FIDE: Which Way Forward?
Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) is gearing up for a pivotal election this fall involving the Presidency of its body. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will attempt to defend his position as the incumbent President. Also vying for the position will be former World Champion Anatoly Karpov.
Karpov announced his candidacy earlier this month and stated that is was necessary to “restore order”. Karpov had entered the race for Presidency in 2006, but later withdrew. In a 2006 interview, Karpov gave his view on the race.
“Well I personally think that Ilyumzhinov’s chances for success are close to 100% today. The major reason is that Bessel Kok only looks at chess from the point of view of the professional chess players. But Chess Federation incorporates much more than this. And professional chess is only tiny part of entire range of events and activities which take place the World of Chess.”
President Kirsan IlyumzhnovPhoto by FIDE.com.
Karpov’s prophetic comments were on point as Ilyumzhinov secured the support of 96 federations while Bessel Kok languished at 54. Kok got the backing of several powerful federations and the Association of Chess Players, but was unable to stage a coherent campaign to win wide appeal. Karpov will make sure he does not repeat the same mistake. On the other hand, Ilyumzhinov will attempt to solidify his base.
Karpov has always maintained his contact with the chess world. These days he primarily participates in exhibitions since he was unable to maintain the standard that made him one of the greatest players in history. Ilyumzhinov will be credited with unifying the World Championship for the first time since Garry Kasparov bolted FIDE.
GM Anatoly Karpov, 12th World Champion
After Kasparov’s abdication and formation of a rival body, the chess world was set in a tailspin that would last for more than a decade. After several controversial changes in the cycle, Viswanthan Anand unified the title by winning the closed tournament in Mexico and then successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik.
Kramnik has been very critical about the way the championship cycle was conducted and has given an implicit endorsement of Karpov. While he stated that he is not against Ilyumzhinov, he made note that some of the best administrators for chess have been professional players. Kramnik mentioned Max Euwe as an example. Ilyumzhinov should have some concern since Karpov is a “favorite son” of Russia.
During the 2006 election campaign, there was a lot of discussion about the democratic voting system of FIDE where each federation gets a vote. Many advocated that the votes be determined by size of federation to negate the power of smaller federations which are in the majority.
It is thought that smaller federations, despite paying the same fees and having the same member obligations, should not have equal number of votes because they have fewer players and little influence. However, that would merely consolidate power in the hands of a few wealthy federations and evolve into a chess oligarchy.
It is also assumed that smaller federations do not have the political savvy to make objective decisions to chose the best candidate. There are notions that smaller nations are swayed by small favors and cajoling. It is hopeful that none of the candidates will adopt this condescending mentality by sending emissaries around the globe with sets and clocks hoping to sway the vote.
Delegates of FIDE General Assembly
at 2008 Chess Olympiad
2010: A Chess Odessey
So which way forward for FIDE? What must the candidate face in garnering the support of the membership body? Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been FIDE President since 1995 and it is not clear what his platform will be. He certainly has a number of questions to answer due to many unpopular decisions he has made with respect to sponsorship, championship cycle and FIDE rules.
One legacy will be that he endured the fractured World Championship and was able to unite the crown on his watch. He was able to hold major tournaments on each continent and saw the growth of chess in developing countries and the rise of several young players. He was President during a new “chess boom”. Here are some issues I see that may be part of a platform:
- chess grants for aspiring IMs, GMs (must apply),
- better support for developing federations,
- better securing of sponsorship which will come with a more aggressive marketing plan,
- better marketing support for federations,
- more transparency on FIDE changes,
- uniform internet sites for each federation at FIDE.com with e-commerce functionality,
- better diplomacy with federations.
Regardless of the respective platforms, this will be a contested race. Ilyumzhinov will begin making inroads and marketing to his base. He will face a challenge in getting the support of the elite nations, many of which contain players disgruntled with many of the conditions for the professional ranks.
Karpov may go in with very specific targets of Ilyumzhinov’s mistakes while he will have to convince constituents that his lack of administrative experience will be buttressed by a strong team. It will be important to see who he chooses as a running mate.
These next few months will be crucial in setting the tone for what will be an important election for the future of international chess. There may be other candidates lurking. Nevertheless… may the best team win!
Does Karpov have any realistic chances? Hasn’t Kirsan entrenched himself deep in FIDE? Is there any point even running against Kirsan?
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took trips to Lebanon and the Central African Republic (CAR) apparently for business reasons. Ilyumzhinov will be looking to win the African vote in September.
In an unofficial campaign stop in the CAR, he took an opportunity to promote “Chess in Schools”. There was a symbolic ceremony making the CAR the 170th member of FIDE while stressing the development for chess on the continent.
This visit comes at a time when there has been little measurable improvement in the development of African chess since the last election in 2006. There were pledges made to Africa, but thus far, they haven’t borne fruit. In fact, chess has regressed in much of Africa.
You underestimate how susceptible to ‘offers’ African feds may be. As you can now see Kirsan has garnered critical support from all the Key players – Turkish Fed, Asian Fed, African fed. Kirsan has already won the election. FIDE elections are not about principles and what is right etc. It is all about how an incumbent can manipulate susceptible feds and bank the votes.
I am of the opinion African chess has two very different faces to it. One is the face of the African officials and the other is the face of the African players. I believe what the African officials do and practice is not what the African players want in general. Unfortunately because they have the power the African officials win the day and the rest of the world thinks this is the true face of African chess when it is not. I may be wrong, but this is how my eyes see it.
Until the day comes when African players call the shots in these matters, the status-quo will remain.
In general, the officials are players as well. I am familiar with some of the issues in Kenya and follow the discussions in the Yahoo Group, but there are too many factors involved in these arrangements. Different federations have different problems and even the big federations have these same issues.
I am not making a judgment here. I am only stating that I hope the election will not be based on sending chess equipment (trinkets). FIDE just sent Uganda 200 sets toward the end of his term, but we are not only speaking of Africa. There are so many other federations. Africa’s vote will most likely be split as will Europe’s and Asia’s. This will be a close election.
In my view Karpov has genuinely remained active, has promoted chess and has devoted time to developing nations, but has little administrative experience. Kirsan has been able to get a world championship cycle unified, but there are problems with sponsorship and marketing. Chess in Africa has devolved.
If the perception is that smaller federations (including those in Africa) can be bought with a visit from an appointed GM, or send a box of clocks, then we have boiled this process down to a trivial battle.
I am of the opinion that Kirsan has already won the elections. Plus the Turkish fed (yazici is running mate) idea of now sponsoring or helping to sponsor African feds with this big youth programme means Kirsan has probably also won the 2014 elections….
Chess-in-Schools is a “paper tiger” for Africa. Ilyumzhinov’s trip to the Central African Republic was not a chess trip. He used the opportunity to take photos in a country (without a chess community) to promote CIS. It was opportunistic, but I’m not sure how this effort will be received.
Yacizi is interested in developing chess for Turkey so I’m not sure sure what will be done in Africa. He has not been successful in running for various offices, but he has been very successful in developing some programs in Turkey. The situation is totally different in Africa. In order to make such a program successful, you need a good chess infrastructure. One thing the U.S. has done well is the Chess-in-Schools. Despite U.S. chess having many challenges, the youth movement has produced some bright talent.
I’m sure Lewis Ncube will be asked to address the African delegations at the Zonal Meetings at the Olympiad.
I have looked at developments in FIFA in order to analyse Organisations of this size.It seems that there will always a cabal of influential voices which favour a few nations. Look at the Champion’s League in Europe, dominated by a few clubs. Every African player desires to play in this competition. The worlds of football and chess are centred in Europe so it is not a true World organisation.
On a positive note, the improvements seen in China, India, Vietnam and the Philipines show what can be achieved with selfless organisers. The Egyptians have shown progress in developing chess. However costs of travel and materials as well as accomodation stand in the way of a player’s development. FIDE rated tournaments are crucial for development and therefore FIDE arbiters and organisers are important. This is where FIDE is failing. It looks at player development alone.Infra structural and organisational development must parallel player development. The ease with which European teenagers reach a certain rating shows how abundant FIDE tournaments are crucial for development. There are no First Saturday toutnaments in Cape Town South Africa or Bridgetown Barbados or Bermuda.
This is where FIDE can make a difference. FIFA has helped numerous African football federations in substanstial ways. Lets see FIDE do the same for chess. We all know the benefits of chess are huge.
I don’t feel the comments on Karpov in Yacizi’s endorsement will win favors with the federations. His comments border on being mean-spirited.
This is off subject, but GM Simutowe is playing in the Philadelphia Open, March 30 – April 4. Pictures to follow.
E-mail me… firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very interesting article and analysis! Just a remark – I wasn’t at the ACP Board that time, but as far as I know, the Association of Chess Professionals was neutral during 2006 elections and didn’t support any of the candidates.
You’re right, the ACP did not release an official statement, but it was clear in conversations and publicity given by the ACP who they were supporting.
“La Fédération Russe et Arkadi Dvorkovitch – ce n’est pas la même chose, je pense. Et autant que je sache, la question du soutien du candidat Ilioumjinov par la RCF n’a pas été discutée. C’est une décision personnelle de Dvorkovitch et je pense que sa déclaration est scandaleuse.
Les résultats d’ Ilioumjinov sont connus. Les échecs sont dans une situation très difficile maintenant, diplomatiquement parlant. Il est à la tête de la FIDE depuis 15 ans – ce qui est plus qu’il ne faut pour changer les choses aux échecs.
Aujourd’hui, je voyage beaucoup dans le monde – je sais que les joueurs d’échecs ainsi que de nombreuses fédérations souhaitent changer. Je crois que Karpov est le candidat idéal pour apporter les changements nécessaires.”
Above Kasparov is disputing the endorsement by Arkady Dvorkovich of the Russian Chess Federation. He basically says that the endorsement by Dvorkovich and the federation are not one in the same. He said the question of which candidate the RCF would support had not been discussed and that the comments are merely of personal conjecture. Kasparov even called the comments “scandalous” and that the results of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov are well-known… FIDE is in a very difficult situation and many federations desire change. Kasparov believes that Anatoly Karpov is the better candidate.
Endorsement: https://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/russia-endorses-ilyumzhinov-for-fide (Chessdom)
Rebuttal: https://www.chessvibes.com/reports/karpov-responds-to-dvorkovich-blatant-cheating/ (Chessvibes)
The Russian Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov arrived in Sofia Sunday for the next game of the World Chess Title Match between Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand of India.
Karpov will make the first symbolic move on Monday during the seventh game between the two contestants.
Karpov confirmed before Bulgarian reporters his plans to run for President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) against its current head, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
“I believe Bulgaria will back me, because chess needs changes. This is what Topalov’s manager, Silvio Danailov, who is running to become President of the European Chess Union, also wants,” Karpov told the Bulgarina National Radio, BNR.
Also on Monday, the Russian champion is scheduled to meet Bulgaria’s President, Georgi Parvanov and give a press conference with Topalov and Danailov.
The sixth game between Topalov and Anand ended with a draw and Anand now has a 1 point lead (3.5:2.5).
Karpov has received the official endorsement of the Russian Chess Federation. This is big news, but of course the RCF is only one federation with one vote. However, they hold a great deal of influence. US Chess put out a detailed story about the case.
Where is Kirsan’s initiative? He’s in trouble.
Several websites report that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has filed a lawsuit in the Moscow courts and a complaint with the FIDE Ethics Commission. Some articles erroneously claim that FIDE (as a body) is suing Karpov, but that cannot be so.
It appears to me that whenever Europeans and Americans are involved in chess politics, it will be contentious with the most hideous fights and scurrilous accusations. Imagine if Topalov or Kramnik were still World Champion… we may have three crowns by now. Of course, other nations have disputes, but here the entire fate of chess legitimacy rides on this election.
Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America have to become more involved at the highest levels… not just as figureheads. I hope Anand remains World Champion until FIDE stabilizes. We see that he was not goaded into a fight by Topalov. Chess doesn’t have time for these political sideshows.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has announced his ticket and unfurled his website monikered, “One World, One Vision.” He has claimed 35 endorsements spanning different regions. His ticket basically comprise of incumbents and Ali Nihat Yazici is the only major change… and it is major. There is no word about Karpov’s ticket.
The “One World, One Vision” party has sent another message to ChessBase citing its platform. It appears rather defensive. It emphasizes unity of all the federations and implies that Karpov is against “one country, one vote”.
To my knowledge, Karpov has not addressed this issue and has certainly done his fair share of service in small federations. On the other hand, it is not clear what Ilyumzhinov has done to foster chess outreach in smaller federations. Hopefully, he will present more accomplishments besides unifying the world title.
There is a scathing report on Susan Polgar’s blog about Karpov and two supporters, Kasparov and Bakh. It contains the most vile accusations and does not put either party in a positive light. It is my hope that in the future, other federations will play a bigger role. Russians have made chess into a circus for past 40 years.
Nominations for Presidential Ticket and Continental Presidents
Elections for the Presidential Ticket and Continental Presidents shall be held at the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
In accordance with the FIDE Statutes, nominations for the Presidential Ticket and Continental Presidents must reach the FIDE Secretariat at least three months before the opening of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk shall be held from Wednesday, September 29th to Saturday October 2nd. Therefore, all nominations by federations must be received in the FIDE Secretariat by midnight Athens time on Monday, June 28th. All nominations should be in accordance with the FIDE Electoral Regulations.
I have quietly been following your coverage of the upcoming FIDE elections and I thought that some of your comments over the last few days or so cannot go without being challenged.
You indicate that you do not recall Karpov ever taking a position on the ONE VOTE ONE NATION policy.
I draw your attention to an interview that Karpov gave to Alexander Roshal during the run up to the 2006 FIDE elections.
In response to Roshal’s question QUOTE “What do you think about the forthcoming elections?” UNQUOTE
Karpov responded thus QUOTE “According to FIDE regulations, only FIDE delegates representing the National federations can officially participate in the elections and take decisions of other precise issues at the FIDE General Assembly. One country-one vote, despite the number and level (I mean Grandmasters) of the chess players. I always thought it would be good to set up a “security council” Those federations whose best chess players are more likely related to the fight for the World Champion title should be given greater importance” UNQUOTE
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to interpret the meaning of the foregoing exchange. The “Security Council” model obviously implies a VETO element which means negating the full effect of “one country-one vote” aspect of the current FIDE policy.
When asked about his withdrawal from the candidacy of the 2006 FIDE elections, Karpov responded as follows:-
QUOTE “I also feel the need to bring clarity after some omissions and different interpretation of my position. It has been always my opinion that the Chess World needs to be considerably improved. I have been always seeking for the ways for it. That is why I am grateful to the American and French initiative and support of different countries that advised me to participate in 2006 FIDE elections. That is why I met another candidate, eastern top manager Bessel Kok to find out how common our opinions are. It turned out that they may differ” UNQUOTE
Has the aforementioned situation changed? I believe that readers are entitled to know if Karpov is running at the behest of the Americans and French once again.
Whilst I do not presume to know the background to the bric-bats in the Ali Yazici-Anatoly Karpov relationship (or lack of), it is worth noting that Yazici has also been the target of an acid tongue from Karpov albeit four years ago.
When asked if his withdrawal from the 2006 FIDE Presidential candidacy was to make way for Bessel Kok; Karpov said QUOTE “No! I have never thought like this. Besides, it would mean that I should also have to support his team which includes for instance such odious personality as Ali Yazici”
The full interview can be viewed on the following link:
Let me state that I have the greatest respect for Anatoly Karpov as a legendary player. During my playing days I remember how his handling of both sides of the Ruy Lopez really encouraged me to take up the challenge of trying to master the Spanish as one of my tournament weapons.
I am however doubtful if Anatoly Karpov will really be the master of a KARPOV FIDE PRESIDENCY. In any event he still has not recanted his stated views regarding a “FIDE SECURITY COUNCIL”
When you have Mr Leon Battesti , Vice-President of the French Chess Federation (who are nominating Karpov) reiterating Karpov’s previously stated position in the following extract:-
QUOTE “The FIDE elections will take place with an Electoral College of 143 voting members. That’s one federation one vote – like, unfortunately, most sports federations. Thus 50 countries in the Electoral College will have an average of 28 players each – some of them only 1 to 5 – and will weigh as heavily as Germany’s one vote for 13,782 players or Russia’s one vote for 12,423.
That all federations should be represented is a right. But that such huge disparities should be accepted is an affront to democratic principles. In fact, as we have already understood, this alibi for equal rights only serves to maintain a system of control by federations that have no real existence, and that have delegates who go to the Olympiads sometimes as the only member, invited, most often, by the incumbent President.” UNQUOTE.
One does not need to read between any lines when the message is quite clear.
Protestations by Karpov’s people that Mr. Battesti is simply expressing his personal views sound quite hollow; especially when taken with Karpov’s long stated views.
I also believe that your previous comments do not give credit to what Ali Yazici has achieved in Turkish chess. Whilst Ali may not be everyone’s favourite chess administrator, his achievements since becoming President of the Turkish Chess Federation are to be admired. You only need to attend a few of the various youth tournaments hosted by Turkey to appreciate how far Ali has brought chess in his homeland.
For the record, Ali stated his candidacy for the Presidency of the European Chess Union long before the battle lines were drawn between Anatoly Karpov and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the FIDE Presidency.
Hence I am surprised when you state that Ali was a surprise omission from the Kirsan ticket.
All in all we are headed for an interesting campaign.
I wish that as we campaign we all appreciate that we all belong to one family.
FIDE VICE PRESIDENT
I will need to look at the Karpov interview about the “Security Council” and what that means. He said Security Council, but I do not see how he states the implementation of this idea. Is he saying that the Security Council will REPLACE the General Assembly? I don’t believe so. Even in the U.N., the Security Council is separate and does not replace the General Assembly. However, we do know that the U.N. is outdated as the same five members has had veto power on important proposals since 1945. I do believe there has to be some way to address the concerns of professional chess within FIDE. A separate council may be a method, but of course it cannot follow the model of the U.N.
As you know democracies take all different forms. In the U.S. there is the electoral college where each states gets a certain number of votes depending on its size. Thus, it is not a true democracy, but it is a widely-touted model. I would not suggest that this be the used within FIDE. There should be a hybrid accommodating the various interests in the FIDE family. I have read Leon Battesti comments, but I realize that neither he nor Garry Kasparov is a candidate. Of course, Kasparov is very influential, but his comments may be his own. Anatoly Karpov needs to state his own position with his running mate.
With respect to the FIDE administration’s work in developing countries, I stand by my comments that not a lot of progress has been made in Africa under Ilyumzhinov. Asia has by far been the success story, but it has been due to their own initiatives. However, other regions are dragging along slowly. Africa remains marginalized and one cannot hope that CACDEC funds will be the panacea to development woes on the continent.
In addition, some of the hasty rule changes he made at the Dresden Olympiad were very damaging to developing federations. The awarding of medals was very damaging because it gives higher-rated players on the top teams an instant advantage at building a high performance rating. With the previous method, it was based on points and percentage. In this method, each player has zero points and no predisposed standing (as you have in ratings). Thus, smaller federations will have almost zero chance of winning a medal even if they score 11/11 or 9/10. A professional player who score 4.5/7 will have a better chance. What are we really celebrating at the Olympiad? Are we touting professional chess (again) or a competition touting maximum effort by players within their own ability?
Also the “spur of the moment” zero-tolerance policy was unfair to smaller federations. Some had to trek by tram for 40 minutes to an hour to get to the venue. Richer nations were able to afford to stay in the city (one minute walk from venue) which afforded them a huge advantage. This was poor foresight in Ilyumzhinov’s case. Unless ALL federations have equal proximity to the venue (as in Italy), the rule cannot be fairly applied. How is it that this was not discussed?
There were some very questionable rulings including the forfeiture of Malawi who was late due to the tram breaking down. Despite verification of this, the arbiters upheld the forfeit. Malawi was one country having to take a 40-minute ride to the venue.
On Ali Yazici… I respect what he has done for chess. He is ambitious and has gotten results. I stated that Yazici was an addition, not omission. However, I do not feel that his incendiary comments (here in 2010) helps the case of Ilyumzhinov. His comments come off very acidic and bitter. As chess players we should understand tactics and throwing these comments back and forth (with people who are not candidates) lowers his credibility. Why not tout the strength of Ilyumzhinov’s “One World, One Vision” as a Vice Presidential candidate?
It is a common mistake to attack the opponent rather than to discuss one’s own platform. We see it a lot here in the U.S. and especially the last election with Obama. I see the “One Vision” statement on the site and there are some laudable proposals including dealing with non-payment. It is an improvement from the draconian method of stripping federations of all rights if they don’t pay.
Prior to the Olympiad in Dresden, many African federations were threatened as if this was a debt collection service. I was a party to these conversations. In fact, FIDE made a mistake on Nigeria stating that they did not pay when in fact, they produced a receipt. Nevertheless, there were some tense moments involving many calls and e-mail between the U.S., Nigeria and FIDE. A simple method would be to build an e-Commerce system where each federation can keep up their accounts online.
I’m waiting to see a full disclosure of platforms with spirited debates and not name-calling. Both parties will have to prove that they deserve the opportunity to represent the rights of chess players far and wide.
There is an interesting interview with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the current President of FIDE. In this interview a number of questions are raised about the FIDE elections, his lawsuit against Anatoly Karpov, the state of FIDE, his ambitions, sponsorship and aliens.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been beating the campaign trail and making proposals to promote chess. He was recently at the ASEAN Confederation Meeting and he made a US$1,000,000 pledge for 10 tournaments in the region. These tournaments are in the honor of Florencio Campomanes who died recently.
He made a similar proposal during the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba with a US$500,000 for two new tournaments. The competitions will be name the Caribbean Cup and the Latin America Cup. He made his latest pledge from his personal funds.
I just received a report that the Ilyumzhinov campaign is going to hold an African Congress in Lusaka, Zambia from July 5th-10th to rally support from the African federations. The delegates are receiving accommodations to attend the meeting which will include lectures and chess activities.
Let’s hope that the representing federations have plenty of questions about the role FIDE will play in Africa’s chess development. Both candidates are trying to get commitments, but there is still three months left before election… a long way to go before having to decide.
I don’t have a contact person and the Ilyumzhinov camp did not send me a press release, but will post here as soon as I get more information.
Waiting for reports from the Bahamas. I hope the delegates at the subzonal are able to raise questions on Karpov’s agenda. He has to prove that his platform of “change” is going to bear fruit. At this point he does not have much to show in terms of administration. He will need to have a strong team. His running mate is a relative unknown.
I’m hoping to get interviews of the two camps soon! Stay tuned!
Following is an interview done with Jorge Vega, Candidate for the President of Americas region. In this interview he addresses a number of points about his candidacy and the current FIDE campaign. This is the first full text interview that I have posted. I’m sure it will invoke a lively debate.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the interview are not those of The Chess Drum. The interview was reprinted with written permission from chessdom.com.
Candidate for Continental President of America 2010 – 2014
Mr. Jorge Vega is Candidate for Continental President of America 2010 – 2014. He gave an extensive interview on the elections situation in America and in FIDE and also announced his ticket for the presidency.
IA Jorge Vega – Guatemala – Continental President
GM Darcy Lima – Brazil – Deputy President
Arch. Russell Smith – Trinidad & Tobago – General Secretary
Eng. Allan Herbert – Barbados – Treasurer
GM Silvino Garcia – Cuba – Member
Eng. Alfonso Naranjo – Colombia – Member
Arch. Eduardo Mieles – Ecuador – Member
For FIDE Executive Board are proposed Pfr. Uvencio Blanco, Venezuela; GM Silvino Garcia, Cuba; Mrs. Margaret Murphy, USVI and Dr. Milton Iturry, Peru.
Q: What are the elections in the International Chess Federation? Who will face in the presidency of FIDE? How do you see the possibilities of each one?
Jorge Vega: Every four years coinciding with the World Chess Olympiad there are ratified or rectified the Nominees or Candidates for the Presidential Board and consequently, the Continental Bureaus of the four areas comprising the FIDE.
The Presidential Board puts into play the Presidency, Deputy President, two Vice Presidents, one of which must correspond to a woman, the General Secretary and the Treasurer and on the Continents the Presidency, Deputy Presidency, General Secretary, Treasurer and three members.
So far there are two candidates, the current President, Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the aspiring GM Anatoly Karpov.
Q: How do you see the possibilities of each one?
JV: Although there are left three months to the election it is shaping up as a decisive victory for Mr. Ilumzjinov, at the time being 50 Federations openly support Mr. Ilumzjinov and only 22 Mr. Karpov
The experience gained in the conduct of the National European Federations has always been anti-Ilyumzhinov, therefore, it is expected that Karpov will win at a rate of 4-3, but in Asia, Africa and America there the domain of Ilyumzhinov will be 3-1, enough to win a total of about 100 votes of 174 national federations members of FIDE.
Q: Do candidates form teams for the election campaign?
JV: Of course, Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s is composed by members of his ticket, Turkey and the four Continental Presidents and GM Karpov’s is composed by Mr. Richard Conn, GM Garry Kasparov and the Presidents of the Federations of Nicaragua and El Salvador, as far as I know.
Q: But the alliance Karpov-Kasparov seems formidable
JV: No, you have to differentiate the history of both as players, which is undeniable, from their political activity that has large gaps. The campaign in itself is difficult for them because they have to fight what was been done by Ilyumzhinov while they only make campaign promises hard to fulfill.
Q: How do you see the specific situation in America?
JV: Very difficult for Karpov although his team has concentrated on promoting his candidacy in the area, its convening power to date has been virtually invalid, they organized recently a meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they invited Presidents of the Federations of the Caribbean but no one attended, they also called a meeting in Lima where it was supposed to be attended by the Presidents of South America, result nobody came and moreover after the meeting the Peru Federation came openly on Ilyumzhinov´s favour; according to this fact we are seeing a sign of how things will turn out.
At present, 15 National Federations have expressed open support for Ilyumzhinov while only four have done it for Karpov. The first has virtually done any campaign in America while Karpov has done his best here without result. This is also an indication of what will happen.
Q: Central America was an Ilyumzhinov stronghold and now it is divided.
JV: It does not influence and also enters on the campaign’s predictions, since his election it was well known that the President of El Salvador was very hostile to Ilyumzhinov and on Nicaragua there were serious doubts, the only surprise was Honduras who switched sides after expressing his support to Ilyumzhinov in written form, but this is compensated by the support of Federations that in 2006 backed up the candidacy of Bessel Kok
Q: When did you decide to seek reelection to the Presidency of America?
JV: What convinced me was the statement of modifying the scheme of votes in FIDE announced by Ilyumzhinov’s opponents by giving preference to strong federations on discrimination marked towards small Federations, after checking the negative effect of this statement, Karpov’s group tried to amend it but the letters remain. Another decisive factor is the personal investment made by Ilyumzhinov in favor of chess while the others have not done anything concrete, just mere promises.
Q: Do you think the recent announcement of Mr. Ilyumzhinov to establish over a five-year cycle, an event designed to promote talent in the CACDEC American Federations, and a Latin-American Cup with an annual contribution of USD 100,000 financed personally by him will influence the outcome of the vote?
JV: You have to analyze it from two points, the first since the technical side is an initiative which undoubtedly will promote chess in the continent and especially in Central America and the Caribbean, it will also create an opportunity in Latin America to have a stable event of high-level chess players. The second point, the political aspect, it is a hard blow to the campaign promises of opponents, who have never offered anything like this. We should just simply compare the “I do” with the “I’m going to do.” The initiative of Memorial Campomanes in Asia and events in Latin America, speaking in boxing terms would imply “a count of protection” for Ilyumzhinov opponents.
Q: Turning to the election in America you have won twice the presidency by acclamation, do you expect an opponent this time?
JV: It’s boring wining by default, not worth for rating as well, so I hope and desire it would be an opponent, but so far there is nothing concrete, just rumors.
Q: But it is mentioned that Mr. Marvin Guevara from El Salvador will face you with the support of Karpov.
JV: We shall see, but I do not think so, I imagine that Karpov´s team will try to find a leading candidate, not with the idea of victory but to distract my time in America and so to prevent me to go to Africa to support Ilyumzhinov, Guevara would leave me free hands with his inexperience, his null international activity and the cancellation of the Absolute Continental that he made in 2009 which badly affected all Central America, thus it affects his sport reputation and credibility.
Interesting interview with Karpov. However, I don’t particularly support the part of the interview asking Karpov if Bobby Fischer was crazy, Morphy was crazy… or whether players have to be crazy to be great. Asking a great player if you have to be crazy to be a great player is a faux pas. Those are lost opportunities in an interview with a World Champion. The “crazy” questions add nothing to the interview. Other than that he made some very interesting revelations about his style, weaknesses and about when one peaks as a chess player.
We will see how this campaign unfolds. I am leaving for the World Open and hope to meet candidates from both camps.
Karpov visits with Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation during subzonal. Kean Smith sent the link below:
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with Palestinian Authority Chair, Mahmoud Abbas
~ Kirsan Ilyumzhinov offering to purchase a location for a chess center near Ground Zero amidst the Islamic cultural center controversy.