Why Makropoulos lost the FIDE election
Fortunately, Europe is NOT the world
When acting FIDE president Georgios Makropoulos wrote to me in May of this year, it was abundantly clear that Makro, as he is affectionately called, had little patience with opinions from the chess community that did not coincide with his own.
During the previous year Makro had tried to consolidate his absolute control over FIDE by eliminating opposition and surrounding himself with like-minded officials. He even went as far as to refuse to publish on the FIDE website news of any legitimate opposition or genuine concerns about the path he had selected.
Africa was denied monies due to it because it openly supported Kirsan; long time FIDE bureauocrats, such as Willy Iclicki, were immediately facing the Ethics Committee for not conforming. Africa’s Lewis Ncube, another non-conformist, had his reputation smeared for having accepted FIDE money several years before. Kirsan himself was ostracized and brought before the Ethics Committee for criticizing Makro.
Any and all opposition to Makro’s vision for the future of FIDE was systematically being crushed. The moment Makro officially decided to run for the presidency, he demanded all of the member federations to provide FaceBook, Twitter and other social media accounts of its elected officials and prominent members.
Where was Makro’s powerbase?
Europe was the only region in the world that was willing to submit to Makro’s dictates. Aided by the European Chess Union’s (ECU) controversial president, Azmaiparashvili.
I am not sure how to explain it, but perhaps it is Europe’s sharp turning to the extreme right in recent years that has lead to the rise of so much undemocratic behaviour within its chess community.
Not surprisingly, Azmaiparashvili was reappointed ECU president in 2018, no other candidate with the courage to oppose him. England’s Malcolm Pein, a hardcore russophobe, convinced the English Chess Federation (ECF) that Nigel Short’s platform was too similar to the Russian candidate’s ideas, Dvorkovich, who in the meantime was also brought before the Ethics Committee on Makro’s initiative, but lauded approvingly by Pein.
Fortunately, this last act of madness was too much even for a committee of Makro sychofants…
Why Dvorkovich won so comfortably
Having followed these FIDE elections for such a large part of my adult life, I feel that I have become something of an expert on the pulse of the chess community. At least when it comes to what kind of politics it wants at the FIDE leadership level.
My position as one of the chess world’s leading blogs indirectly provides me with insider information and allows for a more accurate analysis when trying to predict election outcomes. Besides, while elections might be an emotional issue for those who vote, usually the winner can be picked purely based on objective reasoning.
In essence, chess players – when faced with several choices – try to make the most responsible decision.
FIDE needed a facelift in 2018. The Kirsan era was being buried. Dvorkovich appeared on a white horse and promised to save the day. Makro’s attempts at distancing himself from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had failed terribly. You can not teach an old dog new tricks…
Makro and company tried to bluff their way to victory in the social media, confidently predicting a first round win as little as a day before the October 3 vote. Did Makro really believe it? No, I don’t think so. Perhaps he was under the impression that more federation delegates that he had spoken to were going to support him than actually did vote for him, but I do not believe that Makro was excessively confident of his ultimate victory.
As long ago as July it was already clear to me that Dvorkovich would win on the first vote. Curiously, the side that wins Europe almost always loses the election. It was an easy decision for non-European delegates, despite the final official tally of 103 to 78.
A moral here? Let’s hope so! In any case, the chess world is a LOT bigger than Europe, something that some Europeans have yet to come to accept.