“She put her cup down and sighed again with pleasure. “I can’t think how the Nonconformists have failed to discover coffee.”“Discover it?”
“Yes. As a snare. It does far more for one than drink. And yet no one preaches about it, or signs pledges about it. Five mouthfuls and the world looks rosy.”
Earlier today died one of my childhood icons, Shirley Temple, at age 85. To be honest, it was as much a shock to learn that she was already in her mid-eighties as to learn that she had died! To me, and millions of my generation, Shirley Temple will always be remembered as the cute little girl with real star-presence.
April 23, 1928 – February 11, 2014.
In adult life Temple became actively involved in politics, serving as ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1976-1977. RIP.
FIDE ELECTIONS 2014:
LESSONS GONE UNLEARNED
August of this year will see a FIDE presidential election. Despite the fact that every four (4) years this traditional democratic process repeats itself, many have lost faith in FIDE’s vision of democracy. Born in Paris, 1924, critics point out that FIDE has become just one more cumbersome and lethargic burocracy. To present, only six (6) Presidents have been elected:
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov , though it is not yet official, is expected to run for re-election and thus extend his 19-year term of office. His opponent is former world champion Garry Kasparov. If Kirsan wins–and most believe this is very likely, if not a certainty–then his reign will beat out Folke Rogard’s 21 year term of office.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is a charismatic billionaire with VERY deep pockets and–despite one or two eccentricities– enjoys unprecedented and widespread popularity in the chessworld, somehow always managing to keep his head above the, at-times, more scandalous behaviours of his subordinates in the FIDE executive. In the 2006 election Kirsan won easily by a score of 96-54 against Europe’s Bessel Kok.
In 2010 he won by virtually the same score: 95-55, this time easily crushing the high-profile team of Karpov and Kasparov
Yet there continues a prevailing feeling that all is not right in FIDE. Despite Kirsan being able to successfully stablize the world championship chaos that he inherited in 1995; despite the phenomenal growth in School Chess; despite the amazing strides made in female chess. Many feel that FIDE is too heavily dominated by the developing world (previously known as the 3rd world), a perception that is perhaps unfairly aggravated by the fact that in recent times each of Kirsan’s presidential opponents has been a European.
Late last year Garry Kasparov managed to get serious sponsorship for a 2014 election bid against Kirsan and is now in full campaign. His strategy this time around appears to be based on marketing himself to the developing world as an alternative to Kirsan. To this end Garry has been on the road virtually non-stop, visiting the Philippines, Korea,India, etc. trying to turn some of Kirsan’s traditional votes in his favour. Kasparov needs to swing atleast 20 votes away from Kirsan inorder to have a chance to be elected.
HOWEVER, this course can be a double-edged sword and it is not surprising when some negative and embarrassing publicity was generated when leaks of a contract involving a controvertial figure, Ignatius Leong, were made known:
This was later challenged by Kasparov (LINK) when he voluntarily disclosed the entire contract, arguing that no money was meant to change hands; instead the money will be controlled by competent organizations , legally requiring transparency and accountability.
Vote-buying or just good old-fashion lobbying? It remains to be seen if this is the end of the matter; exchanging votes for hundreds of thousands of dollars of support –whether done legally or not–has more often been a criticism made by opponents of the FIDE president.
It was not long before Kasparov got some measure of revenge when he threw a wrench into Kirsan’s camp. Garry’s election campaign team allegedly misappropriated a potentially damaging document from Andrew Paulson’s office.
”Dear Mr. Spraggett, The document you have posted today on your blog was stolen from my office by an employee who took a job working for the Kasparov Campaign and ‘gave’ it to Garry Kasparov who gave it to Nigel Short who leaked it to the Sunday Times.”
The FIDE president–at the same time– fired back thru the FIDE website a vigorous denial of the stolen memorandum, stating–essentially–that the Kasparov campaign had stolen the WRONG document! That the document in question was just a proposal that had never got off the drawing board…EMBARRASSED, Kasparov tried to make some political mileage of the use of the FIDE website:
”These actions taken against my campaign using FIDE resources are little more than theft from the organization and the federations it represents”–Kasparov from his website. Curiously, this sounds a lot like the pot calling the kettle black! The memorandum was stolen, let’s not forget!
Finally, just the other day, Andrew Paulson found himself at the centre of attention in another article in the NYTimes. It amazes me how he is able to so easily deflect circumstances that should be damaging, if not embarrassing, and come out looking good:
“One man’s conflict of interest is another man’s alignment of interest,” he wrote in an email. “If I was going to put a lot of my money into such a speculative venture I wanted to be reassured I wasn’t going to get sheared.”–Paulson , quoted in the NYTimes
It looks to me as though Kasparov is lagging 0-2 with respect to the recent leaks. First, he has not escaped entirely from the revelations involving Ignatius Leong, and secondly, the stolen memorandum is NOT the damaging document that it was hoped to be. Kirsan might simply be able to point to the leaks as evidence of a dirty and increasingly desperate Kasparov campaign. Kasparov might want to portray the leaked memorandum as evidence of conflict of interest. But we live in a cynical world where there is NOTHING unusual about politicians doing such things!