ECC in Groningen cancelled
The European Chess Championships, that were to take place in December and January in Groningen, has been cancelled. Due to some radical decisions of the FIDE and the troublesome relationship with the ECU, the organizing chess foundation of Groningen (SSG) found it necessary to cancel the tournament. As a consequence, the traditional chess festival in Martiniplaza has also been cancelled.
Over a year ago, Groningen was appointed by the European Chess Union (ECU) to organize the ECC 2001. Only later the FIDE declared that the continental championships would also function as qualification tournaments for the World Championships. Since the WCC 2001 would take place in November, the ECU decided to have an extra ECC that was appointed to Macedonia and took place in June. After an emergency meeting the SSG and ECU agreed that the ECC would take place the year after and would be held as the ECC 2002.
However, another decision taken by the FIDE meant that there would be no WCC in 2002. This decision had huge consequences for the prize-money and the amount of qualification places for the WCC. The European Chess Union was not very flexible and refused to accept the proposals put forward by the SSG. In October the president of the ECU decided, without deliberation with the other board members, to withdraw assigning the ECC to Groningen. In the meantime, his board had delayed sending the invitations by two months. Although, in the end there was an agreement, albeit little satisfying for Groningen, it turned out the delay in organizing the tournament was of such an extent that it was decided to cancel the tournament. At the closing day of registration, only some twenty players had registered for the ECC. Yesterday, the task of the organization of the ECC was given back to the ECU.
The SSG and the organizing committee that was formed especially for this occasion, one that includes the Dutch chess federation, will now focus on handling all the obligations that were made regarding the organization of the tournament. The SSG regrets the way things turned out and considers the possibility to hold the ECU financially responsible.