FIDE (and ECU) elections in the international press

by ChessBase
8/12/2014 – As you know the election for the FIDE presidency was won on Monday by incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov against challenger Garry Kasparov. Today the international press has devoted a number of articles to this news item. Another almost remained unnoticed: GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili unseated the President of the European Chess Union Silvio Danailov. News links.

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FIDE and ECU elections in Tromsø

Before we get to the international articles on the victory of incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov over challenger Garry Kasparov here a little-known fact: after the election of the FIDE President there was one for the President of the European Chess Union. There the incumbent Silvio Danailov was by challenger GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, by 33:18 votes. Here a Bulgarian news source that carried the story.

Silvio Danailov failed in his fight for a new term as president of the European Chess Union (ECU). He lost to Georgian GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili in the elections that took place in Tromso. Danailov received 18 votes while 33 delegates voted for his opponent, who is directly linked with the President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Earlier in the day Ilyumzhinov received a new mandate at the head of the World Federation of competition Gary Kasparov.

In the New York Times Dylan Loeb McClain writes:

In a pre-emptive move in the months leading up to the election, Russian embassies in many countries called chess officials in an effort to help the candidacy of Mr. Ilyumzhinov. Among those who said they had been contacted were officials in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Norway and Singapore. Mr. Kasparov’s campaign also accused Mr. Ilyumzhinov, through his control of the federation, of replacing chess officials in some countries who were loyal to Mr. Kasparov with officials who supported Mr. Ilyumzhinov. Among the countries where Mr. Kasparov said this had happened were Afghanistan and Gabon.

The Local writes:

Ilyumzhinov said to NRK after the result: ”I am proud of this and I will devote my whole life to FIDE. I also want to thank the greatest chess player of all times, Garry Kasparov, for joining.”

Kasparov was disappointed after the loss. He said to NRK: “It is very disappointing. It is a tragedy for chess. I don't think that anything will change. In a few months, the nations that voted for him will realise that they voted for the past, not the future. It's a shame.”

In the Norwegian chess camp, there had been explicit support for Kasparov in the election campaign. Norway's chess president, Jøran Aulin-Jansson, was also visibly disappointed after the election. “I am disappointed, I have to admit that. I hoped there could be a chance that Kasparov would win, but when the result came up like this, it is overwhelming for the current president.”

The world's top ranked player, Magnus Carlsen, said: “It is not necessarily good for chess. I guess they have used all tricks possible to win the election. We who play will just have to make the best out of [the situation].”

Matti Huuhtanen of Associated Press writes form Helsinik:

Former world champion Garry Kasparov failed in his bid to oust the eccentric longtime head of the World Chess Federation on Monday in a bitter contest steeped in Russian power plays. Kasparov, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, was the sole challenger against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy businessman known to be supported by the Russian president. The vote was held on the sidelines of an international tournament in Norway. Delegates at the 2014 Chess Olympiad in the northern city of Tromsoe voted 110-61 in favor of Ilyumzhinov, with four votes annulled.

Ilyumzhinov, who once claimed to have visited an alien spaceship, has headed the governing body of chess for 19 years. He has led Russia's predominantly Buddhist small region of Kalmykia and visited Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, as the Libyan dictator was fighting NATO-backed rebels who eventually killed him. The next year, the chess chief met President Bashar Assad in Syria as fighting escalated there, boosting speculation he was an unofficial representative for Russia, an Assad ally.

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