SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I suppose the top news item today in our small, inwardly-looking chess world is the sad financial state of chess in Europe’s number one economic powerhouse: Germany. Apparently the federation does not have the money to send its top players to the upcoming Olympiad in September!
Basic stats about chess in Germany:
More than 100,000 active (paying) members of the German Federation
14,000 FIDE rated players
165 international masters
THIS MUST ALSO COME AS BAD NEWS TO THE MUCH MUCH SUFFERING KARPOV PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Kasparov, Weizsacker (President of the German Chess Federation) and Karpov in better times
Earlier this spring the Karpov campaign made a lot of noise about joining forces with the President of the German Chess Federation. (http://www.karpov2010.org/
) Not only did Germany nominate Karpov for FIDE president, but both Karpov and Kasparov fully supported Weizsacker’s campaign to become president of the European Chess Union (ECU).
Campaigning under the slogan ”For a brighter future”
, the German president promised to bring in sustainable sponsorship! Critics are now asking if Weizsacker is not just one more incompetent politician making promises that he clearly can not keep. After all, if he is failing in Germany, what can he possibly do better in the rest of Europe?
A SCANDAL THAT MIGHT BRING DOWN THE GERMAN CHESS FEDERATION?
Grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch, the number one player in Germany
Today on the excellent chess site chessvibes
) grandmaster Naiditsch wrote a scathing criticism of the up to now little known problems in German chess. Unable to pay for its best players to represent Germany at the Olympiad, the federation is seen to be begging on its knees. Not mixing his words, Naiditsch spared nobody connected with the federation:
(Of the German Federation President, Weizsacker)
”Let’s start with the fact that nobody from the German A-team is going to participate in the Chess Olympiad this year… Why? The easy answer is that the biggest chess federation in Europe, about 100,000 active members, couldn’t manage to find money to pay the players.
So, the next question is “how could this happen”? This question is easy to answer as well: nobody in the federation has been doing anything for at least five years. The German Chess Federation has no sponsors at the moment, so the money is only coming from their members. Generally, even this should be enough to have a great and lazy life, but the main problem is the meetings attended by huge amounts of hungry officials that are being held almost monthly in expensive hotels.”
”As we know, Prof. Dr. Von Weizsäcker is running his campaign for the ECU Presidency, and many European countries are giving their support to him. Now, the logical conclusion would be since he could do absolutely nothing for chess in his own country in two years, or again had no time for it, which, of course, led to the same result, can he do something for Europe? I would say probably not.”
(Of the German National Coach, U.Bonsch)
Mr. U. Bönsch – National Coach
”The first Olympiad that I played in was in Turin, 2006. I played on the first board for the German team and Mr. Bönsch was already an experienced and well-respected trainer. But the strange thing was, all he ever did was distribute the line-up for the next match and make a great black tea that we drank together every evening. Not once did he make the slightest effort to help anybody from the team chess wise…. In my opinion, our national trainer could be a hero in any teahouse! ”
(Of Klaus Deventer, responsible for finding sponsors for the National Team)
”With regard to finding money there isn’t much to say. I think Mr. Deventer in his crushing career in the Chess Federation never even gave it a try.
In distributing money for the national team he has clear methods and opinions. That is, the national team should play for free!! ….Strangely, Mr. Deventer is a very important man in the federation. Personally, I could never understand what he is actually doing… And I think after many years of deep thinking, I finally got a little clue about his function; it is to try to stop anybody from being a professional chess player in Germany….”
(Of Ralph Alt, national tournament director)
”Mr. Alt is a famous public prosecutor in Germany. He is the organizer of many official tournaments in Germany, such as the National Individual Championship.
He only has one problem: he is always scheduling these championships to match his holidays. So, sometimes he gets lucky and there is nothing running at the same time….
…He held the German National Championship at exactly the same dates as the European Individual Championships. A normal reaction would be, what the heck? Easy answer: Sorry, holidays are holidays. Can’t move them! So nobody participated in it …
(Of Jorg Schulz, federation handyman)
”Personally, I didn’t have much to do with Mr. Schulz… Slowly, over the years he took over about fifteen different positions within the federation and is almost completely in charge of the whole money flow now. Bravo to Mr. Schulz!
For example, he created a chess company that is paying the players for participating in the European Team Championships as well as Olympiads. The company is making no money but paying us. Wow, really great job by Mr. Schulz.”
The entire letter can be found at http://www.chessvibes.com/
It might appear that these kind of problems are quite normal for chess federations, but you have to remember that no normal
chess federation has 100,000 members and at the same time experiences financial problems! Clearly, there must be much more to the story than just what Naiditsch has written. I will keep you posted.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS