In a letter posted on the Turkish Chess Federation’s Web site on Wednesday, Ali Nihat Yazici, the federation’s president, announced that Turkey had withdrawn as host of the European Women’s Chess Championship. It was to be held in March 2011 in Gaziantep, a city in the southeastern part of the country.
The prize fund was to be 104,000 euros (about $139,000 at current exchange rates), which would have exceeded the 101,000 euro prize fund ($135,000) for the overall European Championship, which will be held in Aix-les-Bains, France.
The reason given for Turkey’s withdrawal was a conflict between the federation and the European Chess Union, which has jurisdiction over the championship.
Yazici wrote that he tried to work out the details of organizing the championship with Sava Stoisavljevic, the general secretary of the E.C.U., but she insulted him and treated him in a condescending manner. He contacted Silvio Danailov, the president of the E.C.U., in an effort to resolve the problems, but he and the federation were â€œcompletely neglected.â€ So a decision was made to withdraw as the organizer.
In addition to the letter, Yazici published 13 documents of correspondence and proposals about the championship that were exchanged between the federation and the E.C.U. In the documents, there were several issues of contention regarding the contract between the two organizations.
The most significant were that the Turkish federation wanted to charge an organizing fee of 70 euros per player ($93.50), 120 euros for any player who chose not to stay at one of the two hotels reserved by the organizers ($160), and a late fee for anyone not registering by a deadline of Feb. 10.
Initially, Stoisavljevic countered that the first two fees were unacceptable and unprecedented. As to a late fee, she said that was also unacceptable, but suggested that the Turkish federation could bar late entries if it was concerned about possible additional hotel room costs, or accept them but not guarantee that players would be able to get rooms at the prearranged rates.
In a later e-mail, Stoisavljevic began by writing that Yazici had â€œdouble standardsâ€ in the negotiations. But she agreed to relent on all of the Turkish federation requirements, except the imposition of late fees.
Yazici replied that he felt â€œvery much insulted,â€ and soon after Turkey withdrew as host of the championship, despite a letter from Danailov accepting all of the federation’s demands and requesting only that late entries not be accepted.
On the surface, the dispute seems to be over fees and the language of the contract between the E.C.U. and the Turkish federation, but there may be more to it than that.
Danailov and Yazici were opponents in a September election for the presidency of the E.C.U. and there may be lingering bad blood.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Danailov suggested that there may be a more important issue: The federation might have had trouble financing the championship. He said that the Turkish federation was supposed to put down a 7,500 euro ($10,000) deposit in May, but he said it was not done.
Then, six months before the event, in September, the federation was supposed to provide a 97,500 euro ($130,000) bank guarantee that the money for the prizes was available, but he said that also did not happen.
Danailov said of Yazici, â€œThe guy was looking to withdraw somehow from the very beginning.â€
In an e-mail, Stoisavljevic said that the initial tone of her e-mail and phone conversations with Yazici were friendly. She said it was only after she objected to the fees in the draft of the regulations for the championship that problems in the negotiations arose. She said that she regretted using the words â€œdouble standardsâ€ in one of her e-mails to Yazici and was willing to apologize for that. She also noted that in the end, in an effort to salvage the championship in Turkey, the E.C.U. had accepted all of the charges for the players, except for the late fee.
Danailov that he would look for a new host for the championship. He said he did not want to fight with Yazici or the Turkish federation. â€œWe always try to find sponsors and sell chess. That is hard enough already.â€