SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Today on the incumbent FIDE president’s official campaign site (http://www.onefide.com/) it was announced that Ilyumzhinov had reached the ‘winning’ number: 84. That is, there are 84 countries that have officially committed themselves to support the re-election of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as FIDE president, and this represents 50% plus one of all possible votes.
One more term as FIDE leader?
However, I have it from reliable sources that Ilyumzhinov has already more than 110 votes up his sleeve, but that he prefers to create the impression that the much mediatized election campaign is more of a fight than it really is! In particular, for example, the extensive travelling to many FIDE member-nations by the incumbent and the consequent intense media coverage has increased Kirsan’s profile around the world and re-inforced his prestige in his own republic (Kalmykia).
In the meantime, Karpov is visiting Argentina–not as part of his FIDE election campaign–but as an invited guest by the government of the Province of Buenos Aires. Karpov has already given several simuls and interviews. In one interview Karpov was asked what he thought of his chances of winning the September FIDE election…he replied that he felt his chances were very good!
Question: ¿Tiene chances de ganar las elecciones de Fide? (translation: Do you have chances of winning the FIDE elections?)
Karpov: Claro! Tengo buenas chances de ganar. (translation: Ofcourse! I have good chances of winning.)
Superstar status. Here is Karpov flanked by Governor Daniel Scioli (R) and GM Oscar Panno
Karpov was also asked if he did not feel a bit strange visiting a country (Argentina) whose chess federation (FADA) had already committed its vote to the re-election of Ilyumzhinov. Karpov replied : ”To have Argentina’s support would be important because Argentina has much influence in the Americas. The problem is that under the present system FIDE has a financial stranglehold over many countries…I think that if Argentina were to change its support (to me-editor) then it would be advantageous for Argentina. I think that FADA does not support me because of only one person’s views (the actual president of the Argentine Chess Federation) and that this person believes he can make this decision despite and contrary to the opinions of the players and masters of Argentine chess.”
The Karpov visit to Argentina is being widely reported in all of the country’s media. Curiously, however, the official site of the Argentine Chess Federation (http://www.ajedrez.com.ar/) ignores Karpov’s visit all together! Instead, on the front page there is an announcement of the visit to Argentina of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov later this month (below). No doubt this is because of Karpov’s controversial accusations of the FADA falsifying documents of an Argentine-born member of Ilyumzhinov’s election team.
This writer believes that Karpov and Ilyumzhinov have already made a sort of truce, probably sometime last month and that the two will cooperate for the good of FIDE and chess as soon as the election is over next month. As explained several weeks ago, Ilyumzhinov ( a dedicated Buddhist) has a proven track record of conciliation and cooperation with his opponents. For example, in 2006 both he and Bessel Kok were rumoured to have made a similar agreement months before the actual election. Bessel Kok soon became Kirsan’s right hand man in some business venture after the election.
It is very likely that Karpov and Ilyumzhinov will cooperate in a decisive final effort to try to convince the IOC to let chess become part of either the Summer or Winter Olympics. Curiously, while in Argentina Karpov talked about this for the first time since he announced his running for FIDE president. In particular, he thought it might be possible for this to happen by 2016. ”I would very much like to see chess become an olympic sport….and I see real chances of this happening for Rio 2016…”
Ilyumzhinov has been dreaming of making chess an olympic sport since he was first elected.
This would also allow for a reconciliation with the Russian sports authorities, currently lead by a chess player: Alexander Zhukov. The recently elected head of the Russian Olympic Committee has made chess/ioc one of his most public priorities. ”Regrettably, the International Olympic Committee doesn’t want to add that sport (chess) to the Olympic program, but we will insist on that,” Zhukov said at a press conference following his election earlier this year.
Karpov and Zhukov are well known to each other and will have the opportunity to work together
Karpov (left) playing double-chess with Dvorkovich (right) and Zhukov (centre)
If Ilyumzhinov actually brings about this reconciliation and cooperation, for the good of chess and FIDE, then everyone stands to save face and mend the broken fences created during the first part of Karpov’s election campaign. Karpov will solve his problems with the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) and the Kremlin; the RCF will consolidate a new administration as it turns a new page in its history; and Ilyumzhinov will look like an effective leader capable of healing wounds and bringing together all sides.
Ilyumzhinov: master strategist?
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS