stands a better chance than Durban. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

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