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Campaign Season

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Bessel Kok's campaign for the FIDE presidency is on in earnest. At the least the website for it is. There is no doubt that Kok is something of a dream candidate for all of us who have been hoping for someone with the business and corporate sponsorship chops to move FIDE into the 20th century, even if it's already the 21st. He has a long history of good works in chess. Supporters include respected Dutch GMs Timman and Sosonko as well as Holland-based American GM Yasser Seirawan, who garnered a great deal of support for his efforts behind the 2002 Prague agreements. (Many had expected and/or hoped to see a Seirawan candidacy.)

As for me, I've been co-opted, if only as as a photographer. I recognized the pic of Bessel they're using as one I took on the terrace of the Zofin Palace during the Prague Eurotel tournament in 2002. Well, I'm a supporter anyway and I hereby donate that pic. I know, I know, such generosity. It's nice that Kok and Yazici are presenting themselves as a real ticket and team with complementary strengths. It speaks of openness instead of what we have now, which is waiting in fear to see what rolls down from Elista. Half of Ilyumzhinov's ideas first float out in bizarre magazine interviews and are turned into law by little more than decree.

I've developed grudging admiration for Ilyumzhinov's ability to wrangle money from the most outlandish locations. Sure, most of them have been out of the way or sponsored by dubious regimes, but at least some of the money has ended up in chessplayers' pockets. But political sponsorship is an unpredictable mess and the sheer opacity of it keeps commercial sponsorship away.


Great Blog Here!!
I think that the Fide mess could be solved at least some-what by a regime change!

I don't really think that Kok and Yazici have a chance. They are just too good to be true.

Well, perhaps I woke up in a bad mood today.

Look at Fide's website now. Five illustrations portrait people. Four of them portrait Ilyumzhinov. Stalin and Mao must be jealous.

Look at Fide's website now. Five illustrations portrait people. Four of them portrait Ilyumzhinov. Stalin and Mao must be jealous.

Here's their mission statement!
Hope they win!!

A FIDE for the 21stcentury


To recreate FIDE as a leading quality sports federation offering as well managed transparent infrastructure, which serves professional as amateur players alike with integrity and respect.

To have open and transparent communication with all national federations, players, sponsors and advertisers.

To raise the stature of chess worldwide.


To overhaul FIDE’s outdated business model;

To secure financial support on a medium and long term basis with commercial sponsors;

To achieve consistent, long-term success in the game through player development at every level, with particular focus on chess in schools;

To actively support the continued development of chess through the internet as a broadcast medium and instructional platform;

To create an independent advisory body of professional people who can contribute to the continuous development of chess;

To work with the International Olympic Committee and other National Sports Associations in the promotion of chess a leading international sport

"They are just too good to be true."

Indeed, and if these guys can't win, it will show that selfinterest currently trumps will to serve chess among the FIDE delegates. But hey, that's democracy. I hope there will be an intense debate prior to the election that may help to strengthen the view among the FIDE delegates that fundamental changes in FIDE attitude and approach are needed and desirable.

The Praque agreement assigned Bessel Kok the following task:

"The professional chess world requires a professional management body to be constituted on the basis of a business plan, which will be submitted by Bessel Kok and to be discussed and agreed with the World Chess Foundation and the FIDE Presidential Board within 90 business days after May 6, 2002."

Has Kok published an account of how the Prague agreement fizzled out?

Mig, just what IS Seirawan doing these days? Or is that confidential?

Unfortunately, "regime changes" are very few among sport federations. Most of the time, the "electors" (i.e national federations' representative) are tied up in clientilistic relationships with the "ruler". The only difference is (optimistically) that other sports' dictatorships at least know how to make a buck, and that the present team's commercial incompetence is proverbial...

Is there a site the explains the relationship of USCF and FIDE? How important is FIDE? What are the top things they are responsible for (getting money for big events, etc)? I keep reading some subtle things about FIDE, are they really as corrupt as the UN?

Whaaa Hooo.

Where do I vote.

Bessel Kok. YOU are da MAN.

Chess has been in a total state of CHAOS ever since I got into chess back in 1972. Drawn there by Bobby Fischer. what a time that was.

I was being introduced to chess by a really good chess player down at work. He lamented that chess was having its problems or else he might be doing it full time. but he figured it might be a few years until the uscf and fide got its act together. until then he was holding down a job hoping for the best.

Last time I saw him he was still working at a job.

Oh well Chess never said it would support anyone.

Go Bessel. I support you. at least you have my one vote. well maybe they dont allow me to vote. but you have me anyway.

33 years and I am still hoping that chess will get its act together. I guess I could be rich betting against chess getting its act together in each of those 33 years. and somehow. I would have to put my money on continued CHAOS in 2006. but glad I am not a betting man.

I am also a Chicago Cubs fan all my life. but dont worry they told me in 1948, next year they will win the pennant. haha. Somehow the cubs fans keep thinking next year is the year.

but I know next year is the year for CHESS.


...for a bona FIDE

Nice slogan. Here's hoping.

Frank N Stein,

The US Chess Federation exists as an independent organization, responsible for promoting chess in the US.

It is also the national federation associated with FIDE (that is, authorized to send US representatives to international events sanctioned by FIDE).

In addition to the World Championship and the World Cup, FIDE authorizes dozens of international events, including all the junior world championships (under 12, under 14, etc) and the Olympiad, a team event held every two years.

Perhpas just as importantly, FIDE grants the international titles such as IM (International Master) and GM (International Grandmaster), which can only be earned based on performance in FIDE-sanctioned events.

(Note that like the NCAA in the US, FIDE doesn't generally hold its own events. It sanctions the events held by others. So its influence can be very far reaching.)

So--how important is it? Not important at all if you're an average club player in the US who doesn't follow international events and is only concerned about improving your own USCF rating from, say, 1400 to 1601.

Not important at all if you're a casual internet player who doesn't follow international events and plays chess at Yahoo or one of the other servers.

Vitally important if you're a top 5% player who wants to play in international events and earn an international title.

And consequently vitally important to the fans of those players.

There is one exception to the above: If you are a world class player (top 1/10th of a percent) who already has an international title, such as GM Kramnik or GM Kasparov, then FIDE may not make much difference to you. You'll still get invited to private events, you'll still get individual sponsors.

So FIDE's biggest impact is on the players between, say, #11 and #499 in the world--and all the fans of chess of that caliber.

Hope that helps,

BTW, has Ilyumzhinov's latest "bizarre magazine interview" already been translated into English?

What do you think about his idea that any candidate for the FIDE presidency should pay 200.000$ to FIDE if he loses and 1.000.000$ if he wins?

Compared to a long list of lies and misinformation he made in the interview (it is available on web site of "64", also), this proposition looks just very solid one.

Compared to a long list of lies and misinformation he made in the interview (it is available on web site of "64", also), this proposition looks just very solid one.

He could also create an eBay auction for the elections ;-)

Ilyumzhinov is a psycho. The ridiculous $200k ploy is merely his latest bid for entrenching his plutocratic grip on FIDE.


the point Ilyumzinov is trying to make:

"I'm here and ready to put my money where my mouth is. Are Kok and Karpov willing to do the same?"

I'm not surprised that Mig and ChessBase, as true Kok supporters, are not publishing this interview.

But the point should be that a great president for FIDE should not necessarily have to be wealthy.

Anyhow, Kok doesn't have a chance as long as other competitors stay in the ring. Karpov should drop out and throw his support to Kok. IMO even then Ilyumzhinov will win simply due to his ownership of most of the delegates.

If we wanted to help Kok we would have Ilyumzhinov's interview published worldwide. It's a collection of the most bizarre gibberish I've ever seen from him. So now the millionaire thinks the FIDE presidency should be directly for sale, what a surprise. He goes on to say that this is the way things work in politics. No, it's the way they work in HIS corrupt world. He's used to buying his presidency of Kalmykia and has continued that policy in FIDE. Now he wants to institutionalize it. I'm sure the IOC would just love to see a recognized body put its leadership up for sale. It may not even be legal. It is certainly despotic and ludicrous.

So Giannis, how rich should you have to be to help chess? What price tag do you put on the FIDE presidency? How much for, say, treasurer? Then of course the national federations should also sell their top posts, following the same silly "money where your mouth is" logic of everything being for sale.

I'm sure the interview will be up at ChessBase if and when we get a full translation of it. I only have small bits, some of them read to me over the phone by an astounded Kasparov. (Ilyumzhinov also recounts a goofy fantasy about a conversation with Putin about Garry.) Kok would do well to have the entire thing put up verbatim on his campaign website, as with most of Ilyumzhinov's statements, not to mention his record.

It would go something like "cut time controls, ruined world championship, drove away corporate sponsors, held FIDE events where members were not welcome, brought in various thugs with things like FIDE Commerce, etc." On the other side there would be "cash." So how loud does money talk? Is his money, and Khadaffi's, better than that which corporate sponsorship can bring in, that has been brought in in the past by Bessel Kok, just for example?

Just for the record.

On March 2002, Yasser Seirawan wrote the following:

The grandmaster association (gma) could not have occurred without the financial assistance and highly skilled efforts of bessel kok. While i don't know all the costs that he paid from 1987-1991/2 i suspect the figure was above $500,000 usd. Neither would i be terribly surprised if this figure is actually above one million usd! In my own particular case, i think that i attended 7 gma directors meetings and at least two annual meetings. Bessel paid all my travel, hotel, meal expenses as well as those of all the other directors and the many advisors who came to the gma meetings to help us organize ourselves.



Iliumzinov never said that the FIDE Presidency is "for sale".

Instead, he suggests a kind of deposit-guarantee for each candidate of 1,000,000 USD. If a candidate loses he receives back 800,000, if he wins all the amount goes to FIDE. By this way, all candidacies would be serious and not a cheap way to gain some publicity. So, where do you see the sale? Where do you see the bid auction? And where do you see anything "illegal"?

You also talk about "Kirsan's corrupt world". Yeah right. Look how pure and innocent is the election system in all the Western countries (and mainly the US). You cannot even run in the national elections if you don't throw hundreds of millions or if you are not bought beforehand by your "sponsors".

So, not everything is black and white.

And since you ask my opinion, the FIDE Presidency is worth much more than 1 million. My price tag would be 3 million and every other position on the board half a million. This way we will all be assured that the candidates will be in FIDE to bring money and not make money.

My piece of advice: Stop losing your time with the Kok and Karpov candidacies. Their chances of winning the FIDE elections are the same as yours or mine: ZERO. As I have said in previous posts, Iliumzinov's team has already secured 100-105 votes out of the maximum of 150.

And my last guess: Kok and Yazici will dismandle their ticket long before the elections in June. I could even bet for this!

"That way we will be assured that candidates will be in FIDE to bring money, and not make money."

As we have seen from Enron and other corporate scandals, already having millions doesn't mean a guy is necessarily opposed to scamming a few more.

Some millionaires are ethical. Some are not. Some paupers are ethical. Some are not. Having great wealth is no guarantee of character.

The other lesson of democracies is that when candidacy for office is dependent on property, the viewpoints of the less wealthy are not included in decision-making.

One of the arguments for the existence of the ACP was that it had become difficult for organizers and FIDE to understand the needs of professional players to whom $1,000 was a lot of money.


Where do you get such detailed inside information about the delegates and their loyalties, Giannis?

I still don't understand why you think the FIDE presidency should be bought and sold, or why this highest-bidder mentality would be good for the organization or for chess. Asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or a million if you win, is selling something, the right to run or serve. Why should a good candidate have to be filthy rich? How does possessing a personal fortune qualify someone? It obviously doesn't qualify Ilyumzhinov. He's the perfect counter-example of his own proposal.

There simply shouldn't be any (legal) relationship between one's personal fortune and ability to run for election or take any job. I can see this logic in action everywhere: "Well, if you are serious about working here at Starbucks, you won't mind putting up a deposit of ten thousand dollars..." Or perhaps there should be a fee to post comments here, since money means so much. Would the ability to pay, say, $100 per comment make that person's comments about chess more insightful?


Where did you see the "highest bidder mentality" in my post? Are you replying to my post or someone else's?

In my opinion EVERY candidate should deposit a guarantee of 3,000,000 USD in order to run for FIDE President. So there is no "highest bidder mentality", at least in my post, since EVERYONE would pay the same guarantee. And, I repeat, by this way all candidatures would be serious and not just a cheap way of getting some publicity.

To your question of "why should a candidate be filthy rich" I counter it with why should anyone be able to get so much free publicity for nothing? What would happen if we co-ordinate through the internet 10,000 candidatures for the FIDE elections? How are we protecting the system from silly candidates who just want to see their name appear on the headlines?

And since you are asking, again, this practice is already standard in some industries. For example, you can never work for a serious hedge fund as a senior if you don't commit yourself with several hundred thousands of your own.

So, anyone can continue pretending that everything is black or white. Well it isn't. Like it or not, in today's world, money talks b****t walks...

PS: No special inside information for me. It just happens that I have many friends involved with chess politics. From both sides! ;-)

Mig, I went to the Bessel Kok site and applied for a user name and password, but heard nothing back. Do you know whether anyone ( you, for instance ) has been successful?

Publicity for what? If you have nothing to say you don't deserve publicity and if you have something to say you shouldn't have to be rich to say it. Anyone able of getting the nomination of their federation should be able to run.

You are still saying that you have to be rich to help run a chess federation, which makes no sense. Ilyumzhinov just puts up a number he can afford, or, more likely, pretend, to pay. Again, why should you have to pay $100 to post here? Is your opinion worth less if you are not rich? Do you know less about chess? Why should have to support your opinions by throwing money away, here or at FIDE? There is simply no connection and there is no reason to invent one.

This practice is not standard in any industry. Investing your own money with expectation of return is not purchasing an election. And since when is running for the FIDE presidency an industry? It's an election, signatures on petitions are the devices of democracy. We know money is required to win elections anywhere, but setting it out as a barrier to participation is ridiculous. If you have to pay to run, how much should you have to pay to vote?

No Nick, I haven't heard anything about the password thing. I hadn't tried to sign up until now. They may not have issued any content yet.

I could be completely wrong, but my impression was that the password site would be limited to FIDE delegates, candidates, and federation and FIDE officers. That is, those actually involved in the election. Or am I mistaken?

By the way, I don't believe you can "coordinate through the Internet" candidates for FIDE elections.

FIDE as an organization operates much like the International Olympic Committee. Its members are the country federations, NOT individual players. One cannot purchase an individual FIDE membership as one does a membership in a country federation.

Consequently candidates must have the backing of a FIDE member federation. This significantly limits the number of potential candidates.


Nice thinking Giannis! But keep it yourself. Is your national federation Prez. is also wealthy and corrupt like Kirsan. If you are still living in the dark ages, wake up.

"Has Kok published an account of how the Prague agreement fizzled out?"

We really need another account?

BTW, the statement I read does not ask for an account to be published, but for a business plan to be submitted to the two organizations.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 2, 2005 1:49 AM.

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