Reactions to the Ilyumzhinov letter

by ChessBase
5/17/2010 – The publication of the open letter yesterday by the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, on the endorsement of Anatoly Karpov for the FIDE Presidency, has led to an unprecedented number of critical emails, especially from readers in Russia. Were we not fact-checking our reports, or were we in fact actively supporting the current administration? The letters contain a number of interesting links.

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The letters, mainly from Russian readers, accuse us of publishing the original Ilyumzhinov letter "without checking the facts", and imply that we may be doing that out of self-interest ("do you have commercial plans with the current FIDE leadership or with David Kaplan, whom you are also promoting?"). Naturally we are not – the open letter by the current FIDE President arrived on our electronic doorstep just after midnight on Saturday and we published it as delivered. Subsequently many chess blogs have done likewise.

The main point of criticism was Ilyumzhinov's statement in the letter that "a meeting was originally [scheduled] for 5.00 p.m. in Mr Dvorkovich’s office, and it was suddenly changed by Mr Bakh notifying some of the delegates that they should meet at 4.30 p.m. at the premises of the Russian Chess Federation. The Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation was not notified at all. This clearly violates the statutes, which determine that all meetings are to be presided over by the Chairman."

Apparently this is not completely accurate. Our readers sent us links – and in fact screen shots ("in case anything is changed") of the official announcement of the Supervisory Board, delivered by the Russian Chess Federation on May 5th. It clearly states that the meeting would be held in the Central Chess Club at 5 p.m. on May 14.

This notice is still up on the RCF site. The translation of the critical passage reads

The meeting of the Supervisory Board RCF
05/05/2010 PM
Central Chess Club M. Mk Botvinnik
May 14 2010 17.00

Agenda of the meeting

1. 1. Nomination of a candidate for FIDE President of the Russian Chess Federation.
AV Dvorkovich

2. 2. Preparations for the World Chess Olympiad in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk.


Executive Secretary G. Vladimirov

An updated agenda, published two days later, also give the Central Chess Club as the venue for the March 14 17:00h meeting.

Nomination of Karpov against
administrative resources (video)

A New Times news page has provided full video coverage of the meeting that took place at the Central Chess Club in Moscow. "Even before it was held Arkady Dvorkovich announced the support of the RCF for the candidacy of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. But at the same time a number of leading players around the world supported Anatoly Karpov, and the public expected Russia to support their champion. Dvorkovich tried to move the scheduled conference to another place, where the presence of the press would be limited. However the meeting in the Central Chess Club was able to collect a quorum – more than 17 of 32 board members – and the meeting began, despite a telephone warning by the Vice-Premier of Russia Alexander Zhukov that the meeting would be considered illegitimate." [Zhukov used to be the President of the Russian Chess Federation until Vladimir Putin made it impossible for high-level government officials to hold such extraneous posts.]

Delegates voting for Karpov at the meeting in the video below

The New Times provides extensive video footage of the RCF meeting that voted to nominate Karpov as the Candidate for FIDE Presidency.

There are eight more video sequences on the New Times report. They are naturally all in Russian, though we have found an English transcription of Kasparov's speech to the delegates on the Natalia Pogonina web site. The Karpov Campaign HQ have provided an English transcript of Karpov's speech to the delegates.

Karpov’s Letter on Receiving Russian Nomination

I am delighted to have been nominated by the Russian Chess Federation on May 14 and I will proudly stand as Russia’s nominee for the Presidency of FIDE. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov lost an open vote and now has no basis to pursue re-election under FIDE rules.

The events of May 14 are clear and well-documented. The meeting of the Supervisory Council of the RCF was called by Kirsan’s supporter Arkady Dvorkovich, the non-voting president of that body. The meeting was announced on the RCF website, weeks in advance, to take place at the MM Botvinnik Central Chess Club, where all such business has been conducted for decades.* Therefore, Ilyumzhinov’s statements in his open letter to delegates on May 15 saying the scheduled location of the meeting was changed are demonstrably false. The full story of what took place on May 14 – that it was Dvorkovich who attempted to move and then to cancel the meeting – is available here at my campaign website.

It is revealing that Ilyumzhinov insults the process by which I was nominated. Council members representing regions all across Russia met in orderly fashion in an open forum with the attendance of the media and outside observers. They listened to statements, asked questions, and debated the decision. Then they voted, again in full view of cameras and the world. It is a shame Ilyumzhinov decided not to attend, he might have learned something about democracy. Full article on the Karpov Campaign site...

ChessBase reports on the 2010 FIDE Elections

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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