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Yohanes Chitra forced to return to Los Angeles
Posted on 2005-11-07 11:14:47
Bad news I´m afraid...
Yohanes Chitra made it to Keflavik airport in Iceland this morning, after having been delayed for an entire day already, but was then stopped in customs. Apparently he has a non-standard passport, a "fugitive" passport, which must have something to do with his family being refugees from Indonesia or something like that. So, he has official travel documents from the USA, but Iceland would not accept them. And nobody knows why they wouldn´t accept those documents.
Yohanes was able to reach Henry Aspenryd, who was with Benkt and I at the tournament hotel (since Benkt and Henry needed to do WOC preparations). Henry, Benkt, myself, and a hotel manager all made calls on his behalf, to embassies and port police and other places, but it was fruitless.
Bjorn Birgisson, the owner of the Iceland sponsor company, was called and spent the entire afternoon calling government officials whom he knew personally, but apparently even that didn´t work. It was extremely nice of him to do, because he doesn´t know Yohanes and it doesn´t make him any money. He canceled all the press interviews we were going to do today, too, though maybe we can do them tomorrow.
So, after about 5 hours of this, Yohanes was forced to fly home. There is no mathematical chance he can participate in this year´s WOC. I have called Eddie and left a message on his answering machine, to inform him he is needed on the USA team this year- which makes this 2 out of 3 WOCs he has had to play as a last-minute replacement, assuming he is willing to do so.
If you check the WOC homepage, other players have made last minute cancellations, too, and because two of their replacements were going to be table judges, and another one decided not to come, we are down to two table judges in the WOC- Jan de Graaf and Corrie de Graaf. There are some potential issues with the Iceland players, too (two of them have very pregnant wives, among other things), so this has basically been a day of bad news for what still looks to be a fundamentally good WOC.
That´s all for now....
P.S. This now makes the third Indonesian player, out of the three to ever try to play in the WOC, who has had major hassles in trying to play in the WOC or in qualification tournaments. A very unfortunate track record.
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