I have spent the past few days decompressing from 6 action-packed months following the 2010 FIDE presidential campaign/election. What a relief for all of this to be now over! Isn’t democracy great? I am just so happy that I live in a time when the little people amongst us can decide who wins and who loses; who rules and who goes home; who celebrates and who must dream of another day…
The FIDE incumbent for the past 15 years, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has won a huge majority and was re-elected to serve yet another term! The Kalmykian leader wasted no time to consolidate his victory infront of the entire world….
Immediately following the vote, infact, within an hour of the result being made public, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov invited his challenger for a drink. The next day a joint press conference was quickly arranged as a surprised world media looked on….
”The word here after the vote was that the Karpov campaign had been too focused on negativity, basically claiming that the current regime was not effective and needed to be changed without clearly defining an alternative vision of where FIDE should be heading. It would appear that “negative campaigning” backfired and that the Karpov camp underestimated the task of attempting to unseat a President who was able to use all the resources at the disposal of his office to garner support. After the election results were announced I witnessed a TV interview of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Although I couldn’t understand what was said at the interview, Ilyumzhinov had all the hallmarks of a media savvy political performer. He was immaculately turned out in a dark suit and white shirt. He also had a permanent and reassuring smile broken occasionally by a more serious expression presumably to demonstrate a level of gravitas required by the topic under discussion. Indeed the election literature he provided took the form of a glossy magazine with numerous photos of our hero meeting such luminaries as the pope and the Dalai Llama interspersed with chess playing children demonstrating that Ilyumzhinov was at the centre of events and had influence with world figures. He reminds me of how the former prime minister of the UK Tony Blair used to appear in his early days in Downing Street before the self delusion set in! After what was clearly a ferocious political battle, Ilyumzhinov has acted quickly to further consolidate his position by offering his electoral rival Anatoly Karpov the position of vice president of FIDE so that they can cooperate in the interests of chess worldwide. Winston Churchill suggested it was advisable in politics to keep “your friends close and your enemies closer” so Ilyumzhinov is clearly a fan of this particular dictum!
On October 2nd, the FIDE congress appointed Karpov to be the FIDE representative for all international organizations:
” Karpov appointed FIDE representative””Russia’s chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov has been appointed to represent the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in international organizations. The relevant decision was passed at the 81st FIDE Congress in the oil city of Khanty-Mansiisk in Western Siberia on Saturday. A report placed on the official Website of the World Chess Olympics, underway in this Siberian city, cites FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as saying that Anatoly Karpov’s popularity worldwide makes him top choice to represent chess in such organizations as the International Olympic Committee, UNESCO and UNISEF. ”
KIRSAN HAS EMERGED AS A GLOBAL WINNER!
In his first interview with the media after his election victory, Kirsan profusely thanked both Karpov and Kasparov for deciding to run against him! He cleverly pointed out that because of their involvement, both he and FIDE had gained enormously , both in prestige and in public stature. Truer words have never been spoken…
Just today, several days after the end of the election, Karpov’s campaign managers–realizing the extent of Karpov’s defeat and submissive humiliation in the immediate aftermath of the election count–countered with an article that tried to save what little credibility that Karpov’s campaign had left, and hurried to backtrack on Karpov’s post-election capitulation:
”Setting the Record Straight”
”After five months of immersion into the world of FIDE and federation politics, Anatoly Karpov, his ticket, our team, and our supporters remain more convinced than ever that the chess world is in dire need of a major transformation.”
I invite my readers to study the article. In it Karpov’s campaign managers refuse to accept defeat and poignantly dis-associate themselves from Karpov’s actions and behaviour immediately following his election defeat….
But the bullshit does not stop there! Chessbase carries an article from Steve Giggins entitled ”An offer he couldn’t refuse” (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6720) where Karpov is painted as a hostage by Ilyumzhinov at the post election press conference:
”As for his public rapprochement and friendliness towards Illumzhinov after the vote, Karpov claims that this was something he felt forced to do, to protect his supporters from personal reprisals, with which they were threatened by Illumzhinov cronies….In the end, Karpov did a deal with Kirsan, under which he agreed to end crtiticism of the latter and to appear with him at the press conference the following day, in return for an end to legal actions against his supporters.”
Ofcourse, all of this is just pure nonsense! Absolutely 100% unadulterated bullshit nonsense that only us semi-paranoid, ego-crazy chess players could invent!
Just ask your dog! Explain the whole story to him and see if he believes you…
Fortunately for us, the election is over. Finished. Concluded. Done. Gone. Ended. Completed. History…
Now, Steve….give your dog a bone. Woof! Woof!
What does one really expect when we repeat the same mistakes as the past? In 2006 Bessel Kok ran a campaign based on political polarization and the dominance of Europe in chess in the 21st century. Three quarters of the world population rejected him. He was crushed by (virtually) the same vote margin as was Karpov in 2010, running on the same platform.
WHAT DO THE ABOVE TWO PHOTOS HAVE IN COMMON?
And that is all there is to it…the election is over. There was (predictably) a winner and a loser. Not everyone is happy, ofcourse, but at least the MAJORITY got its way. And that is supposed to be a happy ending, isn’t it?? At least, in theory…
Karpov and Kasparov are celebrities and superstars in their own right. Just like Britney Spears…But do you really think that Britney could win any election based solely only on her bust size and her celebrity status or fame?? No, I do not think so either…