SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I just got back from an intense 3-day chess camp in Porto. Now I can finally relax and indulge in some of my other earthly pleasures: blogging, checking my in-box mail and catching up with what is happening in the chess world. Especially with the FIDE elections.
Apparently Karpov is in Angola at this moment (having arrived on Friday) and today held a meeting with representatives of 12 other African nations, all of whom were invited to an all-expenses paid weekend of fun in Luanda. (Moçambique, Lesotho, Namíbia, Zâmbia, Zimbabwe, São Tomé e Príncipe, Ghana, Malawi, Nigéria, Zâmbia, Tunísia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). There is no news of what transpired, but it is thought that Karpov explained his campaign goals, ambitions and plans for the future of FIDE.
Karpov with the president of the Angolan chess federation, Aguinaldo Jaime
The Angolan press quotes Karpov as saying that he wants to improve the general conditions of chess in Angola and that he would work in this direction should he get elected president of FIDE later this month in Khanty Mansiysk.
I got a bit of a chuckle from this, as I know quite a bit about chess in Angola (some sources list me as being the National Selector of the Angolan National Chess Team–though this is somewhat misleading). I have many friends in Angola, and even spent 10 days there many moons ago.
Angola has a solid chess tradition, and must certainly be one of the richest chess cultures (if not the richest) on the African continent. Just several months ago a small international tournament was held in Luanda , with a minimum 100,000 dollars sponsorship. And as for the Angolan chess federation (FAX) the Angolan National Chess Team usually travels first class! I remember once travelling to an Olympiad with my wife Aida and the rest of the Portuguese contingent, and having to make a plane change in Paris…we sat in the back of the plane (along with the other cheap- tourist flyers) while the Angolan contingent sat in 1st class!
It is not clear to me why Karpov thinks he can improve on this, but hey…Karpov is just doing his job! Aren’t politicians supposed to kiss babies and asses? It is all about getting the votes…and the FAX president has been offered an executive position on Karpov’s team (should he get elected).
While in Luanda Karpov met with the Minister of Youth and Sports (Gonçalves Muanbumba) as well as the Minister of Education (Mpinda Simão). Several simuls are planned, also. Apparently Karpov did not arrive in Angola alone. The national press reports that a certain chess master Maximin Blogy accompanied him. I suppose they meant to say Max Dlugy. In anycase, Maximin is reported to be a highly posted FIDE official (!), and that Karpov was quite confident that he was going to win the FIDE election against Klasan Yliniov !
Grand old patron of Malasian chess, Dato Tan
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lampur, Malasia the 7th annual Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open is underway, being the strongest edition so far, despite worries that the conflicting Campomanes Memorial in the Philippines might have a negative effect on turn-out. Rumours that Ilyumzhinov was behind the tournaments’ date conflicts seem to have vanished…
My spies in Malasia inform me that this evening a dinner in honour of Karpov is to be arranged, and while Karpov would not be there, a video-conference with his side-kick Garry Kasparov was thought to be a suitable substitute. Apparently, during the tournament representatives of a number of Asian chess federations were privately invited by Dato, all part of an ambitious scheme to try to convince them to change their votes from Kirsan to Karpov.
Almost all of Asia, like Africa, will vote for the incumbent FIDE president
There is growing disappointment with-in the Karpov election team with the original decision to put Kasparov in charge of handling his Asian-campaign, especially since only about 3 pro-Karpov votes appear possible at this moment ( Iran, Thailand and Malasia). And it is not even entirely clear that Malasia will actually vote for Karpov, as many in the federation oppose supporting Karpov over Ilyumzhinov!
”Everybody smile for the camera and pretend we are winners!”
Be that as it may, the biggest embarrassment of the week is that the representative from India is none other than Ummer Koya –who has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the official chess federation of India (AICF). Infact, Koya is a disgraced figure in Indian chess, the head of a rival (and illegal) chess federation! The AICF has apparently made its displeasure known to Dato. (The reader will remember that this past week India decided to back Ilyumzhinov in the election.)
Kasparov in Chile. I recognize GM Morovic (left) and GM Vescovi (Brazil) , second to right in the background. Kasparov has been busy in South America, campaigning for Karpov. Especially in Argentina and Chile. In Chile, Kasparov was well received by members of the chess community.
Argentina will vote for Ilyumzhinov
In Argentina , however, FADA–the official chess federation of Argentina–has completely ignored him, as it did with Karpov when he visited earlier in August. Many in the federation are still upset with declarations by Karpov– considered harmful and insulting–because of FADA’s open support for Ilyumzhinov.
Kasparov winning over Claudio Morresi with a signed copy of one of his best sellers
Kasparov had to be content to meet with Argentine paparazzi-seeking political leaders, including Claudio Morresi , the Secretary of Sport. Curiously, Morresi was asked by a chess club (Federación de Ajedrez de Vicente López) to comment on the status of Ilyumzhinov’s ”honorary membership” of FADA. Morresi then wrote that “en el Registro Nacional de Instituciones Deportivas no obra la nominación del Señor Kirsan Ilyumzhinov como miembro honorario de la Federación Argentina de Ajedrez”. In other words, there is no written record of Ilyumzhinov being made an honorary member of FADA from a previous trip to the country (2005). (That is, he could be but someone might have not filed the proper papers(!) or –more likely–they were lost.)
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Ramón Nicolás Barrera, the popular president of FADA
The Argentine chess federation says that Ilyumzhinov was made an honorary member of FADA in 2005, something that Ilyumzhinov also maintains. This point is important because when Ilyumzhinov decided to run for yet another term as FIDE president (2010-2014), in one of the documents he presented he mentioned that he was an honorary member of FADA.
Karpov’s campaign is trying to make a big thing of this issue–really an internal FADA problem–and turn it into a smear campaign against Ilyumzhinov, insinuating fraud and worse! Similarly, another member of Kirsan’s election campaign is being smeared : Beatriz Marinello’s status in the Brazilian chess community is questioned, despite the Brazilian chess federation insisting that everything is entirely correct and proper!
Years ago, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined five emotions many people go through after learning they will die. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, but later she came to realize that they can be applied to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well many tragedies and disasters–and the most recent addition to this list: losing FIDE election campaigns!
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross with Mother Teresa
Kübler-Ross claimed these steps do not necessarily come in the order noted above, nor are all steps experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. Often, people will experience several stages in a “roller coaster” effect—switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it.
A common problem with the above cycle is that people often get stuck in one phase. Thus a person may become stuck in denial, never moving on from the position of not accepting the inevitable future. When it happens, they still keep on denying it, such as the person who has lost their job still going into the city only to sit on a park bench all day.
I think that the behaviour of both Karpov and Kasparov at this stage of the FIDE election campaign indicates that they are both stuck in DENIAL. Recent comments to journalists show that both are optimistic about winning the elections coming up later this month! This despite facts to the contrary… Kirsan’s modest campaign site lists the countries that have officially given their support to him: there is an ABSOLUTE majority there! And just this past week, 2 of the most powerful and influential chess federations have publically come out and thrown their support to Ilyumzhinov: India and China.
Mean while, Karpov claims that his campaign site no longer updates the list of countries supporting him for FIDE president because he wants to protect those countries who actually support him! To add to this denial , both Karpov and Kasparov insinuate in recent comments that the Lausaune Court of Arbitration–which is to reply to an absurd complaint filed earlier by Karpov’s legal team (in about 12 days time)–will disqualify the re-election campaign of this same individual who has led FIDE for the past 15 years because of a technicality–despite each of the federations in question ( Argentina, Brazil and Russia) fully supporting Ilyumzhinov!
It is for such reasons that I find this FIDE election so fascinating, and yet so disappointing at the same time! I would have expected more dignity in losing from individuals who have enjoyed so much adoration over the years from their fans…
Maybe it is time to stop using diapers…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS