Florencio Campomanes dies at eighty-three

by ChessBase
5/3/2010 – He was responsible for putting the Philippines on the chess world map, a player, organiser and teacher. In 1982 he was elected to the FIDE presidency and held the position for 13 years. As from 1995 he was Honorary President of FIDE and appeared in a ceremonious function at numerous events. "Campo", as his friends called him, passed away on 3 May, after a protracted bout with cancer. Eulogy.

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Florencio Campomanes, February 22, 1927 – May 3, 2010

Florencio Campomanes was born in Manila and graduated in Political Science from the University of the Philippines in 1948. He studied at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) and earned his M.A. in 1951, following that with doctoral studies at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., from 1949-54.

Florencio Campomanes in 2005

As a chess player he was of National Master strength, and won the Philippine national championship twice (in 1956 and 1960). He represented his country at five Chess Olympiads: Moscow 1956, Munich 1958, Leipzig 1960, Varna 1962, and Havana 1966, facing Pal Benko, Ludek Pachman, Oscar Panno, Mikhail Tal, Miguel Najdorf and Lev Polugaevsky. He became involved in FIDE as a national delegate, and worked his way into prominence in Asian chess organization. He was close to the former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and helped organize the World Championship match at Baguio, Philippines, in 1978, between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi.

Campo at 80 (in 2007)

Campo is best remembered as the President of the international chess organization FIDE. He was elected to that post in 1982, and held it until 1995, through several controversies, most notably the termination of the 1984-85 World Championship between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov without result, after 48 games. During his tenure in 1993 the Professional Chess Association broke away from FIDE, after which there were two world champions. On the positive side, the membership of FIDE grew significantly, by about 50 member nations.

Campomanes was succeeded as FIDE President in 1995 by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. He was appointed as FIDE Honorary President, and was often present at significant international competitions such as zonal and continental championships, chess olympiads and world chess championships.

Campo and Casto Abundo playing in a FIDE Presidential Blitz Tournament in
Antalya in January, just a few days before his car accident in 2007

Playing against TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici in his hospital bed after the accident

In early February 2007, Florencio Campomanes suffered injuries from a car accident, at which time he was in intensive care. He was at the time already suffering from cancer, but continued to attend chess events. The last time we saw him was during the World Championship between Anand and Kramnik in Bonn, in October 2008. Campo passed on May 3, 2010, in the Philippines.

Condolences from Boris Spassky

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Florencio Campomanes. Fortunately I had always very correct and friendly relationship with Florencio. I think that in the period of political opposition between West and East he saved the chess world from splitting. He showed his outstanding diplomatic talent – Baguio 1978 – and his further presidentship was evidence of that.

Boris Spassky
Tenth World Champion

In August 2005 Campomanes was at a FIDE Congress in Dresden, Germany. During a pause in the deliberations he sat down in the restaurant outside the Sport Hotel for a 45-minute interview with Frederic Friedel for ChessBase Magazine. The following section touches on the termination of the 1985 match and "Campo" gives the reasons for the step he took.

Brief curriculum vitae of Florencio B. Campomanes

  • Born 22 Feb 1927, Manila Philippines
  • B.A., Cum laude, University of the Philippines, 1948
  • M. A., Brown University, Prov., R.I. 1951
  • Doctoral Studies, Georgetown University, Wash. B.C. 1949-1952
  • Fullbright Guarantee, 1948
  • Lecturer, (Political Science) University of the Philippines, 1954-1956
  • Chess Columnist, Manila Times and Manila Chronicle, 1954-1961
  • TV Producer – Host, “Chess Today” , PTV 4 Manila, 1973-1982
  • Permanent Philippines Delegate to FIDE, 1956-1982
  • FIDE Asian Zone President, 1960-1964
  • FIDE Deputy President for Asia , 1974-1982
  • FIDE President, 1982-1995

    FIDE Chairman, 1995-1996
  • FIDE Honorary President 1996-...
  • Philipinne Champion, 1956, 1960
  • Tied 2nd-3rd with Edmar Mednis, New York State Championship, 1954
  • International Arbiter, 1957
  • Philippine Olympiad Team Member, New York State Championship, 1954
  • International Arbiter, 1957
  • Philippine Olympiad Team Member and/or Captain
    • Moscow 1956-Board 2, Munich1958-Board 3
    • Leipzig 1960-Board 1,Tel Aviv 1964-Board 4
    • Havana 1966-Board 4, Lugano 1968, Siegen 1970
    • Skopje 1978, Nice 1974, Haifa 1976, Buenos Aires 1978,
    • Malta 1980.
  • Administered under FIDE: Olmypiad-Greece 1984,19888
    • Dubai - 1986 , Novi Sad-1990, Moscow-1994
  • Organized for the Philippines, Manila 1992
    • World Championship, 1978
    • Interzonals, 1976, 1989
    • World Juniors 1974, 1987
    • First Asian Zonal, 1958
    • First Asian Junior Championship, 1977
  • Raised FIDE Membership from 100’s to 150’s
  • Raised US $13,000,000 for six Men’s World Championship in nine years: Moscow 1984-1985, Moscow 1985, London&Leningrad 1986
  • Turned FIDE into a truly universal body by activity Asian,African, and Latin American Chess.


Campomanes hospitalized after car accident
03.02.2007 – The long-time president (1982-1995) and current honorary president of FIDE, Florencio Campomanes, was badly injured in a car accident on his way to the airport after the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Antalya, Turkey. After a 7½ hour operation Campomanes was said to be in stable condition. Details.

Florencio Campomanes turns eighty
22.02.2007 – Three weeks ago Florencio Campomanes suffered a serious car accident and has been hospitalised in Antalya, Turkey, ever since. Today the long-time (1982-1995) president of the world chess organisation celebrates his eightieth birthday. We congratulate him and bring you a comprehensive look back at the Campo years.

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