The International Chess Federation (FIDE) disqualified the Philippines from the 2021 Online Olympiad after one of its players who was set to compete in the Top Division was found to have violated the governing body’s fair play rules via engine use, The Philippine Star reported on Monday.
For the infraction, FIDE excluded the entire 12-member Philippine team from further competition, a decision that the local coaches appealed. The federation also negated all of the team’s partial achievements.
“We will appeal it, dapat hindi nilahat dahil hindi gusto ng team ito,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) Chief Operation Officer and Delegation Head Jayson Gonzales. “Ang rule, kapag nakita [ang] player o players, forfeited lahat [ng] game niya at disqualified.”
“The FIDE may opt to disqualify the whole team according to the rules, [but] hindi automatic. It’s an unfair and unjust decision,” he added.
In his letter of reconsideration to FIDE, Gonzales pleaded for the other members to be allowed to proceed with the tournament. He also made clear that the NCFP had already stripped the culprit of their National Master title and had been permanently barred from participating in national online tournaments that will be organized by NFCP in the future.
The Philippines had reached second place in the Olympiad’s Division A, finishing behind Indonesia and ahead of China and Australia when FIDE reached its verdict. Even if it deducted the erring member’s 3.5-point score from the team’s 39.5 overall points, the Philippine delegation would have still made it to the top three and qualified to compete in the Top Division, hence Gonzalez’s appeal.
However, FIDE turned down the appeal and stood by its decision to sanction the whole team. In his response to Gonzalez’s letter of reconsideration, FIDE Global Strategy Commission Secretary Pavel Tregubov said the following:
“The FPP (Fair Play Policy) decision cannot be revised and unfortunately, the Philippine team will not be able to continue the competition. But we sincerely hope that such strong measures will help all of us in fighting cheating in online as well as in OTB (over the board) events.”
Australia will replace the Philippines in Division A competition, which is set to take place from September 8 to 11.