Today marks the highly-anticipated election for the Presidency of the world body of chess known as FIDE (pronounced fee-day). More than 150 countries (including 56 proxies) will cast their ballots to select the body’s leader for the next four years. During the 2006 Olymipad in Turin, Italy, Bessel Kok lost to the Ilyumzhinov campaign. Four years later, the challenger is the formidable Anatoly Karpov, 12th World Champion.
The campaign has been very competitive and even contentious with allegations being made from both sides. Karpov filed a lawsuit seeking to render the Ilyumzhinov nomination invalid. On Monday, the Court of Arbitration ruled that the nomination of the Ilyumzhinov campaign were acceptable and pointed to the imprecise language in the procedures.
Both campaigns spent an inordinate amount of money and time gathering support and attacking the opponent. Given the reports coming out of Khanty-Mansiysk, one wonders whether the election platforms will make any difference. There seems to be a number of problems with the voting procedures and the complaints are mounting.
FIDE is in a confused state as many federations are divided, some irreparably so. FIDE is a sum of its parts, so this does not bode well. Regardless of who wins, the healing process will be difficult and there will be cynics. Is FIDE really “GENS UNA SUMUS” or one body? Will FIDE continue to be one body after the election? Time will tell.
~ Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum