A pic is worth a 1,000 words…
Congratulations to my friend and colleague Sam Collins for winning the just completed Irish Championship, one of the strongest in memory! Even better is Sam’s score: 8 from 9! This year’s event was sponsored by Trinity College Dublin and The TCD Association and Trust, and New Ireland Assurance.
Vladimir Putin and the godfather of FIFA yesterday during the final match up between Germany (congratulations!!) and Argentina. (I hoped that Argentina would win, but…). Angela Merkel was also present at the match, as was the president of Brazil. Putin is on a week long tour of Cuba, Central and South America, no doubt drumming up business and establishing his reputation as one of the world’s most influential, charismatic and controversial leaders.
Congratulations to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for his low-key but highly effective approach to the 2014 FIDE presidential elections, to be disputed in mid-August during the Tromso chess congress. Kirsan has avoided much of mainstream media, unlike his adversary Kasparov, who has tried to be in the news on a daily basis.
Here we see Ilyumzhinov with delegates of Nigeria’s chess federation. Previously thought to be a sure vote for Kasparov, Nigeria now supports the FIDE incumbent. Meanwhile, Kasparov’s campaign seems to have run out of gas, probably one of the side effects of having started campaigning late last year (Kirsan only started his campaign a few months ago). As things stand now, only a minor miracle can give Kasparov a victory.
And Canada–voting for the Kirsan camp in August–has just finished its annual online meeting, seeing its president Vlad Drkulec being re-elected to a second one-year mandate. I am not sure congratulations are inorder, Vlad, but congratulations anyway! (My opinion is that Vlad is a competent administrator, something that the CFC has not seen for atleast a decade)
However, Canadian chess is suffering big time, and not even a Vlad Drkulec can stop the downward spiral that has seen the CFC alienate, in recent times, virtually all of the top players, skilled volunteers and historic sponsors that had once made chess in Canada a respectable community. Often operating outside of the word and spirit of the law, the CFC has seen the Canadian government withdraw its tax charity status.
On top of this, almost 50% of the membership has disappeared. Apparently all of Canada has only 800 adult members, a number that would horrify most chess federations. On top of this, the executive has failed to attract any skilled entrepreneurs, successful business people (Lyle Craver’s family business of producing inflatable sex dolls does not count) or celebrities to run for office.
There are no plans for a membership drive. There are no plans to update its website. There are no plans to get Saskatchewan to become an association within the Canadian chess community (Saskatchewan withdrew last year). There are no plans to revive the Canadian closed championship.
Vladimir Drkulec has a daunting and hopeless challenge before him. The recent controversy in the CFC about which FIDE candidate Canada should support has left the CFC even weaker than before. Sid Belzberg will never sponsor the CFC’s activities again. What has become clear, atleast to this observer, is that the CFC executive does NOT represent the views of the majority of the members of the Canadian chess community. The CFC executive , with the exception of Vlad Drkulec, is little more than a disgruntled group of weak. ageing club-players trying to dominate and destroy ,little by little, what several generations had built up in Canadian chess.
And that is the only thing the CFC is having success in doing..