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Chain Reaction

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Vladimir Putin's latest power grab will do away with the direct election of local governors and presidents in the far-flung Russian republics. Although not mentioned in any of the reports I can find, that should include Kalmykia, where FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov rules. The Kremlin's move means Ilyumzhinov will, come next election, be serving at the whim of Moscow. Putin backed Ilyumzhinov's opponent last time around (third item). Next time Putin will essentially pick the candidates, if I understand the early descriptions of the changes.

Ilyumzhinov has proven a canny operator and a survivor, and the next elections there are far off. He might even steal enough money to stay in charge of FIDE after losing in Kalmykia. Still, it's fun to fantasize about restoring the game under a beneficent administration. My big three: 1) A return to classical chess. 2) A more dynamic rating system. 3) A rigorous world championship system.


One thing I am curious about though, in terms of Kasparov's politics, maybe someone can clarify. What is his relationship with Ilyumzhinov? It seems to me that Ilyumzhinov has a questionable human rights record, for one thing, and I don't know if I like to think of Kasparov as having a good friendship with him. Comments? Even if they have no close relationship, I am disappointed that Kasparov had an agreement to play the winner of the FIDE tournament in Tripoli when that tournament discriminated against Jews (not to mention the top rated players). Doesn't that disappoint you? I don't mean to say that I'm not happy for Kasimdzhanov's success in Tripoli, but I am very gravely concerned about Ilyumzhinov's relationship to the professional chess world and I don't see how grandmasters, in good conscience, can go on tolerating this state of affairs. Do you? I think that Kasparov's political views seem to be reflective and deep, but I am afraid this equanimity of mind doesn't appear to be reflected in his chess dealings. I'm glad Kasparov is standing up to Putin though, and I imagine Kasparov would make an excellent president of Russia, if it could come to that.

Kasparov and Ilyumzhinov aren't friends. They each have something the other wants, or at least they each believe the other can help them achieve something they want.

What GMs should or should not tolerate is oft-discussed, but they are individuals not a bloc. You are asking Kasparov, and everyone else I assume, to boycott FIDE and all FIDE events because of the Tripoli scandal with the Israeli players. While I agree it was abhorrent, that's a tall request to make of people trying to make a living. There is so much shady dealing in chess that taking the moral high ground on every issue would leave you playing checkers in a hurry. It's one thing for you or I to criticize, we have that luxury (although I've certainly lost work due to my big mouth).

Mig, although boycotting the FIDE may be a good idea, it would not be merely on the basis of the Tripoli scandal but on the presumption that Ilyumzhinov is guilty of aiding the FIDE at the expense of his own people, and perhaps worse crimes against his own people, Kalmykians, some of whom have been hungerstriking in protest of what they contend are Ilyumzhinov's dictatorial tendencies. So, no, first of all, I'm not calling for the boycott of the FIDE necessarily, but perhaps I am calling for grandmasters to conduct a serious investigation into the practices of Ilyumzhinov and perhaps to recall him, if possible. I don't know what legal resorts there may be for FIDE members, but the situation seems to be wrong, so very wrong and bad for chess, very bad for chess.

Separately, though, Mig, I am making the point that while Kasparov is rightly condemning Russian antisemitism and discrimination against other minorities on the one hand, he has been conspicuously silent, as far as I can tell, about Libyan antisemitism just now carried out against Jewish grandmasters and it's a shame, for example, to see a great figure like Gulko continuing to endure such humiliation as he has struggled against much of his life. Hopefully I'm wrong and Kasparov has been speaking out against this?

Damn it.

But thanks for responding, thanks very much for responding. I deeply appreciate your comments.

Kasparov is a self serving individual who will do anything to achieve what he wants be it in politics or chess. All his concern about the welfare of russia and chess world is just a charade and not worth taking seriously at all.

[By the way, "Bill Oswald", "Steve Randalf", "FischerFan", "HoneyForThe bear", "BlahBlah", "Jay Cutler", all the same person, stop spamming the comments. Pick a name, own your thoughts and be a person.]

Eh? When did Kasparov kill your dog? Exactly where does confronting Putin come in? Kasparov's pro-democracy / liberal reform track record goes back a long way. While I generally believe most people are self-serving (Darwin, maybe you've heard of him), calling a track of over 15 years a charade is bizarre. At what point does a consistent position go from a charade to the real thing? 20 years minimum? 40?

As for the chess world, Kasparov is simply tired of being a lightning rod. Everyone who complains when he doesn't speak out complains more when he does. He's learned to work more behind the scenes and to be less involved overall, which I think is sad.

Then again, you can always moderate your message board.

I do. I deleted most of the twit's posts and banned the IP. Several of them moved too far into hate speech, or trolling. In general I'd rather not; free speech and all that.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 13, 2004 3:50 PM.

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