SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
THE FIDE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?
The silence is unbearable! I know what you are going to say: ”It is summer! Karpov and Ilyumzhinov are on vacation…” But I think that is not entirely accurate. There is more to it than that…why has it disappeared from even the chess world news-reporting?
The Karpov website (http://www.karpov2010.org/
) has not had a fresh news item update since July 18 when it was announced that Karpov would bring in 4 million dollars of sponsorship should he be elected. The last Ilyumzhinov website (http://www.onefide.com/
) merely echoed that Karpov had announced the 4 million dollar sponsorship.
Ofcourse, if you dig a bit you will find that both Karpov and Ilyumzhinov are alive and well! Kirsan is at some FIDE congress at this moment. Karpov is planning to visit Argentina in August, invited by the government of Villa Martelli (reported today by chessbase-spanish edition). I think that some seminar in Angola is planned by Kasparov, Short and company. Not many countries from Africa are expected to attend.
But gone is the campaign momentum. Much of Karpov’s travels right now are just the usual type of visits that Karpov makes every year. Promotional, private and lucrative. In Argentina, for example, Karpov will be paid for his time. I have heard a nasty rumour that some of he simuls that Karpov has given in recent months were not entirely free…even Ilyumzhinov offered to pay for them after the election should Karpov and Kasparov want to continue to do them (!).
Whatever the truth (every election has its share of nasty rumours), it should be apparent to the reader who has followed the election campaign since it began that something is amiss here! Campaigns don’t disappear mid-stream. News no longer appears on either candidate’s site; vote counts have stopped; new supporters are not mentioned.
My interpretation of the observable facts is that both Karpov and Ilyumzhinov have made a truce. It was clear more than a month ago that Ilyumzhinov had already won the number of votes necessary to assure his re-election. And the margin was about to become even more lop-sided. Even Canada, which has curiously been sitting on the fence for months, would likely vote for Ilyumzhinov should it be needed. Karpov no doubt saw the futility of it all…
For the good of FIDE in 2006. Kok–as a compromise– was put in charge of a chess company fully funded by Kirsan and then quietly retreated from the public picture. Does the company even exist today?
Much as with the 2006 campaign versus Bessel Kok, a friendly solution was probably found: compromise and coming together for the good of FIDE. Karpov will likely not be so willing to disappear from the scene after the September elections in Siberia as was Kok, however, as he will have real chances for a successful campaign in 2014 should he do some much needed housecleaning within his own campaign team.
It rests to see how things play out in the coming weeks. Will there be any surprises, or will things fizzle out like warm beer….
Prague 2002. Only Ilyumzhinov (centre) has reason to smile today
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS