After devoting a large report to the activities of the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in his bid for reelection as FIDE President we bring you an even longer campaign report from the other side. Longer not because we wish to provide a disproportionate amount of space to one candidate, but because there is much more material on their site. Apart from that we have received a report and pictures from the Karpov 2010 team, which you will find at the end of the report.
The breaking news in the Argentine and other Spanish-language press – which includes our Spanish news page – is that the Argentine Secretary of Sport, Claudio Morresi, has released an official statement saying that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is not an honorary member of the Argentine Chess Federation (FADA). This is of some relevance to the FIDE presidential election because FADA is one of the federations that nominated Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the presidency of FIDE – along with Russia and Mexico.
The Russian Federation nomination, claimed both by Ilyumzhinov and by Karpov, has been hotly and at times violently disputed, so both candidates had back-up nominations from other federations. The legitimacy of all of Ilyumzhinov's nominations is under an legal challenge at the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. The New York Times has reported that the arbiters in Lausanne will hear the case on September 15 and 16. The speed with which this is taking place would seem to make it likely that a decision could arrive before the FIDE election, scheduled for September 29 in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Since the case is still in progress and there are legal confidentiality restrictions attached, nobody was willing to comment on the details. The Karpov2010 campaign is one of the groups who brought the case against FIDE, along with the federations of Switzerland, Germany, France, Ukraine, and the USA. We are just going to have to wait...
While we understand the desire of ChessBase to remain neutral in this FIDE election, and to present items from both campaigns, we must address several damaging fabrications contained in the “interview” with Nigel Freeman they republished from Kirsan’s website. Some of the Treasurer’s statements are as full of fantasy as the Kirsan campaign’s claims of federation support.
FIDE should not be taking money from federations to begin with, which is why the Karpov administration will abolish these fees and move to a sponsorship model that allows FIDE to support the federations instead of the reverse. In that vein, perhaps Mr. Freeman could enlighten us as to the details and purpose of FIDE’s agreement with “CNC” and the infamous David Kaplan. It appears Kirsan’s FIDE is selling all of its commercial rights for pennies, with some benefits likely in store for a few FIDE officials as well.
It would be very helpful to us and the entire chess community to hear him explain an agreement that cedes the rights to the rating list, titles, every FIDE event including the world championship, and even states that FIDE must change its own regulations to promote CNC’s activities. And for this FIDE “can expect to receive” a meager $100,000 per year, with no guarantees in sight.
Making Chess a Professionally Marketed Sport – The Karpov2010 Campaign has the pleasure to share a detailed and comprehensive marketing strategy for chess, prepared by Ravi Abhyankar, a senior advisor to the Karpov campaign. Hailing from Mumbai, India, Mr. Abhyankar is a leading expert on international marketing, having worked with a number of major multinational corporations.
This ground-breaking plan aims to make chess a commercially viable sport. Beginning with a comprehensive worldwide chess market survey and proceeding to offer a number of major fresh ideas, including FIDE-sponsored Internet broadcasts of chess events, ways to secure major advertisement and the creation of a Global Chess League, this document offers a badly-needed alternative to the stagnation and complacency which have characterized FIDE under the leadership of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. It also exemplifies the ambitious ideas the Karpov2010 campaign has received from the world of commercial strategy and sponsorship – and the business leaders who look forward to investing in a new FIDE.
FIDE has published the agenda of the 2010 General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk, which will run from September 23 to October 4. We would like to draw your attention to one item in particular, under Section 6) Directors’ Reports. The only mention of the CNC Project in the document is here, where it says:
6.1.1. CNC Project.
Deputy President G. Makropoulos to inform the General Assembly.
This project, which gives the opaque David Kaplan company CNC complete control over every commercial aspect of FIDE, the rating list, titles, and more, will not be discussed, debated, or otherwise opened to the General Assembly. Instead, the Deputy President will simply “inform” everyone that Kirsan has surrendered FIDE’s potential to develop a successful commercial program that could support the national federations instead of taking from them.
On August 18, the ongoing corruption scandal involving Milton Iturry, president of the Peruvian Chess Federation finally came to its denouement. As reported on the website of Peru’s Group RPP, “the director of the Affiliated Sports of the Peruvian Institute of Sport (IPD), Daysi Cereceda, announced that Iturry is no longer president of the Peruvian Chess Federation (FDPA).” Iturry also happens to be the vice presidential candidate in the election campaign of the incumbent FIDE president Kirsan Ilumzhinov.
Iturry, Jorge Vega, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
The move was a particular embarrassment for Kirsan, who was visiting Peru at the time. Kirsan had relied on his alliance with Iturry to safeguard and increase the support of his candidacy among Latin American federations. This is yet another vivid illustration of the illusory nature of the support Kirsan has claimed.
Throughout the hot weeks of summer, the Karpov campaign has been relentless in its efforts to gather support for its vision for world chess and FIDE. An alternative to the outright stagnation of the sport during the fifteen years of Kirsan Ilumzhinov’s tenure is long overdue.
During the campaign’s busy travelling schedule this summer, Anatoly Karpov and members of the ticket, including Richard Conn Jr., candidate for Deputy President and Abd Hamid Majid, candidate for Secretary General, met with national federations’ officials and chess enthusiasts to identify local needs, held numerous press-conferences, and played countless exhibition matches. The message throughout the journeys has been loud and clear: change in FIDE, change in chess is needed for the sport to survive and to thrive.
Karpov2010 responded to that appeal by literally putting its money where its mouth is and announcing, during its barnstorming Asian tour, an unprecedented $4-million development package to assist struggling federations worldwide. Structured to be distributed during the first 4-year term of the FIDE presidency, the package will help promote chess and support youth programs and chess education in schools in the neediest countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Together with the plan to abolish membership and title fees, this initiative constitutes the main objective of Karpov’s campaign: to turn FIDE into an instrument of credible and effective assistance to federations rather than an instrument of extortion, which it has increasingly become under the current president. Anatoly Karpov’s vision has clearly resonated with the voters at the upcoming Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, as scores of federations have endorsed– whether openly or in private – the candidate and his revolutionary platform.
On July 13-21, the most populous continent on Earth – Asia – hosted a remarkable tour by Anatoly Karpov and Richard Conn, during which they visited Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Front-page news at several of these stops, the duo’s appearances at well-attended press-conferences, exhibition matches, and youth tournaments provided local chess communities with fresh new vigor: in the words of one of Singapore’s chess aficionados, “this was the best chess event ever held in Singapore.”
Beijing: Anatoly Karpov presides over the award ceremony at Asian Youth
Invitational Chess Championship
[Addendum: Asian Chess Federation Deputy President and Ilyumzhinov ally Casto Abundo wrote in to inform us that Karpov was only one of several presenters: "FIDE Secretary General Ignatius Leong, myself and Asian Chess Federation Secretary General Hisham Al Taher were clearly named as the main guests, in this order, and Karpov was only No. 6 after Chinese Chess Association president Chu Bo and Secretary General Ye Jiangchuan." Abundo goes on to chide us: "To mislead readers is a disservice to those who worked hard to make the Asian Youth Championship a success." People are extremely touchy in this election campaign.]
While in Indonesia, Anatoly Karpov responded to the most frequent complaint from location federations – that of the dire lack of funding and exorbitant fees charged by FIDE – by announcing a large development package for chess, much of which would go be appropriated to Asian federations. This initiative stands in stark contrast to Kirsan Ilumzhinov’s demonstrated inability to bring in sufficient, if any, corporate sponsorship. Shortly afterwards, the campaign’s ground-breaking announcement echoed in another corner of the vast continent. The president of the Chess Federation of the United Arab Emirates Sulaiman Al Fahim joined the growing chorus of Karpov’s supporters during the latter’s brief trip to Dubai, and, in his turn, pledged $320,000 to support chess in Asia. Read a detailed report on the Asian tour here.
Indonesia: the 12th Champion and his adoring young fans
In the first two weeks of August, team Karpov moved across the planet, for his third visit of South America and the Caribbean this summer, following his trips in late June and early July to Bolivia, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and former world chess champion Anatoly
Karpov played a chess match at the presidential palace in La Paz
On August 6-8, Karpov and Conn visited Buenos Aires, Argentina, to attend the Festival de Villa Martelli, which is comprised of four large tournaments. The visit came in the midst of a scandal involving high-level officials in the local federation. Similar to the scandal around the president of the Peruvian Chess Federation and the candidate for Vice President on Kirsan’s ticket Milton Iturry, who has recently been relieved of his duties, the situation in Argentina involved a high-ranking member of the federation grossly overstepping his authority (and bypassing the federation’s president, Nicolas Barrera) to do Kirsan’s bidding – at the expense of the federation’s integrity and, indeed, the integrity of the sport itself (read more on the scandal at the Argentinian Chess Federation here).
While in Buenos Aires, Anatoly Karpov met with federation officials to help mediate in the scandal and discuss ways to promote chess in Argentina. This was a nostalgic trip for Karpov, as Argentina has hosted numerous world-class events where the Grandmaster has participated. In his interview to Clarin.com, Karpov recalled fondly the golden era in Argentina’s chess, when Capablanca and Alekhin came to play here, the age which lasted until the 1980’s, when the country hosted a chess Olympiad. Fewer and fewer such events are being held in Argentina under Kirsan’s watch, though. (Read the full interview here).
Meeting Argentina’s Minister of Education and a senior official from the Russian Embassy
On August 9-11, Anatoly Karpov and Richard Conn visited Curaçao as part of their FIDE presidency campaign and to promote chess in the Caribbean region. Their visit came after the Curaçao International Chess Festival. As Curaçao has an active chess life and a long tradition of international chess events, a large number of chess fans and local journalists turned out to greet the former champion and his deputy. The local organizers, Fabio Mensing and Quirino Richardson, had prepared a full program for the visiting challengers and had invited local media to accompany them during their visit. Also on hand were representatives of the chess federations of Jamaica, Surinam, and Guyana, who had come to Curaçao to meet with the chess legend.
Fabio Mensing and Quirino Richardson welcome Richard Conn and Anatoly Karpov
During their short but eventful visit, Karpov and Conn met with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Emily de Jongh Elhage. The government and Caribbean chess federations consider chess an important educational tool for elementary school students. One of the initiatives is to donate chess sets to elementary schools. The Antillean Chess Federation organized a ceremony in the Avilla Beach Hotel where representatives of the elementary schools were invited to receive their chess sets personally from Anatoly Karpov and Mrs. Alcala- Walle, the Commissioner of Education, Sports and Culture.
From right: Ludwig Abad, Errol Tiwari. Carlos dos Ramos, Ian Wikinson, Emily de Jongh-
Elhage, Anatoly Karpov, Richard Conn, Quirino Richardson, Aubrey Kappel, Fabio Mensing
Karpov and Conn discuss the development of chess in the Caribbean with the
Prime Minister and the President of the Neth. Antilles Chess Federation
Karpov had several meetings with representatives of Caribbean chess federations to discuss strategies to further develop chess in the region. One traditional problem is the high travel and lodging costs for international competitions, making Caribbean islands a less than obvious venue for chess events. Following the meetings, the former champion played a simultaneous match against talented local youth players.
The 2010 Curacao International Chess Festival was held from July 23 through August 1. On the agenda were the traditional Open tournament and a Youth tournament. The Open tournament is always an interesting mix of chess players from the Caribbean region, Europe, the United States and South America.
Anatoly Karpov also went to work “behind the scenes” and, as a result, had some very good news for the Organization Committee of the Curaçao International Chess Festival: the Curaçao cellular company Chippie has agreed to be one of the major sponsors of the 2011 Chess Festival.
Karpov and representatives of the region’s chess federations concluded their visit with a sailing tour. Karpov demonstrated his qualities behind the wheel of the yacht. In the coming months we shall know if Karpov will also get to steer FIDE through quiet and rough seas.
Karpov, Conn and local chess enthusiasts steer the Insulinde through the Caribbean Sea
Following the team’s discussions with the Caribbean chess officials in Curaçao on August 19, Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) announced that an agreement has been signed by Guyana, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname to establish a Caribbean Chess Union (CCU). The planned umbrella organization shall be fashioned after the CARICOM, and vested with the power to make decisions on behalf of the entire Caribbean chess community and represent it at international forums.
Guyana was represented by president of the GCF, Errol Tiwari, Jamaica by the president of the Jamaican Chess Federation Ian Wilkinson, Netherlands Antilles by the president of its Chess Federation Ludwig Abad and Suriname by the president of the Suriname Chess Federation Dr Carlos Dos Ramos. Read the full report on the agreement here.