FMJD denies the rights of Georgiev and Getmanski to challenge world champion Shvartsman

Due to the pandemic and the decisions of the FMJD there has been a lot of chaos around the appointment of the rightful challenger for the world title match in 2022. In this article I will make an attempt to put things in perspective. First I will give a chronological overview of the events. Then I will give my own opinion, and make a case for still organizing the match Georgiev-Boomstra as the proper solution for resolving the issues.

The match Georgiev-Boomstra

Unfortunately the match between world champion 2019 Alexander Georgiev and the winner of the world title match in 2018 Roel Boomstra was never played. In an interview on Georgiev explains his point of view about the situation. Between December 2019 and December 2020 there have been negotiations between him and the FMJD about the format of the match, about the dates and about a formal contract. Meanwhile the organizers of the match had already planned to start the match in January 2021 on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

The negotiations did not go very smoothly. As Georgiev points out, the rules about establishing the format of the match were not followed, and no contract was provided to him. Nevertheless in November he decided to accept the suggested format of the match. Furthermore in December he requested a delay, because of the poor covid situation in The Netherlands. The FMJD did not grant this delay, and decided to present Georgiev an ultimatum. This ultimatum was rejected by Georgiev. Then in February 2021 the FMJD agreed to postpone the match until the autumn of 2021.

The world championship 2021

In July the tournament for the world championship 2021 was played in Tallinn, Estonia. During this tournament there was a General Assembly of the FMJD. Quite unexpectedly, the following press release was issued:

During the General Assembly of the FMJD on July 3, 2021 the General Assembly decided against organizing the World Title Match between Roel Boomstra and Alexander Georgiev in the fall of 2021.

New Members of the FMJD council have no rights to change this decision.

On December 28, 2020 Alexander Georgiev wrote an official letter to Tournament Director and FMJD office that he refused from the match and this is his final decision.

FMJD council's decision is that the match for the World title in 2022 will be played between Roel Boomstra and the Champion from the World championship in Tallinn. If Roel Boomstra will be a champion then between Roel Boomstra and the vice-champion from the World championship held in Tallinn.

Apparently during the meeting the members of the FMJD have decided it was needed to cast a vote about the match. Needless to say that the timing of this decision was extremely poor, since it had an immediate effect on the tournament that was still being played. Also worth noting is that the members of the FMJD did not declare Boomstra to be the winner of the match. Finally it's remarkable that the statement mentions the refusal of Georgiev to play the match, while this is strongly denied by Georgiev himself.

The players committee

The FMJD has a players committee, and since the matter at hand is about the match for the world championship, one would expect that the players committee had been consulted. This is not the case. The players committee issued the following statement about it:
Regarding the Issue of the World Title Match Men 2021 , have unanimously expressed their Opinion in favour of strict respect the Rules and Regulations of FMJD: When a world title match cannot be played the World Champion keeps his title but does not have the right for the title match 2 years later. Then this right for a title match goes to the numbers 1 and 2 of the World Championship tournament. FMJD has no any right to change placing rules 2 rounds before the end of WC. PC would have suggested FMJD Executive Board that Annexes should be respected. According to FMJD Annexes right to play the match against new WC 2021 GMI Alexander Shwartsman should go to GMI Alexander Getmansky the No.2 of WC.TALLINN 2021. This is the official and clear position of Players Committee expressed within Fmjd's Executive Board by Representative of Players Committee (PC). In short, PC respects and takes note of the FMJD EB decision, but declines any responsibility as it has not been consulted. On behalf. of Players Committee, Jean Marc Ndjofang, The Chair.C 2021
Apparently this made the FMJD realize that they should have consulted the players committee, since the minutes of the FMJD Executive Council Meeting from August 2021 contain the following statement:
The FMJD Board confirms its willingness to work closely with the FMJD Players Committee.
These words sound quite hollow if you ask me.

What next?

The FMJD's decision to grant Boomstra the right to challenge Alexander Shvartsman in 2022 is highly controversial, and many grandmasters have complained about it. It's not clear on what basis this decision was taken, and it doesn't seem to be according to the rules. Also the organization of the match Georgiev-Boomstra has been a chaotic process. Many decisions have been been taken, and more often than not it is unclear on what basis. For example, at some point the FMJD decided to invite Pan Yiming to replace Georgiev (which he declined), and then they decided not to invite Guntis Valneris, who ended third in the world championship 2019 with the same amount of points as Pan. But on an earlier occasion with very similar circumstances (after the world championship 2015), the FMJD did decide to invite the number three Boomstra for a world title match. But on what were these decisions based? Nobody knows, because the FMJD has a tradition to disclose nothing about it. It's also unclear why some of these decisions were made, because instead they could simply have followed the rules.

For the draughts world it seems best if the match Georgiev-Boomstra is still being played. Then at least we will have a challenger who has earned the right to play in a match for the world title. If this match is not played, the most logical decision would be to follow the rules and let the number two of the world championship Alexander Getmanski play instead.

See also the interviews with international grandmasters Alexander Georgiev, Alexander Getmanski and Anatoli Gantwarg about this subject on

© Wieger Wesselink