Rule reversal: Woman Grandmaster loses more than her medal
Rohan Swamy : Pune, Wed Jan 11 2012, 05:22 hrs

In a bizarre turn of events, city-based Soumya Swaminathan, bronze medalist at the Women’s World Team Chess Championship (WWTCC) held in Turkey last month, has found that her medal has been withdrawn by the organisers without even intimating her. “I learnt about this through a source on January 5. Apparently, there were some issues about the manner in which the rules were interpreted, and owing to that, Russian player Gunina Valentina has been awarded the medal,” said a shocked Soumya.

What is more shocking in her case is that till date, the organisers of the event have not yet informed her or the All India Chess Federation (AICF) about the decision, said Soumya. The city girl scored 3/5 on the fourth board. During the closing ceremony, she was awarded the individual bronze medal for the fourth board, which came along with a cash prize of EUR250. Soumya returned to Pune post the event. However, she was in for a rude shock soon after when she learnt that her name had been taken off the official medal’s tally. A disappointed Soumya returned the prize money and the medal to the AICF to be sent back to the organisers.

Citing lack of professionalism and ambiguity of rules that were disputed during the technical meeting after the tournament was over, she wrote to WWCTC on January 9, seeking clarification on the matter. However, she has received no response so far.

Soumya said she was in possession of a letter written by IA Erdem Ucarkus, chief arbitrator of WWCTC, to a journalist. “The writing style of the championship regulation about individual board degrees may allow two different interpretations of the results. After the closing ceremony upon some objections about individual board degrees, we had a meeting where we decided that the other interpretation is more favourable for the soul of the competition in the same category. (The) organising committee considered that not taking back the money prize from (the) affected player is (a) more proper gesture. But, of course this is not valid for the medals. As a summary, Soumya Swaminathan gets the prize, but she didn’t get the medal.”

… contd.


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