Karpov on the attack: 'Can you believe Kirsan?'

by ChessBase
8/2/2010 – "The match for FIDE President heats up," we titled a report in May. That was just a warm breeze. Anatoly Karpov, candidate for the presidency of the World Chess Federation has published an ultra-sharp article on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's record as FIDE President. Karpov lists broken promises and deals, and also points to problems with the Chess Olympiad in September. Election news.

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Can You Believe Kirsan?

Incumbent FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Anatoly Karpoov starts his attack by listing broken promises and disappearing deals. The first broadside is personal and asks:

"Who Is Kirsan? The chess world has been regularly humiliated by Kirsan’s statements in the press about, for example, meeting alien beings and admiring Saddam Hussein and his sons. Even worse are the many stories about corruption, poverty, repression, and even murder in the Russian republic of Kalmykia, which he governs (perhaps not for long, according to Gazeta.ru). However, some say the only thing we should pay attention to is what good he has done in FIDE. Our answer: not much."

Karpov then goes on to list "disappearing deals and broken promises," starting with the replacement of the traditional world championship in 1997 with a knock-out system that he claimed would bring five million dollars a year. There followed Continental Championships, a chess city in Dubai, Grand Prix events and sponsorship for World Championships.

Challenger Anatoly Karpov

"Where does all the money go?" asks Karpov and examines the annual FIDE budget of around three million dollars, "mostly collected from the federations." According to FIDE just 8% went to chess development. Karpov also doubts Ilyumzhinov's claim that he has spent tens of millions in personal investments in chess.

The most explosive part of the article touches on "campaign tricks", which according to Karpov include

"...offering personal financial rewards to federation leaders; using FIDE money and resources on the campaign in which FIDE is officially neutral; threatening federations who might support his opponents with the loss of development funds and events; even physical threats against delegates. In fact, many of the federations that Kirsan currently claims to have the support of are simply too afraid of reprisals to make their opposition known. Several of them have expressed their support of Karpov’s candidacy confidentially and are biding their time to announce their decision in due course. This casts serious doubt on the total vote count claimed by Kirsan’s campaign."

Finally Karpov says Kirsan is still falsely claiming "he was nominated by the Russian Federation, when in reality the only official nomination from Russia went to Anatoly Karpov." He reminds readers that the Karpov campaign is seeking to disqualify Kirsan and his ticket Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. "We will comment further if and when permitted to do so," the article ominously ends.

"Broken Promise in Khanty-Mansiysk"

In a separate article Karpov's campaign paints a dire picture of the preparations for the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. Apparently FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer visited the site and "was in for a rude surprise":

"His hopes of seeing a completed hotel, ready to host guests for the bi-annual gathering, were dashed. He had to fight his way into the building through dust, mounds of cement bags and construction debris – all the while holding his nose due to the overpowering stench of paint.

The hotel complex, named “Olympiyski” (Olympic) and labeled, misleadingly, as a four-star establishment, was originally scheduled to open this month. Even if the hotel does finally open its doors, it is far from certain that all of the Olympiad’s participants – 1,600 of them – will be provided food and services, as no contract with the servicing company has been signed to date."

Ilyumzhinov on the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk

Interview in Sport Express (excerpt)

Kirsan Nikolaevich, less than two months left before the start of the World Chess Olympiad, there is leaked information that Khanty-Mansiysk will not be able to provide enough room for all guests. Some teams may even be denied admission. One of your senior colleague from FIDE even used the word "disaster". Is the situation is really so serious?

I do not want to exaggerate the situation and talk about a catastrophe, but the situation is alarming. The Olympiad organizers had promised to build three hotels, but built only one. But even this one, which was built a month ago, is not functioning. I have toured Asia, Africa and South America, and chess players from some of the countries have complained that they had, as far back as May 2010, been denied arrangements for Khanty-Mansiysk. They were told by the Organising Committee that there were not enough empty seats on charter flights, no place in the hotels. Can you imagine, say, the Winter Olympics in Sochi telling the hockey players of Canada or Sweden: "Sorry, we have no place for you." But that is roughly the case today in Khanty-Mansiysk. We are expecting a record participation of players and visitors from around the world – 160 teams. But the hotel is not yet in operation, and the sponsors have not yet transferred the money.

So what are you going to do?

I have written a formal letter and the Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area, and to the leadership of the country. This is a political issue – the World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk cannot fail! We will send a FIDE team to assist the Organizing Committee of Olympic Games, and on August 25 we will hold another an inspection. I believe in the power of traditional Russian last-minute fixes – I hope that the organizers will work something out and be able to provide accommodation for participants, arbiters, delegates to the Congress, and journalists. There is still time – the the opening ceremony will be held on September 20.

  • Full interview (with a number of other subjects) in Sport Express

ChessBase reports on the 2010 FIDE Elections

Karpov on his FIDE presidential campaign
13.03.2010 – Yesterday the twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov announced that he was running for FIDE President. Today he addressed the extraordinary meeting of the European Chess Union (ECU), which was meeting during the European Individual Championship in Rijeka. Karpov had hash words for the current FIDE leadership and outlined his own program for change in FIDE. Video interview by Europe Echecs.

Karpov to run for FIDE President
13.03.2010 – Fifteen years ago Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov was elected President of the World Chess Organisation. At the next election during the General Assembly of the FIDE Congress, which will be held during the 39th Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk in September this year, he faces a challenge by former World Champion Anatoly Karpov. Press release.

Video report: Yazici and Danailov running for ECU President
14.03.2010 – So far two candidates have declared their intention to run for President of the European Chess Union: the President of the Turkish Chess Federation Ali Nihat Yazici, and the Bulgarian IM and manager Silvio Danailov. GM Robert Fontaine from Europe Echecs spoke to both candidates. Danailov also revealed that at the World Championship match against Anand Topalov will not accept or offer draws.

FIDE Elections: Turkish Chess Federation supports Ilyumzhinov
25.03.2010 – During the 39th Chess Olympiad, which takes place in September in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, the elections for FIDE President will be held. Two candidates are running: the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov seeking reelection, and a challenger, the twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov. The Turkish Chess Federation has announced its support for the former. Press release.

FIDE Elections: Support for Ilyumzhinov
26.03.2010 – Two days ago we published a statement by the Turkish Chess Federation supporting the candidacy of the President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is seeking re-election, during the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk this September, for the term 2010-2014. Four FIDE Continental Presidents have joined the TCF in declaring support for the incumbent. Public statements.

German Chess Federation nominates Karpov for FIDE Presidency
12.04.2010 – One month ago Anatoly Karpov announced his candidacy for President of the World Chess Federation (elections in September). The former World Champion was nominated by the French and Swiss Federations. Now the President of the German Chess Federation, Robert von Weizsäcker, has come forward with a nomination and unanimous support. Press release and information.

FIDE Elections: Karpov's mission statement
15.04.2010 – "After a lifetime dedicated to playing and promoting the game of chess, 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov is running for the office of President of the International Chess Federation." This is the beginning of a formal announcement, released by Karpov's New York campaign headquarters. It outlines the main goals and themes of the campaign and is available in Russian, English and Spanish.

Russian Chess Fed nominates Ilyumzhinov – sort of
22.04.2010 – A candidate for FIDE Presidency needs the nomination of his Federation, and the Russian Chess Federation has announced its support for the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Does that end rival Anatoly Karpov's chances for the post, as one commentator suggests? Not quite. The nomination appears to have conditions, and Karpov has struck back with a fighting statement on his new campaign site.

David Kaplan's revolution in chess
04.05.2010 – 200-300 million people play chess, one million in a professional environment – but the interest is not increasing. David Kaplan, CEO for Development in FIDE, wants to change that, amongst other things with $64 million as prizes for online chess. If he doesn't succeed in rebranding chess in the next five years, the Israeli business tycoon says, no one will for the next fifty. Interview.

FIDE Election: Yazici to Karpov – show me the facts
06.05.2010 – Recently Anatoly Karpov, candidate for the Presidency of FIDE, suggested that the incumbent President had yet to receive official support from any major chess federation. Wrong, says Ali Nihat Yazici, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had received support from his, the Turkish Chess Federation. Meanwhile Ilyumzhinov has moved into the international news spotlight with a story of alien abduction.

FIDE Elections: the match for FIDE President heats up
08.05.2010 – After publishing an interview with FIDE’s Development CEO David Kaplan, we were contacted by Karpov’s campaign headquarters in New York. They responded to some of Kaplan’s statements and presented the case for change in FIDE. They are also preparing a fundraiser in New York with two former world champions and a near certain future one. Can you guess who?

Breaking news: Karpov nominated by Russian Chess Federation
14.05.2010 – Three weeks ago the chairman of the supervisory board of RCF, Arkady Dvorkovich, stated that the Federation had nominated incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as its candidate for FIDE presidency. A quick response by rival Anatoly Karpov said this was a unilateral decision by an Ilyumzhinov ally, not the formal vote that was required. That took place today and nominated Karpov. Details.

Ilyumzhinov: 'I will run for FIDE President once again'
16.05.2010 – On Friday we reported that the Russian Chess Federation had nominated Anatoly Karpov as its candidate for FIDE Presidency by a quorum vote of 17/32. The incumbent, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said that this "decision" was shrouded in clear deceit – "it makes a mockery of Karpov and his team, who believe they are capable of running a future FIDE." Open letter.

Big Karpov fund-raiser in New York
18.05.2010 – Karpov, Kasparov and Carlsen – two former and one very likely future world champion – took part in a launch party and fundraiser in the spectacular Trump SoHo Hotel in New York. It is for Karpov's bid to become President of FIDE. There were chess games as well as entertainment and champagne, which introduced a slight complication in the festivities. Pictures and video.

Fundraiser in New York – echo in the press
19.05.2010 – A one-night binge in the Trump SoHo Hotel brought chess into the highlights of the international press. Karpov, Kasparov and Carlsen [memo: he must change that to Karlsen!] generated a large number of international reports, almost outshining the World Chess Championship in Sofia. Not unexpectedly the stories reflect the challenger's side of the ticket. Press links.

Breaking news: Kremlin seizes Russian Chess Federation
21.05.2010 – Last week the RCF nominated Anatoly Karpov as their candidate for the Presidency of FIDE. This was verbally contested by the supporters of incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Today black suited men from the private security firm “Peper” arrived at the Federation’s offices, kicked out the regular security guards and sealed off some rooms in the building. Report in True/Slant + Karpov's reaction.

Election news: Yazici on the attack
22.05.2010 – The battle for FIDE presidency is getting more vicious. Leading the battle on the side of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, Ali Nihat Yazici, who has published a number of pieces on the TCF web site against challenger Anatoly Karpov. In his latest piece Yazici states his reasons for switching from opponent to friend and ally of the incumbent President. Excerpts and links.

'FIDE – An Inglorious Inventory'
26.05.2010 – Any idea which are the most active chess playing countries in the world? Did you know that 43,000 people in the world have a 2000+ rating, while around the same number are rated below that mark? The top seven countries have the same number of players as the remaining 136 members of FIDE? The French Chess Federation's Léo Battesti presents us with some eye-opening statistics.

FIDE Elections: Campaign sites and international news
29.05.2010 – It's been many days since we last touched on the subject – the upcoming election to FIDE President, which pits the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov against challenger Anatoly Karpov. The latter has had a campaign site in operation for a while now, Ilyumzhinov has launched his own under the name One FIDE. Meanwhile international press organs are having a field day. Links and excerpts.

The 'Inglorious Inventory' debate
03.06.2010 – Last week we published an article, submitted by the Corsican chess organiser Léo Battesti, which drew far-reaching conclusions from the statistics of rated players in different countries. The article was strongly criticised on the Ilyumzhinov campaign site. Now the French Chess Federation sent us its reply to this piece. Here are both articles and the feedback from our readers.

Electoral Ticket of FIDE President
07.06.2010 – "I am pleased to announce our electoral ticket for the upcoming FIDE elections in Khanty-Mansiysk," writes the incumbent President. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov lists the achievements of his presidency, his plans for the future and the six-member team of his electoral ticket. In addition the campaign has published a list of 35 federations that they say are supporting the re-election bid.

Interview with Ilyumzhinov, letter from FIDE
10.06.2010 – The Russian newspaper Gazeta has published an indepth interview with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who says that he is suing rival Anatoly Karpov – but would shake his hand. And more remarkably assures us that he is "not an agent of any extraterrestrial intelligence." We also received a letter from FIDE Deputy President Makropoulos on the support Ilyumzhinov has received. Long read.

Robert von Weizsaecker's Team for ECU Leadership
12.06.2010 – "For a Brighter Future" is the campaign slogan, the mission statement includes the fair allocation of tournaments, transparency, sustainable sponsorship, chess in schools and on the Internet. The German Chess Federation President, Prof. Robert von Weizsäcker (pronounced "fon why-tsecker"), is running for the European Union presidency, with a team of four grandmasters. Details.

Karpov releases platform, ticket to be announced
16.06.2010 – It's been a few days since we looked in at the race for the FIDE presidency. Ilyumzhinov already announced his ticket and platform, now it's Anatoly Karpov's turn. Eight pages of policy includes finances, federalism, and, of course, the World Championship. He's also made known almost all of his ticket and we're sure you'll recognize the latest addition.

FIDE Elections: Ilyumzhinov Presidential ticket claims 64 votes
08.07.2010 – "The number 64 is significant," it says on the campaign site, "as it is a symbol for the 64 squares of our beloved game." Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is running for reelection as FIDE President, is on the road and announcing high-prized new tournaments. Meanwhile one of his most ardent supports, Turkish Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici, has named his team for the ECU Presidency.

FIDE Elections: Karpov in Puerto Rico, Bahamas
09.07.2010 – Yesterday we went through the Ilyumzhinov election site, today we look at recent Karpov2010 campaign efforts – in the Caribbean. There is some remarkable video of a vote being taken in Puerto Rico to support the challenger's ticket. We also learn that Presidential candidate Karpov is taking up his opponent's challenge with a $100,000 sponsorship package to promote chess in Central America.

FIDE Elections: The Four Million Dollar Man
17.07.2010 – Anatoly Karpov played many world championship matches for millions. Now as a candidate for FIDE President he wants to bring millions to further the game. On an Asian campaign tour, Karpov announced a worldwide development package of four million dollars. He has already announced a $100,000 for Central America, and $300,000 for the Balkan region. Where will the rest go?

Sutovsky: Proposal for the Candidates Matches
22.07.2010 – "On July 20 I was invited to meet FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov," writes Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky, "in order to discuss the situation with the Candidates Matches 2011. I was given few minutes to submit my proposal, and it was agreed, that I will publish an open letter on this very important matter." Here is Sutovsky's open letter.

Ilyumzhinov to resign as Kalmyk President?
24.07.2010 – The Russian newspaper Gazeta is reporting that the leaders of two regions of the Russian Federation (the political one, not chess) will be stepping down. One of them is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has been the President of Kalmykia since 1993. Unfazed, Ilyumzhinov is in full campaign mode for his FIDE reelection, visiting South American and giving interviews. Excerpts and links.

FIDE to move Candidates Matches, Topalov threatens boycott
24.07.2010 – The Candidates Matches for the next FIDE World Championship cycle were scheduled to be played in Baku, Azerbaijan. Since one of the candidates, Levon Aronian, is Armenian, and the two countries are de facto at war, FIDE wants to move the matches to Kazan in Russia. To this another candidate, Veselin Topalov, has issued a very sharp protest and threat.

Karpov wowed by Singapore chess fans
25.07.2010 – “Chess is for Everybody in Singapore” is a movement that believes that chess keeps the mind alert and is beneficial to the young, adults and veterans players alike. The organisation and the chess fans of the island country last week were visited by the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov, who was in campaign mode for his FIDE presidency bid. Pictorial report.

FIDE moves Candidates matches to Kazan, Russia
27.07.2010 – Just days after a request from the Russian Chess Federation to move the 2011 Candidates matches away from Baku, Azerbaijan, FIDE President Kirsan Illumzhinov has announced that the match will indeed now take place in Kazan. If Topalov refuses to play in Russia, as he has threatened, he will (brace yourself) be replaced by Alexander Grischuk. Sport Express report.

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