Elections 2006: Chess Infidelity!

by ChessBase
5/15/2006 – Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is claiming 70 votes in his election campaign to remain FIDE President. His challenger Bessel Kok has 37. But there is a massive qualitative difference between the rock solid endorsements received by his Right Move and the bogus claims of "Chess Infidelity", the FIDE side, says Kok. The two are as different as chalk and cheese.

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Chess Infidelity!

By Bessel Kok, Candidate for FIDE President

Nobody likes to vote for a loser: thus nothing is more important, when conducting a political campaign, than giving the impression of strength.

When Ali Nihat Yazici and I, announced the launch of The Right Move back in November 2005, the FIDE incumbents reacted with a typical cocktail of arrogance, apathy and ignorance. Deputy President Makropoulos, kindly rang up his Turkish counterpart to inform him “We will f*** you.” That delicate expression neatly encapsulated their “strategy” over the following months. They had no programs, no principles and no website and the situation is hardly different today, six months later.

Candidates for Vice President and President of FIDE Ali Nihat Yazici, Bessel Kok

We, on the other hand, knew, from talking to Federations, large and small, from all over the world, that dissatisfaction with the current regime was immense. Time and time again we heard that the same people had been too long in office, that in eleven long years they had totally failed to obtain any meaningful corporate sponsorship, that what money Kirsan had brought into the game has been mismanaged and has since all but dried up, that rules were not upheld, that various key supporters were corrupt, and that desperately change had to come.

As a result, the chess world has been losing out on opportunities to grow thanks to an unimaginative and stagnant leadership. Makropoulos himself publicly acknowledged at a meeting in Birmingham that FIDE had a very serious image problem.

Given this widespread, simmering discontent, we decided to show to the world our strength. Not all of our strength, by any means, just some of it. We knew that we had the tacit support of a very large number of federations. We just asked the hardcore – our overt supporters – those Federations who were courageous enough not to fear the inevitable reprisals, who put principles above perks, to publicly endorse The Right Move.

They came one by one. We have started to rebuild a democratic FIDE family where people are not afraid to express their opinions and where communication is open, honest and transparent.

Meetings had to be convened by Federations, arguments had to be heard, boards had to make their decisions, but in came the support, from all over the world. Those listed federations, and there are 39 of them as I write, are but the tip of a giant iceberg: literally dozens of other federations have already decided to support us, but prefer not to publicly disclose their intentions.

Finally the current regime woke up to the fact they were staring heavy defeat in the face. Belatedly they cobbled together a website [Chess Fidelity]. Outrageously they announced the support of 40 “supporting federations”.

Here was the biggest, ugliest lie. Kirsan’s lackeys knew very well they did not have anything like the endorsement of 40 Federations. It was propaganda of the most brazen Soviet kind. Joseph Stalin would have been proud.

That the alleged support of 40 Federations was bogus and fraudulent in the extreme could be easily be judged by the contents of the list. Every member of the Arab Chess Federation was to be found on the list. Was it really likely that the entire Arab world would be rushing to support Chess Fidelity? The flimsy justification of this most implausible assertion was that one man – Ibrahim Al Bannai – had offered his support. This same man, in a later letter, had to admit that The Right Move had an excellent program compared to Chess Fidelity.

Unsurprisingly, a large number of these Arab Federations are extremely annoyed. Two of them – Palestine and Tunisia – lodged official complaints and, after delays, were removed from this list. Both openly endorse The Right Move. Alas, the Arab deception is by no means the only one: from all four FIDE continents we hear countless complaints from Federations that have been placed on the list without their permission. Some countries have not even yet decided.

In some cases, an individual has given his “endorsement” (sometimes a hasty few words mumbled on the telephone), but without the approval of his board – the most embarrassing example of which is Boris Kutin (the same man who suggested to me in Dresden to become The Right Move candidate for President!), who as a ECU President gave his approval without any backing of his entire Board.

In short, there is a massive qualitative difference between the rock solid Right Move endorsements and the bogus claims of Chess Infidelity. The two are as different as chalk and cheese and should not be compared.

With our overt and covert supporters we will enter Turin within comfortable striking distance of an absolute majority. The time for change has come and it will happen now.

Bessel Kok
Candidate for FIDE President

Controversies in the Kirsan campaign

The European Chess Union has released the following statement:

“The ECU Board met on 27 April in Vienna related with the support letter of ECU President Boris Kutin to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, signed on 15 April 2006. The Board expressly disagree with signing it as ECU President. This matter has not been first discussed within the Board. Mr. Kutin’s signature only represents his personal opinion.”

Given that Mr Kutin had been expressing his sympathy for Right Move for the last few months, to various members of the campaign team of Bessel Kok, the statement signed by Boris Kutin came out of the blue and was considered as quite under-handed. He has also signed the above resolution disassociating the ECU from any support of the current FIDE President.

Taking all this into consideration, TRM has decided to give its full support to Mr Javier Ochoa de Echaguen, the President of the Spanish Chess Federation, who is running for Continental President in Torino 2006. Javier is currently also a Vice President of the European Chess Union and he is also an International Master and a strong chess player.

The ECU board informed the Right Move team that following this meeting, it was confirmed by some of the Board members present that Boris Kutin stated that he was not conscious of the contents of the paper he had been requested to sign by the current incumbents running FIDE during the Presidential Board in Al Ain.

Meanwhile FIDE Rating Administrator and Webmaster Casto Abundo, who works in the Elista office of FIDE, recently came under the attack of his chess federation after he had announced the Philippines Federation's support for the Chess Fidelity / Kirsan Ilyumzhinov ticket. The following article appeared in the newspaper Tempo (excerpts):

Seven members of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines said said that they were not consulted and, as a result, a former provincial governor and serving NCFP board member, Raul Molintas, has called a special board meeting to tackle the issue.

"I was surprised to read in the website of Chess Fidelity that our delegate to FIDE, Director Casto Abundo, has committed the vote of NCFP in favor of FIDE President Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. I was even shocked to read that the commitment is allegedly with the support of the majority of the Board of Directors of the NCFP." Molintas was referring to a letter made by Abundo on April 15 committing the NCFP’s vote to Ilyumzhinov after claiming to have consulted with Pichay and majority of the NCFP board.

"Based on newspaper accounts, at least seven members of the board said that they were not consulted. In fact, they have misgivings in supporting the administration of Mr. Ilyumzhinov due to the alleged shabby treatment the NCFP got during his tenure," Molintas said.

Incoming NCFP executive-director Sammy Estimo, one of seven directors pushing for a collective vote, said Abundo’s action is regrettable. "Mr. Abundo must be made to explain. Otherwise, we would be constrained to act against him," said Estimo. Abundo, who barely won a seat in the 15-man board, was removed as FIDE delegate last year for his failure to look after the interest of the NCFP.

His reappointment as the country’s FIDE delegate raised not a few brows, considering his poor record, particularly in the case of Grandmaster Mark Paragua. Paragua, the country’s top-ranked player, was made to wait for over a year before being conferred the GM title. "Mr. Abundo did not only lift a finger to help Paragua, he was also part of the problem," said Estimo. A member of the powerful rating and title committee, Abundo was in a position to intercede in behalf of Paragua, but he did not, according to Estimo.

In a follow-up article Tempo reported that NCFP president Prospero Pichay had agreed to such a meeting:

Sammy Estimo, the incoming NCFP executive-director, said Abundo faces sanctions, including losing his temporary appointment as FIDE delegate. "Mr. Abundo has shown his bias for Ilyumzhinov. It is highly unlikely that he would vote for another candidate if and when the board decides to support Kok," said Estimo.

Estimo, who will captain the men’s team in Turin, is campaigning openly for Kok, saying he’s the best man for the job. "The current FIDE leadership has treated the Philippines shabbily in the past. Some of our players have been barred from competing overseas. We have been de-listed from the world ratings not a few times," said Estimo. "The reign of terror and repression at FIDE must come to an end," said Estimo, who at one point became a victim of FIDE’s dirty tactics.

Aside from Molintas and Estimo, the other directors pushing for a board action on the FIDE elections are NCFP vice-president Ed Madrid, businessman Jess Torre, retired general Art Carillo, Dr. Jenny Mayor and former NCFP president Go Teng Kok.

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