Canadian Visa Delay For Chess Players: FIDE Has Plan B In Place (Ld)


(MENAFN- IANS) Chennai, March 2 (IANS) Chess masters from four countries, which include India (five players) and Russia, are yet to get their visas from Canada to play in the upcoming FIDE Candidates Tournament to be held in Toronto from April 3-22, said a senior official of the International Chess Federation or FIDE.

He also said the Federation has a Plan B in place.

“We hope to get a reply from the Canadian authorities within a week... Not willing to move the event, we were diligently preparing together with an outstanding LOC, but we do have plan B,” said GM Emil Sutovsky, CEO, FIDE, in a post on X.

On messages posted about replacement of players, Sutovsky said:“FIDE won't replace players for visa issues or postpone the event. We have a strong team and enough resources to ensure staging it elsewhere at the same dates. But we are really focused on Canada now. A lot of effort was put into making Toronto an exceptional event.”

When contacted by IANS, Sutovsky said,“The situation is that most of the players who submitted visa applications haven't got it. FIDE, along with the CFC (Canadian Chess Federation) and the LOC (Local Organising Committee) are undertaking every effort.

“We are being helped by a local lawyer to whom we have sent official letters explaining the urgency.

It is down to Canadian authorities now. We have reached out to several ministers and MPs, and we really hope by the end of next week, the players either get visa or at least we get an official confirmation that it will be issued on time.

“There is also a Plan B - relocating the event. But we are focused on turning every stone so that we have good news by the end of the next week.

However, Sutovsky did not explain what FIDE's Plan B is or the alternate venue.

The three Indian players who have qualified for the FIDE Candidates open category are Grandmasters (GM) R. Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi. The other two players, GM Koneru Humpy and Woman GM R. Vaishali, are in the women's category.

On Friday, FIDE had made an appeal to the Canadian government to speed-up the visa process for the players.

Interestingly, former world champion and FIDE Deputy President Viswanathan Anand will be the commentator at the Candidates Tournament.

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