Kasparov on the campaign trail – Indonesia

12/18/2013 – So far, to the best of our knowledge, only one candidate has registered for the 2014 FIDE presidential election: Garry Kasparov. The former World Chess Champion has been extremely active in key regions of the world: east of India, south of Sahara, north of Greece. After an extensive tour of southern Africa Kasparov undertook a trip to the Far East, with a start in Jakarta.

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Garry Kasparov on the campaign trail

In August at a spectacular launch event, hosted in the ballroom of the Swissôtel in the center of Tallinn, Estonia, Garry Kasparov announced his candidacy for the presidency of the International Chess Federation FIDE. The plan is to unseat the 18-year incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the election that takes place in August 2014. Kasparov has become one of the most prominent opposition voices in Russia and he is the current chairman of the NY-based Human Rights Foundation. His Kasparov Chess Foundation promotes chess in education, a mission that is a centerpiece of Kasparov’s FIDE campaign.

East of India, south of Sahara, north of Greece – this could be regarded as the motto of the Kasparov campaign. In July the former World Champion and his wife Dasha completed a trip across seven African nations to meet with chess and education officials as well as chess players and kids. He is ever present in many European countries, and in recent weeks he travelled to the Far East to meet leaders and the chess communities there. The first stop was Indonesia, then came Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Macau, and Hong Kong.

The start in Jakarta

In a special report Indonesian GM Utut Adianto, above with Kasparov in front of the Utut Adianto Chess School in Bekasi, says:

Kasparov was very well received in Indonesia – at the official level, in the media, and of course by our millions of chess fans. Chess has great grassroots popularity here, so we are eager to work on ways to match that enthusiasm with public and private support, as Kasparov’s foundations have done.

We had a meeting with Mr. Muhammad Nuh, the highly esteemed Minister of Education and Culture. Minister Nuh was very interested in the idea of chess as a useful tool to improve the education system. Along with its benefits of logic and concentration, an inexpensive activity like chess that can motivate students could be a very welcome enhancement to the education system.

Our meeting with the Indonesia Olympic Committee was very successful and they offered worldwide support. Garry also met with Mr. Roy Suryo, the Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs of Indonesia, who is very knowledgeable on technology and the media.

The board of the Indonesian Chess Federation was also enthusiastic and federation president Hashim S. Djojohadikusumo, a kind and informative host. We know Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has done good things for chess, but these were typically special gifts and not a stable and sustaining system. We believe chess needs to move to the next level of sponsorship like other sports, where each country can develop and grow as part of a global system. There is no doubt Garry Kasparov is the right person for this job!

On a personal note Adianto writes:

I first met Garry in 1980, when we both played in the World Junior Championship in Dortmund, where he was 17 and I was 15. After he won the event we met and discussed my studies. I told him I was working, but that chess books were hard to find in Indonesia (this is long before the Internet and databases!). He told me he would bring me the best Russian book on openings at the Malta Olympiad at the end of the year. Unfortunately, I did not participate in the Olympiad that year.

So Garry signed the book to me and tracked down the Indonesian team in Malta to bring the book back to me. It is Panov and Estrin’s “Opening Guide,” and it says, “For my chess friend Utut Adianto, Malta, 01-12-1980". I still treasure this gift today among my collection of over 4000 chess books. In fact, I brought the book to several our meetings here in Jakarta to share this story with the ministers. I told them that in politics it is normal for people to make promises, but then they leave and you never hear from them again. 33 years ago, a great player, Garry Kasparov, made a promise and he kept that promise. And when he promises now, he will deliver!

With the next generation of Indonesian chessplayers

Further information is available on the official Kasparov2014 website. There you can also find more information about the Kasparov campaign’s team and ideas. There are also frequent updates on Kasparov’s personal Twitter and Facebook pages.

Video of the Kasparov launch event

Garry Kasparov speaks at the launch event for his campaign for FIDE president in Tallinn, Estonia. He then introduces members of his ticket to speak to the audience, Belgian businessman Jan Callewaert and South African organizer and policy expert Afrika Msimang. A video of another ticket member, Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Hamed is also included. The MCs of the event, at the start of the video, are well-known Estonian entertainers Hanna-Liina Võsa and Mart Mikk. A full transcript of the video can be found here.

– Coming soon: Kasparov in Singapore and Thailand (including a primer on Thai chess) –


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