2018 FIDE Election Campaign
A Letter from Makropoulos
Georgios Makropoulos, acting-FIDE president, needs no introduction. Despite the difficult times within the chess community since Kirsan Ilyumzhinov came under US sanctions in late 2015, Makropoulos has discharged his duties very well, keeping FIDE operating, attracting new sponsors and organizing championships.
But not without controversy, or a high price to pay. He and Kirsan have fallen out and will now face each other, as opponents, at the upcoming FIDE presidential election in early October. The chess world is split as to whom to support. Besides this, Nigel Short has also thrown his hat into the ring.
Of course, there are several very controversial issues to confront, but the most challenging will be to convince the chess brotherhood that now is the right time for a change in leadership. Kirsan has been in power since 1995, but will not exit quietly.
Yesterday Makropoulos wrote a letter to me, asking me to publish it on my blog. I present it below. Without comments from me, but in a future post I might do so. (I appreciate Makropoulos for taking the time to write to me his views and opinions)
The reason for my present letter is your recent posts on your website about the upcoming FIDE elections and I would like to have my reply published as well.
I believe that your website was one of the most objective during the previous election campaign of 2014. But, unfortunately, I am afraid that this year you have turned your website, most probably unintentionally, to a propaganda outlet of Kirsan. The campaign team of Kirsan, led by Silvio Danailov and Berik Balgabaev, are using your articles to inform the national federations that, based on your “rumours”, Kirsan has already …won the elections!
Below I will refer to only three points from what you have published :
1. In your post of 3 May, you claim that:
“According to my own research figures, Kirsan is heading towards a 70% support level, sweeping almost all of Asia and Africa, revealing a new strategy that anticipates that his support in the Americas might decline to 50%.”
Before commenting on your above statement, let me clarify that I was always supporting Kirsan until the beginning of 2017 as his contributions to FIDE, and chess in general, were enormous and under his leadership FIDE achieved to unify again the World Championship cycle. But the Kirsan we knew before 2017 is not the Kirsan we have now.
It is not only the US sanctions on Kirsan that have damaged FIDE’s reputation, it is also the sudden change in Kirsan’s behaviour with all the lies and the unjustified defaming remarks he makes, directly or through his team, for other FIDE officials including myself (relevant LINK ).
Returning to your statement above, published on 3 May, I would also like to remind you that in the elections of 2014 Gary Kasparov won 61 votes, exactly in the range I predicted 10 months before the elections as you can see from my interview then : LINK , ie “I believe that Garry can really get between 60-70 votes but not more”. And I clarified that his relationship with Danailov will pull him down.
Therefore, you realize that when I make comments about FIDE elections, I always use the most accurate numbers I estimate, without artificially “pumping” our side’s electoral power.
Having said all of the above, allow me to predict also for this year that Kirsan’s absolutely maximum percentage of votes, if there is a second round, cannot exceed 35%, much lower than the …70%(!) your sources told you. And believe me, I am very generous with the cap of 35% that I predict for Kirsan!
2. In your post of 6 May, you claim that:
“It is thought by some that Ilyumzhinov might now even be acclaimed President in October, as the only other candidate, Makro, is expected to withdraw at any moment. Another rumour is the entire presidential board (clearly supporting Makro) will follow suite and resign, leaving FIDE in administrative limbo until the October elections”.
This is also the “Midsummer night’s dream” of the person who is your source for such “rumours”. Not only me, but also no one from the Presidential board, is intending to resign this summer and leave FIDE in an “administrative limbo until the elections”. Furthermore, of course I will not withdraw my candidacy. I believe that all of the above was your responsibility to be confirmed, by simply calling any of the FIDE PB members or myself, before publishing such fairy tales.
The only member of the Presidential Board who declared his resignation, and then took back his move, is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov; the candidate you are supporting with “rumours” up to now.
3. In your post of 11 May, you wonder:
“Will the question of US sanctions matter to voters?”
Within FIDE, all our officials and member national federations believe that an international organisation such as FIDE cannot be isolated from the international banking system as it needs to do transactions, pay prize funds, etc., to federations and players all over the world and in both EUR and USD currencies. It is not only UBS that is afraid to do business with FIDE today because of Kirsan.
Our insurance company also expressed strong concerns and we had to guarantee that Kirsan is out of FIDE’s operations so they would continue serving our contract. FIDE board members have also seen the letter we received from the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), regarding the current situation in FIDE, but unfortunately the IOC have asked us to keep its content confidential so we are not allowed to publish it for now. I am afraid that if we do not solve our problems in Batumi, the IOC will have to follow its principles and this was made very clear to us during our recent meeting with them in Lausanne.
Now, if somebody is suggesting that FIDE should disconnect from the rest of the world and just move its offices, bank accounts and tournaments only to a country friendly to Kirsan (if it exists), then I do not believe that such a proposal can be considered seriously.
As a last note I re-assure you that, even with 3 candidates (if Short decides to help Kirsan and run), I will win the elections from the first round. And if you think that I am too optimistic, see again above my prediction for the results of 2014, ten months before the actual elections.
Best regards, Georgios Makropoulos FIDE Deputy President