World Chess Federation suspends Asean group

The Asean Chess Confederation (ACC) has been suspended temporarily as an affiliated member of the World Chess Federation (Fide) from this monthfor failing to undertake actions requested by the global body. This means that Fide titles cannot be awarded during ACC events for now.

The ACC coordinates activities of its members - national chess federations of some Asean countries - and organises competitions, including the Asean Age Group Championships.

This competition will take place in late May, and sees up to 100 or more participants from Singapore each year.Local participation is high as tournament venues are nearby and it is less expensive to take part, said Singapore Chess Federation (SCF) president Leonard Lau. Last year, the event was held in Singapore, and May's event will be in Thailand.

Mr Lau expects the suspension to have minimal impact eventually, citing other regional tournaments that local chess players can join, such as the Penang Open, Johor Open and Bangkok Open.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Fide said that ACC's suspension was related to its sanctions against the SCF and its council member, Mr Tony Tan.

According to SCF, a member federation of Fide, a shouting incident took place at a chess championship in Singapore last June between Mr Tan and a coach from the Philippines.

The ACC, then headed by former SCF president Ignatius Leong, tried to impose three-year sanctions on council members of the Singapore federation.

ACC sanctions would bar SCF council members here from organising and participating in ACC events or ACC member events.

But in a letter last month, Fide said that the ACC has no power to impose such sanctions and that resolutions passed on the matter should be "revoked without any delay". Last week, it announced a temporary suspension on the ACC that can be lifted only by the international body's general assembly, which will meet in September. This is subject to the ACC taking the actions requested by Fide.

Fide said it has not heard from the ACC, which is no longer its affiliate.

Mr Leong, who stepped down from his leadership roles in both the SCF and ACC in October last year, could not be reached for comment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'World Chess Federation suspends Asean group'. Print Edition | Subscribe