A legal move from Karpov

7/10/2010 – The Karpov campaign for FIDE president has made good its promise to launch a court case against the FIDE administration of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is running to retain his post. The international law firm White & Case has sent out a terse statement declaring that it is initiating a request for arbitration. What does it all mean? The New York Times has some details.

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A legal move from Karpov

First, here is the entire text distributed by White & Case, which is representing the Karpov campaign and many major chess federations in the matter.

"Pursuant to the letter of their counsel, White & Case, sent on 2 July 2010 to FIDE Executive Director David Jarrett, the national chess federations of France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States, along with Karpov 2010, Inc., will imminently file a Request for Arbitration against FIDE with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. In view of confidentiality restrictions, no further information can be provided until further notice."

No further information, but perhaps some speculation based on their recently published demand for Ilyumzhinov's campaign documents by the same White & Case team. It would appear that they are intent on proving that the nominations of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for FIDE president and of Beatriz Marinello for FIDE Vice President are not legitimate. If the Lausanne court rules this to be the case, it could disqualify the Ilyumzhinov ticket completely and turn this September's FIDE election in Khanty-Mansiysk into a one-horse race with Karpov as the only candidate. If Ms. Marinello is disqualified that alone would disqualify the entire Ilyumzhinov ticket, since according to the regulations one candidate must be a woman and the Chilean-born American is the only woman on the ticket and the deadline for nominations has passed.


Several national federations and the presidential campaign of Anatoly Karpov filed a lawsuit against the World Chess Federation on Thursday in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. The lawsuit, which was filed by White & Case, a Manhattan firm, is seeking to have the ticket of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the incumbent who is running for re-election, disqualified.

The lawsuit, which includes the chess federations of the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine as plaintiffs, challenges the legitimacy of Ilyumzhinov’s nominations by Russia, Argentina and Mexico. It also questions the nominations of Beatriz Marinello for vice president on Ilyumzhinov’s slate. As each candidate is required to have a slate to fill each major office in the federation, and to have at least one candidate be a woman, Karpov is trying to invalidate Ilyumzhinov’s candidacy by eliminating Marinello from his ticket.

The question of which candidate Russia is supporting has been a point of bitter contention throughout the election. Both candidates are Russian and the rules of the federation state that a candidate for office must either have the nomination of his or her home country, or of a federation of which the candidate has been a member for at least a year. Karpov, who also has the nominations of France, Germany and Switzerland, claims that a vote by a majority of the Russian Chess Federation on May 14 to endorse him was legitimate and that he therefore is the Russian nominee.

After that vote, Arkady Dvorkovich, the chairman of the board of supervisors of the federation, and a high-ranking Kremlin official, took control of the federation and decreed that the vote was invalid. In a meeting on June 28, a quorum of members of the federation voted to give Dvorkovich sole authority to act on the federation’s behalf until a new meeting can be called in October – after the FIDE elections. Dvorkovich then reaffirmed an earlier letter he sent to FIDE in April endorsing Ilyumzhinov for president.

The lawsuit seeks to reaffirm the May 14 vote. It also seeks to show that Ilyumzhinov has not been a member of the Argentinian and Mexican federations for long enough to be nominated by them. The parties to the lawsuit say that the federation has not turned over documents showing proof of his memberships, despite repeated requests.

With regard to Marinello, who was born in Chile but has lived in the United States for 20 years, the lawsuit claims that her nominations by Chile and Brazil are not legitimate as she is not a member of either federation. That is not true, Marinello said in a telephone interview. She said that she has dual citizenship with Chile, travels there often because her family still lives there, and still conducts chess seminars there. As for Brazil, she said that she had played chess for a league there for many years. “My ties to Chile and Brazil are much stronger than Karpov’s ties to France and Germany,” she said.

The election is this September at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.


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