Discussion on handicapped teams at the Olympiads

In January 2005 we raised a problem of the handicapped teams taking part in the Olympiads. Due to hot debate at the FIDE congress we decided to ask our readers to express their opinion. For full text please check the 2005 news archive.

The views of Wojtek Bartelski, the owner of OlimpBase were the following: "If you asked me I would support Mr. Makropoulos' views. The handicapped should be treated on equal terms with the rest. There is no reason to lower the entrance threshold for them as if they were separate species. Gens una sumus!"

Below is the extraction of most interesting opinions of other readers:

IM Jovan Petronić (Singapore) - If FIDE's aim is IOC membership (and it is), there is no discussion possible further. It is never easy to fire ones staff, but what has to be done, has to be done... delicately. As far as the grandmaster losing to an IPCA player, well, there are different types of grandmasters... This title cannot be lost, so many tend not to improve themselves any more, leading to frequent losses to amateur players. On the other hand, if stronger would never lose to weaker, we would not have any progress in chess (or anywhere else). Back to the IOC issue, one cannot be nice when playing chess, offering a draw in a winning position should not be an option here. That's all from me. If I change my mind, I will let you know, these were my initial thoughts only, that I wanted to share.

Antonio Cerina (Italy), disabled player - First of all congratulations for your site, I hope you will improve it yet! The question is not simple, because all disabilities are different, and it is impossible to generalize all the disabilities. And depends about the particular situation of the single player. I'm a physically handicapped Player, and I can tell that the only real disadvantage for a Physical handicapped player, generally is the time (note I'm handicapped but I'm not paralyzed). I believe that if you have not too big physical problems and a medium disability, you could reach very good results at international level too. And I think is not impossible to have a GM with disability. Of course there are for disabled players a little bit of difficult in plus respect non-disabled chessplayers, for the question of the time (for example in the blitz game a disabled player has a great disadvantage generally). But I can tell that in a normal tournament games with classical time limits there are no differences between disabled and non-disabled. It would be very good return at the old rule of adjournment of the game (so the disadvantage for disability in my opinion would be annulled). In my opinion the most important thing is the technical preparation and theoretical preparation. The next step would be that a disabled could be play in a national team with no disabled players (of course if he is good), for me there are no intellectual differences between disabled and non disabled, and chess is the only game that a physically disabled could play with the same possibilities of non disabled player. There is only the question of time that can be solved with adjournment (of course if you apply this rule to disabled you must apply this to non disabled too). But in conclusion more is the time less are the disadvantages. For the visual handicapped is another question and different thematics, of course the disadvantages are more for the visually handicapped. I Would be in flavour but I know that the disability is different from Physically, and there is a lot of difficult in plus for them.

IA Alireza Mozaffari (Iran) - I think that only visually handicapped players should have such permission and other handicapped should be treated within normal players.

George (Canada) - Yes I'd say handicapped players should play in the Olympiads. I can't see why not!

Rob Vlaardingerbroek (Netherlands) - The question: Should handicapped teams play at the Olympiads? should be answered with a simple yes. Does a blind organisation like FIDE have any reason for existence is another question.