A few months ago during Garry Kasparov’s tour of Africa, speculation was bubbling that the former world champion would vie for the FIDE Presidency. His tour had all the makings of a campaign as he was received by the chess brass of seven nations.
Former world champion and Presidential candidate Anatoly Karpov had already made mention of a Kasparov ticket, but the official word came today during the 84th FIDE Congress in Tallinn, Estonia. Kasparov announced after incumbent President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had announced his bid for reelection.
The political landscape is ripe for change. While it remains to be seen whether this change will occur in leadership, whomever wins the election will have to go in a decidedly different direction. While both candidates support Chess-in-Schools, it is not enough; while both candidates hope to attract more sponsorship to international chess, it is not enough. Chess management will require sustainable solutions and an inclusive approach to decision-making.
An amazing event tonight in Tallinn to launch my candidacy for the presidency of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). A great team!
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) October 7, 2013
This election will no doubt have its tense moments as Kasparov has been working on unseating Ilyumzhinov since he split from FIDE in 1993. This may be his best chance, but he will have to answer some tough questions. He presented a platform in Tallinn highlight six points touting transparency, fee reductions, increased sponsorship, growth, Chess-in-Schools and better execution of rules (see below).
There is the oft-asked question whether small federations will be “dashed” or bribed in order to cast votes. None of the regions around the world vote as a bloc or unilaterally. Even some federations are divided. Thus, there will be no simplistic strategy for securing votes. All federations will be watching the candidates carefully in the next months leading up to the Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.
Kasparov has assembled a team which includes a few very influential chess personalities. Perhaps most important, his team consists of personalities from around the world: Ignatius Leong (Singapore), Afrika Msimang (South Africa), Jan Callewaert (Belgium), Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Hamed (UAE) and Rex Sinquefield (USA). A broad base of support will be crucial. However, the question will be whether can he manage the chemistry needed to prevail.
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