Last Chance for Fresh Start?
FIDE - Fédération Internationale des Échecs

Tragedy of Errors

Despite the new crop of teen Grandmasters and the boom of youth chess, professional chess is in deep trouble. With the current state of chess on the international level, perhaps it will take a youth movement to attract good fortunate to this board sport. The professional chess world has been a virtual tailspin for the past few years. Recent reports show that things may have take a turn for the worse.

In a recent interview,
GM Yasser Seirawan gave his reflections on the unification efforts as initiated by his "Fresh Start" proposal two years ago. The interview, presented on in two parts, was conducted by Frederic Friedel and titled, "Tragedy of Errors." It is an interesting read.

Without giving a point-by-point assessment on what was said in the two-part interview, it is very apparent that international chess has been dragged in the mud by private interests, super-egos and personal battles. All of these factors got in the way of the unification process.
(See "Tragedy of Errors" part 1  part 2). In the past few years there has been many attempts to the get the unification process back on track. Most recently,  there has been a lot of controversy on the FIDE knockout tournament to be held in Tripoli, Libya.

More Errors

The crux of the matter stems from the fact that the Israeli wants a special assurance from the Tripoli that their players will be welcome while the Libyan government has only sent a general assurance to FIDE. To make matters worse, information at several chess websites have played a hand in spreading rumors, innuendo (one even mentioned AIDS in Libya) and confusion with uncorroborated reports.  To routinely report information without "fact-checking" at least three diverse sources
(not from the same stringer service or newswire) is really an act of recklessness of the highest degree in journalism.

What has now happened is that the whole matter has turned into something not much more than tabloid journalism and has become impossible to follow with any reliability. Much of the one-sidedness floating around about this issue is absolutely astounding. One problem is that many of chess players posting on message boards apparently do not have the understanding of the geopolitical complexity of Mid-East relations and are basically at the mercy of "yellow journalists."  It may be time to take a pause and let the information filter out before continuing this merry-go-round of confusion.

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Posted by The Chess Drum: 8 May 2004