Naturally this is electioneering. But we have decided not to withhold such declarations, which could be of great importance to the future of the chess world, from our readers. We will continue to follow the campaigns for the election of the FIDE President closely and provide the candidates with an opportunity to express their views. The campaign is wide open. We note that the current President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has not yet secured the nomination of the Russian Chess Federation, which is a necessary precondition for running for reelection ("Eligibility for office pertains only to those persons who belong to a member-federation" – FIDE Handbook section 4.4).
FIDE elections are upon us once again and our current President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is once again being challenged, this time by former World Champion Anatoly Karpov, who declared his candidacy on 13 March 2010 in a press conference in Rijeka, Croatia. I was present during this announcement.
TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici
The Turkish Chess Federation (TCF), has made significant improvements in recent years and has taken an important place in the world of chess. We believe therefore that not only with our vote, but also that many of our sister federations will act together with us, in the forthcoming elections.
As I explained to Mr. Karpov and his few supporters in Rijeka, my personal support, as the leader of the TCF, will go to our current president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Incumbent seeking reelection: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
There are a few significant reasons for this support and I would like to share them with you.
Mr. President has spent more than 50 million USD from his personal pocket for FIDE during his presidency of over 15 years. I believe that this should be respected. Kirsan has supported several events with huge prize funds, assisted veteran Grandmasters all over the World, donated funds, sets and materials to Federations all over the world as well as hosting several key events.
The situation of World chess today is in a fantastic condition compared to 15 years ago. Kirsan has united the World Championship title. Apart from FIDE’s 18 annual events, all the Continental bodies are active like never before and chess players have a wide choice of events to chose from. Moreover, he has played a critical role in converting FIDE into a worldwide sports organization not only institutionally but organizationally as well. Please, do not forget that during his Presidency, FIDE was recognized by the IOC as being the principle sports organization responsible for world chess! This recognition signifies important funding for several Federations around the world.
All FIDE tournaments are today organized in excellent conditions, with well paid prize funds, an intensive calendar every year, and 169 member Federations today, in the family.
Mr. President, with the projects he has fulfilled until now, with the projects under his leadership which FIDE manages now, and with the projects that will start in this year, has the concrete support of my Federation. We have to mention that after knowing and working with him over the last three years closely as a Vice President on the FIDE Presidential Board, he has stolen our heart. Previously, I knew him very little, but I now understand his dedication and commitment to FIDE and the chess world.
FIDE is able to find prizes, sponsors and venues, far in excess of the events we had in the 80s or 90s. Of course much more still needs to be done, but this experienced President, with his youthful energy, dynamism, chess love, and extraordinary humbleness is the guarantee of what more he will fulfill in the future.
Kirsan deserves completely the support and votes he will get not only from the Turkish Chess Federation, but also from all federations around the world. This support may be in any form, as a vote, financial support, and most important morally. It is very clear that for many years before Kirsan, we were digging a cave with a needle.
Now the chess world has finally got a very rosy situation, and as chess leaders of the world we will are not willing to gamble this trend which may send us back to 15 years ago.
Respectfully, GM Anatoly Karpov, former World champion, and he deserves all our respect and appreciation, is a great name: on the chessboard, and as a chess player. As FIDE President or as our leader, this is another question.
I believe, that for anyone who has never worked at the highest levels in a world sports organization like FIDE, who has never had any realistic experience in the management of a large organization, who has never made any progress while representing FIDE in the IOC, to be elected as FIDE President will be a big gamble for us and unsuitable to the chess world. Why should we sacrifice our excellent position for an unknown factor?
Current management of FIDE under the leadership of Ilyumzhinov is very experienced, with high quality skills; on the contrary, we do not see anyone around Mr.Karpov with a closer reference, either in their federation or in the world.
Mr. Karpov, mentioned in his press conference and also in his address to ECU delegates that he was given role with the IOC representing FIDE. He complained about lack of clarity on format (men, women, team etc) but missed completely mentioning what results he achieved and what were his objectives. Personally, I do not remember if he has asked or proposed any project during the last fifteen years to FIDE.
Anatoly Karpov speaking at the European Championships in Rijeka
Most people believe that Mr. Karpov may withdraw from his candidacy at the last moment, as he has done before.
Also I can not understand and forget Mr.Karpov’s testimony on behavior of Touze Case in Lausanne. As you remember, due to disaster conditions of our children in Belfort, FIDE has given a sanction to Mr.Touze. In CAS, Mr.Karpov was one of the witnesses of Mr.Touze. Does he only want to improve the conditions of professional chess players? Or like what Ilyumzhinov has been doing to improve for 15 years not only professional chess players but also young stars of chess should play in excellent conditions. As you remember, the claims had came from many federations for Touze Case to FIDE in 2005 Dresden Congress. We were one of those federations protesting the conditions of the tournament organized in Balford. Whoever says that ‘It was ok!’ will never get my vote… I can not forget what happened to our children for them we had paid a lot of money. I am sure it will not be forgotten by all federations participated to this event.
I have no doubts about the future of FIDE. Under any circumstances, the competition between these two candidates will result in a huge majority of votes for Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Yazici and Ilyumzhinov at the World Youth Chess Olympiad in Agri 2006
I completely have confidence in Kirsan, a young man with whom I have worked for the last three years as one of his vice presidents, and as a result of his charisma, his love of chess, his political and organizational experience, his dynamism and his track record all the guarantee of what he will do for FIDE in the future.
As the president of a leading federation, we have spent a decade with many pains and great work to reach this level. I hope you understand, that we will support only the candidate who can lead us in the future.
Ali Nihat YAZICI
President of Turkish Chess Federation