The many Georgian competitors appealed to the world body FIDE to change the venue but, with the blithe statement that chess and politics should not mix, the protests were dismissed out of hand.
Nalchik was already considered dangerous thanks to regular guerilla attacks - Sydney's [IM] Irina Berezina refused her invitation months ago - but now the withdrawals are coming thick and fast. For the Russians, whose women players have been outclassed by the Georgians for forty years, this may be viewed as an opportunity rather than a problem.
Then today, the Aussie grandmaster went straight for it:
So on Thursday the farce known as the Women's World Championship will begin with multiple walkovers, and end with a Champion more akin to paper than diamond.
He's right about that, of course, but at least we'll get a few good laughs out of the whole sorry situation.
It won't, however, be as much laugh as I had courtesy of the Opals, the Aussie women's basketball team. After all their tough pre-game trash talk, the Opals were completely humiliated by the powerful Americans in their gold medal match last night in Beijing. I think there's a lesson there somewhere.