UPDATE: An attendee at the WYCC championships has sent me an email explaining that this was done at the request of Israeli security:
I am qualified to comment, because I attended the entire WYCC, I was physically present and observed when the Israeli delegation registered on site, and I spoke repeatedly and at length with key members of the Israeli delegation. I am not affiliated with nor do I represent FIDE, the WYCC organizers, the UAE government, or the Israeli delegation. I am writing only as an individual who wants to ensure that the facts are presented, and in a fair and balanced manner.
To provide some context, Israel originally registered for the WYCC on or about the original deadline. The WYCC organizers listed them on their web site under the Israeli flag and name. Israel then withdrew about a week before the WYCC, at the request of Israeli security. The WYCC organizers accordingly removed the references on its web site to Israel and its players. Israel then re-entered about two days before the WYCC, with the approval of Israeli security. The WYCC organizers again listed them on the WYCC web site under the Israeli flag and name. The WYCC organizers also promptly facilitated visas for the Israelis, despite their late re-entry. During that time frame, several other countries and several dozen other players withdrew or entered late as well. None of the above involved (or needed to involve) FIDE.
Regarding Israeli players listed under the “FIDE” name, it was Israel alone who requested that they be switched from “Israel” to “FIDE.” I personally saw this happen at the registration desk on the first day of the WYCC. The WYCC organizers immediately complied, updated their database of Israeli players, and re-printed ID badges that they had already printed with “Israel.” FIDE was neither consulted nor informed at the time about this change, as such approval was required by, and given by, only the WYCC organizers. This change was then also reflected on the WYCC web site.
Listing players under FIDE or another non-country is not unique to this WYCC. For example, there are several dozen non-Israeli players, both youths and adults, listed under “Federation: FIDE” on the FIDE web site itself – please seehttp://ratings.fide.com/advaction.phtml?idcode=&name=&title=&other_title=&country=FID&sex=&srating=0&erating=3000&birthday=&radio=name&line=asc. As another example, some players at the recent European Youth Chess Championships were listed under “Federation: European Chess Union” in tournament results – please see http://chess-results.com/tnr106045.aspx?lan=1&art=25&fedb=EUR&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984.
At the request of Israeli security, the Israeli team stayed at a hotel, rather than in campus dorms as did most other competitors. However, all delegations had the option of where to stay. Indeed, some people in my country’s delegation chose to stay at a hotel, for comfort, and for their greater peace of mind about young children. The dorms were not unsafe per se, but a dorm setting with tiny single-person rooms, and shared bathrooms, might not be perceived as suitable by some parents for their young children.
Regarding the more general treatment of Israelis, the WYCC organizers and other delegations treated Israelis the same as others. For example, emails sent to all Heads of Delegation equally included Israel. The WYCC organizers invited all Heads of Delegation, equally including Israel (who attended), to an exclusive reception and dinner at a private residence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, son of Khalifa bin Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the United Arab Emirates. Commemorative glass plaques of appreciation were offered equally to each attendee at this special event. As well, during the WYCC, there were no known negative incidents involving Israeli players.
At the conclusion of the WYCC, the WYCC organizers re-listed Israel under their flag and name – please see http://www.worldyouth2013.com/playerlist/country and click on the Israeli name and flag in its correct alphabetical spot.
Four years ago, I posted here about a controversy over the Turks not playing the Israeli national anthem for Marsel Efroimski, an Israeli girl who won the Girls’ Under-14 World Chess Championship at the World Youth Chess Championships, which were played in Turkey that year.
Once again this year, the World Youth Chess Championships are being held in a Muslim nation: the United Arab Emirates, and predictably, once again the Muslim hosts are demonstrating their anti-Semitism. This fresh controversy has been noted in a news report at ChessBase, a highly respected chess news site, as well as in a comment on the blog of Ben Finegold, the coach of the US delegation.
Here is the report at ChessBase:
One very unfortunate development concerns the Israeli players and delegation. The official site, which lists all the players and nationalities, took down the Israeli flag and has even gone so far as to rename them from the country “FIDE”, attributing them the FIDE flag as well. It is a very unfortunate precedent for the World Youth, and unheard of until now.
After Chess City, there is now the new country FIDE
FIDE is the acronym of the World Chess Federation — the global governing body for chess tournaments. Then there’s this comment at Finegold Chess, which has more details:
Ben, maybe you can answer this question because I can’t find anyone else on the scene who might know!
When the World Youth Championships started in Al Ain, all the countries were listed on the “Players” page (http://worldyouth2013.com/playerlist/country) — and included on that list was “Israel,” which, when clicked, showed the individual player listings for the 8 or so competitors from Israel.
But sometime in the last 3 days or so, the word “Israel” was inexplicably DELETED from the list of participating nations, and a NEW “entry” appeared on the list of participating nations: “FIDE.”
When one clicks on the “FIDE” nation-entry, now all the formerly Israeli players are listed there (http://worldyouth2013.com/playerlist/country/245).
What apparently happened (as far as I can tell) is that the organizers (or another nation) complained about or refused to allow “Israel” to participate in the championships, so the Israeli national association was expelled from the tournament — and yet the players were allowed to continue playing directly under the aegis of FIDE, just so long as they did not identify as being from Israel.
Even stranger, some of the individual Israeli/FIDE players have ZERO results posted, which seems to indicate that they are not actually playing in the tournament, despite being listed as participants. Either that, or they ARE participating, but their games are not being reported on for some reason.
If I had to guess, I suspect that some of the Israeli players withdrew from the tournament in protest after their national identity was stripped from them.
This is especially tragic in the Girls Under 18 division where the #3 seed (Marsel Efroimski), who had a very good performance at the recent Olympiad and was thus one of the favorites to win the division, is not participating (as far as I can tell) in the 2013 World Youth Championships either because she withdrew or was expelled.
All of this is speculation, however, so I ask you Ben: What is the real story? Could you please ask the ISRAEL/FIDE coach what is going on, and then report back here? I (and the world) would be very interested to know.
Chess should be free of politics, and it is disturbing to see stuff like this going on, if that indeed what is happening. Help! You are our only source of information!
December 22, 2013 at 2:44 PM
Note that the same Jewish girl chess champion whom the Islamic supremacists targeted in 2009, Marsel Efroimski, either withdrew or was expelled this time.
At the World Youth Chess Championships 2013 website, the story checks out: the Israeli players are now listed as belonging to the nation of “FIDE,” complete with the FIDE flag.