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Hey, Chess!

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With dubious location and years of shenanigans left behind, actual chess was played in Tripoli, Libya this weekend. The Israeli federation isn't going quietly and the noise is percolating around after being covered by AP last week. From today's UK Telegraph story:

"The exclusion of Israel is a severe embarrassment to Fide, whose motto is Gens una sumus - We are all one people. Mohammed Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, only landed the contest for his country after promising that Israeli players would be allowed in to play. Last month he went back on his pledge, however, describing the Israelis as "the Zionist enemy"."

Not that FIDE has shown any embarrassment or accepted any fault at all for the Israelis and the many, mostly Americans, sympathetic to them being absent. Speaking of embarrassment, the NY Times has a piece on Kalmykia today. We've become so used to how bizarre the place and its leader are that it's good to see it from an outsider's view.

"What is left - both inside and outside Chess City - belongs to President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the republic's whimsical strongman and, in a forking move, the respected leader of the World Chess Federation, known as FIDE, for its acronym in French."

"Whimsical strongman" is cute, but I'm not sure where he comes up with "respected." Ilyumzhinov has a sincere passion for chess, and I think FIDE is still necessary in some way, but King Kong had a sincere passion for Fay Wray.


Speaking of embarrassment, is that piece in the NY Times really credible? "Kalmykia, a remote region on the northwest coast of the Caspian Sea, has few natural resources", it says.

But just a minute, isnīt that area sodden with crude oil? Doesnīt Kalmykia have sizeable oil reserves? OK, not like the top producers, but even a modest 100k barrels a day will net you over $1Bn a year these days.

This is interesting. This is the first I've actually seen of the Libya farce being reported in the mainsteam (i.e. non-Chess world) press; you would have thought that with Libya supposedly turning over a new leaf and still on the Axis of Evil etc., the whole thing would be of interest to non-players. Especially with all the Israeli nonsense too.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 20, 2004 11:18 PM.

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