Kasparov seeks FIDE Presidency!

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

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.

Garry Kasparov, FIDE Presidential Candidate
Photo by chess-news.ru.

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.

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.

Kasparov2014 Campaign Headquarters
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  1. Six Winning Moves

    1. FIDE will be transparent – FIDE will be a transparent organization that serves and supports the national federations. There will be an increase in communication and information shared between FIDE and the federations in order to make the FIDE Secretariat more effective and responsive. There will be consistency in the bidding processes for FIDE events.
    2. FIDE will be supportive – The national federations will prosper as FIDE prospers. FIDE should provide for its members instead of being supported by them.
      • Reduce membership fees by 50% immediately.
      • 25% reduction per year of all other fees.
    3. FIDE will be well-funded – FIDE finances greatly undervalue the global potential of chess. This will change:
      • Increase the FIDE budget by 100% in the next two years via corporate sponsorship.
      • Increase revenue through commercial sponsorship by reorganizing FIDE with a professional marketing approach that will make chess and the FIDE brand attractive to corporate and public sponsors.
    4. FIDE will develop – A universal rating system is a vital core of an international sports federation. In this FIDE is far behind other sports. FIDE will address this and also expand online services:
      • A universal rating system will include every game of chess played on the planet, from world championship matches to online blitz. It will serve as the portal to unite tens of millions of players and will become an attractive advertising and sponsorship asset.
      • FIDE must provide benefits to the huge base of chessplayers, not just serve the elite. It can do this by offering services to the federa- tions such as online news and training, a social media platform, direct support for organizers and journalists, and assistance with fundraising and finding sponsorship.
    5. FIDE will educate – The power of chess in education is immense and FIDE will become the natural hub of chess in education:
      • Develop the next generation of chessplayers around the world by promoting and establishing chess-in-education programs. FIDE will work to have chess included in school curricula worldwide to build a strong foundation for the global development of our sport and improve education standards across the globe.
      • Create and encourage programs and research on chess-in-education at every grade and into adulthood. The many positive benefits of chess, especially for kids and seniors, should be documented and promoted.
      • The experience of the Kasparov Chess Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for chess-in-education programs worldwide, has demonstrated the enthusiasm for these programs at both public and private institutions. This expertise will be at the service of FIDE and the international chess federation will take the lead in bringing chess into every classroom.
    6. FIDE will regulate – FIDE will review the regulations to protect the integrity of chess:
      • Collaborate with players and organizers on a common-sense implementation of the zero-tolerance rule that will preserve dignity and professionalism.
      • Take immediate steps to develop, test, and implement strong anti-cheating measures, including severe penalties for violators.
      • Adopt anti-short-draw rules to preserve the integrity of the game and to improve the image of chess as a sport worthy of greater media attention and commercial sponsorship.

      Team Kasparov… http://www.kasparov2014.com.

  2. well? kasparov have spoken and made his intentions known and open.
    he’s laid out some fine ideas but the one question is the details, the how like they say easier said than done.
    he says small nations-like Ghana- will prosper. How?
    fide will be more transparent . How?
    I know there will be many more questions in the coming months and until we get answers to these questions we will say deja vu

    1. Yes… these seem to be familiar campaign slogans… “help the poor,” “stomp corruption,” “attract investment”. We’ve all heard them before. As you say, the issue is implementation and execution. Kasparov has traveled to several African countries and is entrenched in South Africa. However, Africa has never been a focal point of development in FIDE.

      They throw a few chess sets and clocks along with putting together funds for a couple of tournaments, but as one who has studied international development at a high level, I know that these methods are unsustainable for chess development. Even Chess-in-Schools is not a panacea although that is being thrown around as it is a magnet for votes.

      The question is “How will African countries see benefits NOW?” Chess-in-Schools will take a decade to develop. There needs to be more effort places in talent development of the current players and providing them with more opportunities.

  3. Kasparov has already posted tweets about Ilyumzhinov and “aliens”.

    The comment in the poorly-written Economist article was completely out of context and unnecessary, but it’s not the first time a magazine has made this reference. Nevertheless, it would show class if he dispensed with these snide references. They did not work for Karpov, who was crushed 95-55, and they show a lack of class. Apparently after being in office for 18 years, the alien references have not prevented Ilyumzhinov from holding his office. Leave the personal attacks out of the campaign.

  4. This election will no doubt have its tense moments as Kasparov has been working on unseating Kasparov since he split from FIDE in 1993. This may be his best chance, but he will have to answer some tough questions – See more at: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2013/10/07/kasparov-seeks-fide-presidency/#sthash.RdDYlqyY.dpuf

    You may want to fix this.
    My question to you is you want to reduce fees and membership.
    How will that be possible unless you get the corporate sponsorship first?

    1. Thanks! Fixed.

      You may have noticed that he has a couple of benefactors on his ticket… Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Hamed and Rex Sinquefield. Kasparov may be relying on these connections to gain a foothold into the sponsorhip market. It’s not a bad strategy.

      As influential as Kasparov is, he needs people at the sponsorship level to speak to their equals. Kasparov would not be able to do it alone as he is bit subjective on the merits of chess. He needs people who can independently vouch for the beauty of chess besides chess professionals and demonstrate its merits in a way that a sponsor would understand. It is a different language from chess language.

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