SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The 2012 Chess Olympiad is slated for later this summer, in Istanbul. Between August 27 and September 10, to be exact. Curiously, Istanbul was also host to the 2000 Olympiad. I participated that year and won the silver medal on board number 2.
Turkey is one of the most active chess countries in the world and has made great investments in recent years to popularize the game, expecially amongst the youth. While not yet having produced any Carlsens or Fischers, the Turkish federation has imported a number of foreign GMs to bolster its national team. Turkey today has one of Europe’s strongest teams, and no doubt will want to fight for the top places.
The Canadian Chess Federation has announced that it plans to participate in Istanbul, provided that it comes up with the 20,000 dollars or so required to pay the travel for the 10 players and hanger-ons who have been chosen to represent Canada.
As usual in recent years, nothing will be clear until the last moment. Todate the CFC has barely 10% of its stated goal. The CFC is essentially a bankrupt organization (morally and financially) that depends on its ever dwindling supply of goodwill in the chess community to raise the airfares.
We will just have to wait and see IF the CFC actually raises enough capital this time around. Last time (2010) some members were told that they would have to pay their own way, but were later re-imbursed when some loose cash was found. It was never revealed the source of this money. This time around things may very well become critical because the Canadian authorities have recently pulled its charitable status, dis-satisfied with numerous abuses of the CFC’s issuing questionable tax receipts….this and the fact that the CFC refuses to have an official audit of its books (to explain what has happened to hundreds of thousands of dollars that defies accountability in recent years) may discourage potential donors from bailing out the sinking ship.
The full women’s team has yet to be made public, but the men’s team is known: Grandmaster Sambuev and IMs Gerzhoy, Noritsyn, Hansen and Porper. Virtually all of Canada’s GMs showed little or no interest in qualifying for this year’s team, yours truly included.
While certainly a weaker team than usual from Canada, and lacking the depth and experience necessary to finish in the top 75 places (usually there are about 125 teams–give or take a half dozen), the team boasts a wider national makeup than the 2010 edition, where virtually every member was from Toronto.
Calgary youngster Eric Hansen will get his chance to represent Canada this time around. In 2010 he was victimized by an all-Toronto Selection Committee , who chose a weaker player–a Toronto resident , ofcourse– in Eric’s place.
This time around Albertan’s Eric Hansen and Ed Porper were chosen by a Selection Committee that included Calgary’s Vlad Pechenkin and Toronto’s Jan Teplitski (this latter made it known that he was NOT happy with Pechenkin’s obstinance and lack of objectivity in picking local boys). It has become a standard practice for glaringly unethical behaviour
on the part of the Selection Committee each time an Olympiad comes around…2010 Olympic Team Scandal
Canada has today a well deserved reputation for being one of the most dysfunctional and corrupt chess
federations in the world. Only several sub-Saharan nations can boast having more corrupt federations! Ten years ago it was unthinkable that the CFC could become a 3rd-world corrupt organization, especially after the likes of John Prentice and Phil Haley. Today the CFC is composed of charlatans
, as will be further discussed when I publish an upcoming blog article based on an oldish (2004) interview with Nathan Divinsky, where he reflects on what has happened to Canadian chess….