FIDE elections: Right Move on the march

2/24/2006 – The "Right Move" election campaign, headed by Bessel Kok, high-profile chess organiser and businessman, is gaining momentum. 18 national federations have declared their support, as has Leo Battesti, who had himself planned to run for the Presidency. If the campaign succeeds the plan is to move the FIDE offices to France.

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FIDE elections: Right Move on the march!

As the forthcoming FIDE Presidential Elections approach, the main opposition to incumbent President Kirsan Illyumzhinov looks certain to come from The Right Move campaign. This ticket is headed by Bessel Kok, former head of the Grandmasters’ Association (GMA) in the late 1980s, and a high-profile businessman in his own right. Kok has the support of many top GMs and Western chess Federations. His Vice-Presidential running mate is Ali Nihat Yazici, President of the Turkish Chess Federation, and a man who has been tremendously successful over the past few years in attracting major sponsorship for events in his own country.


FIDE Presidential candidates Ali Nihat Yazici, Bessel Kok

Over the past week, The Right Move campaign has received further boosts. A total of 18 national chess federations have pledged to support Kok and Yazici. Among them are the USCF, Canada, Germany, Holland, Spain and, a few days ago, Switzerland.


Bessel Kok with Leo Battesti in Cannes Press Conference 2006

In another, and potentially even more important development, The Right Move campaign has now secured the support of Leo Battesti and the French Chess Federation. The former had originally planned to run for the Presidency himself, but has now been persuaded to withdraw and support The Right Move campaign. In return, if the campaign is successful, he stands to acquire a position as special Vice President on the new FIDE Board, “with direct and specific responsibility for the management, popularisation and development of chess, mainly through chess education programs worldwide”.

The Right Move supports the return of the FIDE headquarters and its administrative staff to France. The future headquarters of FIDE will be brought back to the Paris Ile-de-France Region, with a current offer in Saint- Quentin-en-Yvelines, where the brand new offices of the French Chess Federation are being set up.

Meanwhile, former world champion Anatoly Karpov appears finally to have abandoned plans to run for the FIDE Presidency himself. The exact reason is not known, but one factor may have been the Russian Chess Federation’s decision to back Illyumzhinov. Without even the backing of his own national federation, is seems unlikely that Karpov could mount a serious challenge, whilst some sources also suggest that FIDE rules do not permit more than one candidate from the same federation.

Report compiled by Steve Giddins

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