Coffee, Trump, Chess & Russia
How are you today? There is a lot happening in the world this week. Despite how depressing it is to see another lockdown on the agenda, there is one bright spot that is cause for some optimism.
The end of the Trump Circus?
Do you know what — of all the political bullshit generated these past 4 years — has most annoyed me? It is how Trump has been able to dominate the narrative of the main-stream media as well as the social media, day after day.
This man-child has found ways, day in and day out, to become the centre of attention, discussion and focus. Regardless of more important issues or whatever else is happening elsewhere in the world. Every day for the past 4 years. Including holidays.
Trump’s antics have even been able to deflect any rational discussion of Covid back towards himself. We have been unable to escape him. Donald Trump has become bigger than the virus itself.
For this reason alone — despite there being many better reasons — I want to see a Democrat elected today. I want to be able to turn on the TV and see the news without any mention of the latest Trump idiocy.
I want to be able to go to bed at night and not fear waking up the next day having to change Trump’s diaper. Please, God, is this asking too much?
CAS hearings on WADA/Russia this week.
Hearings began yesterday in Lausanne. CAS is to consider RUSADA‘s (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) appeal against WADA‘s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) December 2019 decision to ban all Russian sports from participating in any international events for a period of 4 years.
The hearing — which is not open to the public and is being held at a secret location — had already been delayed several times this year because of the pandemic.
I have already written extensively on this matter, and especially on how it will affect FIDE. Below are links to several short, but well researched blog articles that I wrote. The reader might find them very informative.
WHY IS FIDE WORRIED?
I think that the Australian journalist (and grandmaster) Ian Rogers captured the essence of the problem very well when he tweeted:
But it is also more than just this. FIDE has been ruled by the Russian Oligarchs since 1995 — with a brief exception of when Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was placed on the US sanctions list and Makropoulos took over until the 2018 FIDE elections — and has essentially become a vassal of the Russian Chess Federation.
It is thought that the current FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich, had the Kremlin’s full political and financial backing in his 2018 election campaign. Virtually all of FIDE’s current sponsors are Kremlin-sanctioned Russian companies where Dvorkovich has direct personal influences.
Should CAS rule to uphold (or increase) the WADA sanctions, then this Russian revenue might soon come to a full stop, virtually bankrupting the organization.
To put things into another perspective, FIDE will not be allowed to organize any events inside of Russia for the next 4 years, nor would Russia be allowed to bid for any major FIDE tournament.
Considering that most major FIDE events are held in Russia (Olympics, Candidates Tournaments, Grand Prix, etc) because of the lack of sponsorship in the west, FIDE will be faced with severe obstacles in its yearly activities.
Some have also speculated that it is only a question of time before Dvorkovich himself will find himself on the US sanctions list.
To be continued…