Behind the scenes intrigue in Russian chess politics
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
As pointed out numerous times in previous blog entries here, the official support of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) is of key strategic importance in the upcoming FIDE elections to be held in September during the Olympiad. With this support will come the implicit approval of the powers that be in the Kremlin, and with it much political influence in the 3rd world, which really controls FIDE.
All of this might seem like a cold war flashback, but the truth is that chess has always been closely linked with internal Kremlin influence. True, chess is no longer as important as it was in the past, but the vast and powerful political networks in Russia today are still controlled by the generation that was brought up to view chess as a symbol of their national identity.
It is this symbolism that both Karpov and Ilyumzhinov must appeal to in their election campaign for the FIDE presidency.
The latest development can be understood in the following press release from Karpov’s campaign site (http://www.karpov2010.org/)
Dvorkovich Letter Nominating Ilyumzhinov Not Signed;
Apr 23, 2010
In another remarkable twist in the early going of the campaign for FIDE president, Chairman of the Supervisory Council of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) Arkady Dvorkovich qualified his support for Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the nomination for FIDE president over Anatoly Karpov. Dvorkovich admitted that the nomination letter he presented on April 21 had not actually been signed by RCF technical director Alexander Bakh. In an interview with the leading Russian newspaper Vedemosti, Dvorkovich also admitted that “the statute does not specify who has the right to take such decisions on behalf of the Federation.”
On the news, Ilyumzhinov promptly left for Moscow. He was in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the opening of the world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov, but left early without waiting for the first game or announcing his presidential ticket. Dvorkovich announced two days ago that the RCF was nominating Ilyumzhinov, despite having previously stated the decision would not be made until the Supervisory Council met on May 14. As he did in his April 22 letter, Anatoly Karpov continues to call for the Russian Federation to observe a proper process that honors the importance of the decision.
In the same Vedemosti article, an unnamed Council member noted: “[Ilyumzhinov’s] likely exit from the presidency of Kalmykia in October.” News indeed.
Additional information (gossip and rumours) can be found at:
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS