SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
With the FIDE election just months away (September) one should not be surprised that interest is growing. The incumbent president of 15 years (!) , Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is facing his most dangerous opponent, former world champion Anatoly Karpov.
It is clear that Kirsan represents more of the same failed policies that has chased away sponsors, media interest in chess, and come close to destroying the most valuable asset in the chess world : the title of World Champion. Kirsan’s status quo platform does not lack supporters, however. Years of endemic corruption and lack of transparency has attracted a new kind of chess politician that is entirely satisfied to pick up the crumbs of the Kalmykia billionaire. Some say that Kirsan has invested 50 million dollars of his own wealth in chess during his reign…if that is true then it is clear that FIDE has a lot to account for.
Karpov is counting on his fame and prestige to solidify his candidacy. A household name, Karpov paints himself along the model of the legendary Max Euwe (also a former world champion) who succeeded to becoming FIDE president during the 70’s, at the height of the popularity of modern chess.
Certainly Karpov brings many talents and skills to the table, but his fight to unseat the popular Kirsan will need a lot of help from many corners in the world. Important will be the support of the Russian Chess Federation, which is expected to declare its intentions very soon. Important, equally, will be the help of the Kremlin politicians in gathering support for Karpov in the 3rd world.
Up to this stage in the election campaign, however, both sides have limited their actions to vaguely describing what they want FIDE to do once the election is over. Both sides have avoided any of the personal attacks that characterized the 2006 FIDE elections with Bessel Kok as Kirsan’s opponent. Neither side feels that a dirty campaign is to their advantage. However, sooner or later, it will be necessary for Karpov to be more direct and paint himself as a far superior candidate for the chess world today.
In the past couple of days Karpov’s team (?!) has released a sort of generic letter of intentions (given below in full). It reads like a sort of computer generated form letter that resembles more colourless spam than a serious appeal for support for his campaign. No where are the real issues mentioned. The reality of the division of the chess world into Europe and the Americas versus the 3rd world is not once addressed. Talk of the need for more professionalism, more commercialization and more transparency does not speak the same language as the majority of the chess world’s federations.
But I suspect that Karpov realizes that ,while the Russian Chess Federation ponders its historic decision, it is necessary to maintain a presence in the public so that we can be reminded that he is indeed serious about becoming the next president of FIDE. This press release, colourless and unsubstantial though it is, succeeds in this.
ANATOLY KARPOV FOR FIDE PRESIDENT
A CHAMPION OF CHANGE
Anatoly Karpov Launches Global Campaign for FIDE President
After a lifetime dedicated to playing and promoting the game of chess, 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov is running for the office of President of the International Chess Federation. Below are the main goals and themes of his campaign.
• A new direction requires new leadership
International chess needs a new direction and this can only happen under new leadership. Mr Karpov wants to lead a program of unity and positive change. His great experience as a chess champion and UNICEF Ambassador make him the ideal leader to return the sport to prominence on the global stage.
• International support at every level
Mr Karpov’s status and dedication will allow him to be an agent for unity in the chess world. He has already attracted support worldwide as well as a leadership team and advisory panel of unmatched experience and international character.
• Ending the crisis with a return to FIDE’s roots
Chess is in crisis today because FIDE has become disconnected from its foundations: the federations and the players. Mr Karpov believes that support for our new direction must come from below, to benefit the many, not from above to benefit the few.
• Turn chess into a modern, professional sport
Chess has great potential as a commercially viable sport. It has lagged in this development because the current FIDE administration has harmed the reputation of the sport and shown no interest or aptitude for modernization and professionalization. Mr Karpov believes chess requires leadership that understands why professionalization is essential and how to build a team to achieve it.
• The ability to unite and mobilize the community
Chess has limitless potential and great resources among its millions of supporters and players around the world. Mr Karpov has the unique capacity to attract and lead these human resources for the benefit of chess federations and players throughout the world.
GOALS FOR A NEW FIDE
• UNITY. The FIDE motto Gens Una Sumus, “We are one family” must be taken seriously. This can be done by providing channels of communication and community among federations and players using modern technology and by keeping the FIDE leadership’s doors wide open to feedback and new ideas. FIDE cannot afford to once again ignore the needs of its members the day after the election.
• TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY. Without these elements there is no trust from potential business partners or from member federations and players. These crucial relationships cannot be built without new leadership at the top in FIDE.
• RESPONSIVENESS. This campaign and Mr Karpov’s administration will emphasize communication and responsiveness with the global chess community we serve. We want to know what the federations and their members want and need from FIDE and to create a continuous and open dialogue.
• COMMERCIALIZATION AND SPONSORSHIP. Art, science, and sport, chess is also a hugely marketable commodity. FIDE’s current administration has failed to exploit this to the benefit of member federations and players. No one knows better than Mr Karpov the great potential for chess as a professional sport. For nearly three decades he battled for the world championship in many of the world’s great capitals. FIDE must professionalize its operations in order to develop mutually beneficial ties with commercial sponsors around the world.
• GRASSROOTS GROWTH AND CONNECTIVITY. The elite events we all enjoy cannot be sustained without growth and support from the grassroots in every corner of the globe. That worldwide involvement is our most precious resource and it has been squandered for too long by FIDE’s administration. The international federation’s resources should be put to work bringing member organizations and members together to better promote the game.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
• We have an ambitious agenda and we need your help to make it happen. Get involved! Individuals do not vote in the election, but you can make your voice heard to your federation to let them know why you think Anatoly Karpov should be the next FIDE President. Our official campaign website will launch in a few days and it is a great place to start:
o See the directory to get in touch with your federation.
o Contact our offices to share your thoughts on how we are doing and what you would like to see happen once Mr Karpov is President.
o We welcome your letters and support and encourage you to share our positive message as widely as you can with other players and organizers.
____________________________________________________________________________This following news item describes steps being taken by the current Kremlin leaders to fight against the estimated 300 billion dollar (a year) bribe-taking that has infected Russian society.
Medvedev Redefines Anti-Corruption Drive
15 April 2010
By Nikolaus von Twickel
President Dmitry Medvedev has refined his anti-corruption campaign by topping up his “National Plan Against Corruption”
with a new “National Strategy.”
Both are contained in a 4,500-word presidential decree published Wednesday. The strategy portion lays out a midterm government policy, while the plan is to be updated every two years, the Kremlin said in a statement published on its web site.“Analysis of the work of government and nongovernmental organizations … has shown two separate documents are necessary,”
the statement said.
The new strategy, key elements of which were announced last week by Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin, envisages harsher fines, greater public oversight of government budgets and sociological research.
Transparency International ranks Russia 146th out of 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index, saying bribe-taking is worth about $300 billion a year. Medvedev has made the fight against corruption a hallmark of his presidency since taking office in 2008.
Anti-corruption campaigners were divided over the benefits of Wednesday’s decree, with cautious praise coming fr om Transparency International. “This is good news because for the first time we have a road map of wh ere to go,” the organization’s country director for Russia, Yelena Panfilova, told The Moscow Times.
But Panfilova said the main deficiency was a widespread absence of public debate about how to tackle the problem.“Such a strategy should be the subject of public discussion, but instead it has been developed within the executive without much participation from society or the media,”
Anatoly Golubev, the head of the Committee to Fight Corruption , a grassroots organization, said civil control over bureaucrats had to be improved before things would get better. “There are just no mechanisms to control government decisions,”
Georgy Satarov, the president of the Indem think tank, said Wednesday’s decree probably reflected Medvedev’s frustration with the fact that the 2008 plan had yielded little result.“So he tried to change it into a more general document, but it is still not a real strategy because it contains insufficient analysis,”
The decree states that research into corruption should be stepped up. It also calls for measures to be adopted to meet the country’s obligations to the Group of States Against Corruption, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body.
Moscow joined the group in 2007 and must submit a compliance report to GRECO this summer.
A December 2008 report by the organization found that “corruption is a widespread systemic phenomenon in the Russian Federation.”
As president, Vladimir Putin had a six-member council to fight against corruption. The council has expanded to 24 members under Medvedev.
NEW POLGAR SECRET-PROJECT REVEALED!!
First came the computers in 1984. Now come the super-dogs!!
Meet Boogie Polgar. Just 2 years old (this past April 1), Boogie is going to make chess history becoming the the youngest grandmaster ever! It is rumoured that Boogie has played several training matches with Judit. The super-dog is the result of years of research and development. Read more on Susan Polgar’s popular website: http://www.susanpolgar.blogspot.com/
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS