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Election Handicapping

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Just tossing up a quick FIDE presidential election item for you pundits before bailing out for a bit. Kirsan's side is claiming over 80 votes but word in the back rooms of Turin say it's not out of the question a Dutch surprise is on tap...


I am in Turin and have been speaking to several of those in the know. I will be amazed if Ilyumzhinov gets les than 90 votes and I believe that 100 is not at all out of the question.

David Levy
Posted by: David Levy at June 1, 2006 07:47

Sure, David. Nice piece of propaganda for Kirsan.

Word around Turin is that Bessel will win - Mig's sources are right.
Posted by: gg at June 1, 2006 07:58

If only the Confederacy had won the civil war! Mid-North America might have had two votes for Kok instead of one. Maybe, for the purposes of the FIDE election and for one day only, the U.S. could break into fifty nations, getting fifty Kok votes.
Posted by: greg koster at June 1, 2006 08:02

What is it with Levy and Kirsan? You don't get many westerners supporting murderous dictator fantasists: how come Levy does? Something to do with Kok and Keene once having done business together?
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 08:04

Since when does a sense of reality count as support?
Posted by: Linux fan at June 1, 2006 08:20

Levy's been posting ludicrous pro-Ilyumzhinov propagnada all over the net. Try chessbase.com for a start.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 08:24

I have not made any statements supporting either candidate. I simply report what I perceive to be the case. Remember - I know what it is like to be on the losing side of a FIDE election campaign, having been in that position twice. Optimism abounds. Realism comes when the votes are counted.

David Levy
Posted by: David Levy at June 1, 2006 08:28

Dear Mr. Levy,

Sorry to pollute this forum with journalistic grovelling, but I'm on a tight deadline (90 minutes) to file a preview of the FIDE election for my newspaper, The Moscow Times, and was wondering if I could get a few comments from you on what the feeling is in Turin right now. If you have time for a short telephone interview, could you email me your contact telephone so I could give you a call? Or, if you'd prefer to call me, my contacts are listed below.


Carl Schreck
Staff Writer
The Moscow Times
Tel: 7-495-234-3223
Mob.: 7-915-167-1462
Email: schreck@imedia.ru
Posted by: Carl Schreck at June 1, 2006 08:39

rdh: I've been reading Levy, and reading just about everything on the web on the elections, plus I've got some friends 'close to the fire'.
I love optimism, but when you're working on a project, let's say Kok running for President, you got to have a clear view on relationships, personal interests and stuff.
I have the feeling that Kok's team will be unpleasantly surprised when they see the results, and this means they are not doing it right, not being objective. Just like their supporters.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 1, 2006 08:39

Dear Mr. Levy,

Sorry to pollute this forum with journalistic grovelling, but I'm on a tight deadline (90 minutes) to file a preview of the FIDE election for my newspaper, The Moscow Times, and was wondering if I could get a few comments from you on what the feeling is in Turin right now. If you have time for a short telephone interview, could you email me your contact telephone so I could give you a call? Or, if you'd prefer to call me, my contacts are listed below.


Carl Schreck
Staff Writer
The Moscow Times
Tel: 7-495-234-3223
Mob.: 7-915-167-1462
Email: schreck@imedia.ru
Posted by: carl Schreck at June 1, 2006 08:40

rdh: I've been reading Levy, and reading just about everything on the web on the elections, plus I've got some friends 'close to the fire'.
I love optimism, but when you're working on a project, let's say Kok running for President, you got to have a clear view on relationships, personal interests and stuff.
I have the feeling that Kok's team will be unpleasantly surprised when they see the voting results, and this means they are not doing it right, not being objective. Just like their supporters.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 1, 2006 08:40

From my east-european point of view it is quite obvious that Kirsan will win. Its depressing but its true.
Posted by: marc at June 1, 2006 08:44

I have personally lost tremendous respect for David Levy for his comments on the election.

I have personally lost total respect for Beatrice Marinello for her comments on the election.

They have brought to my mind thoughts of Judas and Benedict Arnold.
Posted by: tommy at June 1, 2006 08:48

yeah, I'm from east-eu as well...
Posted by: Linux fan at June 1, 2006 08:50


Do you lose respect for everyone who tells it as they believe it to be? Or only for those whose perception does not accord with what you would like to be the case?

We all have to live in the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.

David Levy
Posted by: David Levy at June 1, 2006 08:53

I don't understand the vitriolic nature of a lot of these comments. I expect that from Tommy, because he's always infantile. However, it is evident at this point that while you and I may or may not support Bessel Kok, there is enough disagreement on the subject that it seems unlikely that it is impossible for reasonable people to disagree.

After all, the top GM's seem to be relatively evenly split themselves.

Just a thought.
Posted by: gmc at June 1, 2006 08:54

In reply to David Levy: well if you're rooting for Kok you've got a strange way of showing it.

Elections are like Heisenberg. Commenting on them and 'calling it the way you see it' IS propaganda, depending on exactly how you see it, of course.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 08:55

ARE the top GMs evenly split? I thought they were pretty solidly for Kok except Topalov, whose motives need no comment.

So why do the eastern Europeans support Ilyum. I'd have thought there'd been a bit of a reaction against one-party maniacs over there. Or is it just better-our-crook than-your-crook?
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 08:58

rdh: don't forget that it's not the people who are voting, it's the delegates :)
They don't go around reading comments by anyone, they are most likely getting paid for voting the way they do.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 1, 2006 08:59

Levy: "We all have to live in the world as it is, not as we would like it to be."

Hence the need for change, David.
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 09:06

Sure, no doubt many of them are being paid by the lovely KI. But if it's anything like any election I've ever been involved in, there will be those sitting on the fence and trying to guess the winner.

Having said that, I'm sure you're quite right and this one is NOT like any election I've ever been involved in.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 09:17

I think it is an exaggeration to say that the top GMs are "pretty solidly for Kok except Topalov." In any event, I doubt that a consensus of top GMs, whatever it may be, has much to do with how the FIDE delegates will vote. The top GMs also wanted a longer time control at the Turin Olympiad, and they didn't get it.

I don't think it makes David Levy a traitor when he states an honest opinion about who will win. There were plenty of people who were rooting for George McGovern in 1972, but had enough sense to acknowledge that it wasn't going to happen.

By the way, I also think Kirsan will win, much as it pains me to say so.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 1, 2006 09:24

If Levy has indeed made comments that support Kirsan's ticket, as opposed to merely projecting a Kirsan victory, can someone supply the links to the relevant commentary?

And unless Levy is working for one ticket or the other, there is NO reason for him to 'spin' things one way or another. He _should_ call it like he sees it, especially since he has experience and probably information that most aren't privy to.

Personally, I hope Kok wins, but I'm not holding my breathe. Has there been a groundswell of support for Kok amongst Third World federations?
Posted by: Icepick at June 1, 2006 09:25

Kok supporters, read this and weep: http://www.chessfidelity.com/elections.php?txt_id=229

It's interesting that the Right Move campaign still lists Palestine as supporting Kok. Wasn't the Right Move campain quick to blast FIDE for listing a few federations erroneously? Ah, hypocrisy at its best.

Long live Kirsan.

Posted by: Leto at June 1, 2006 09:35

And here's more: http://www.chessfidelity.com/elections.php?txt_id=232
Posted by: Leto at June 1, 2006 09:46

It's pretty sad that a person is attacked for stating an honest opinion, which is all that David Levy has done.

In any case, most of those people showing hatred for Kirsan (call him by first name ONLY because it is easier to write than his last name) are just exhibiting a mob mentality. It is fashionable among patzers to feel that hating Kirsan is cool or even good. GM's and IM's - the people with the most at stake - are not so agitated. Isn't it funny?

In any case, who cares, really? It's not like kok or anyone else, for that matter, can bring lots of sponsorship money to chess. That's not going to happen and that's where the problem lies. No matter what happens, tomorrow will be just like today: GM's will make little money for a lot of work, chess will be a source of fun for millions of people everywhere and the same sick people will continue to find fault with the "system"...
Posted by: tgg at June 1, 2006 09:47


How you quote the Kirsan propoganda site as something that appears as unbiased is both amazing and ignorant at best.

Did you not see in big print to the right the words

"Kirsan's Presidential Campaign 2006"


It's like going to the Republican Political site to look for good news about democrats.

Plllllleeaaaaasssseeee don't insult the reader with your capacity to be unfair.

Also, please read the section titled

"FIDE Achievements for the Decade 1996-2006"

and you'll find that it lacks anything substantive. All hollow, PR 'achievements' that lack substance. They fail to mention the fact that he has destroyed classic chess and that he is to blame for the current turmoil - conveniently left out I'm sure.

So, you can blow Kirsan's horn all you want, but don't blow it up our...rooks.
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 09:52

Mark, how about you list achievements from Kok? Was it the GMA? No that failed. Was it the Prague Agreement? No that failed. What exactly has Kok achieved in his life? Nothing. Does Kok bring money to chess? No.

I think that pretty much explains the lack of support Kok is receiving.
Posted by: Leto at June 1, 2006 10:01

In reply to tgg: actually I am an IM, but I'm still a patzer and it doesn't mean I have anything at stake.

I don't exactly hate Ilyumzhinov, but equally it makes the heart bleed to see a post once occupied by a man of the stature of Max Euwe in the hands of a man who rules his own one-party state, has opposition journalists murdered, is plainly in the grip of delusional fantasies about himself and associates with move-retractors like Azmaiparashvili.

In reply to someone higher up: I actually don't see this as an issue where reasonable people can hold different views other than those motivated by pure self-interest or the most childlike political bigotry (the US hates Hussain; Ilymuzhinov liked him; therefore Ilyumzhinov must be good: that sort of thing). If chess is to have any honour at all it can't be run by people of the quality of KI.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 10:08

'It's pretty sad that someone should be attacked for stating an honest opinion, which is all that David Levy has done.'

He's stated an opinion, certainly. We don't know whether it's honest or not.

In any case, go to chessbase.com, scroll down their news items, and read Levy's ridiculous piece about one-member one-vote. If that's his honest opinion, then he's too big a fool to be worth taking any notice of.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 10:12

rdh: Don't forget that David Levy has been president of the International Computer Games Association which runs computer chess (and more) championships for years; I reckon that's where his interest in the situation lies. Not my place to say whether he's been putting any spin on his assessment of the situation or not, but if he didn't have the ICGA's interests in mind then he wouldn't be being a very good pres.
Posted by: Anonymous Custard at June 1, 2006 10:17

One thing that makes me think Kok may have a shot is Garry's letter. Kasparov is no dummy and he wouldn't back a loser publicly if he was sure they were one. It's not that I think he's the person all the delegates were waiting to hear from, quite the opposite I expect. But he is from the same political school as Ilyumzhinov, and he wouldn't line up to take a fall.
Posted by: gmc at June 1, 2006 10:24

In reply to anonymous custard:

Is that right? Wonder if they have elections.....

Perhaps you're right though - does KI sponsor their absurd computer World Championships? There's one of those going on now, isn't there?

My money's still on some emotional fall-out from the Keene thing, mind.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 10:37

Come on!
There's not much to discuss about: either the maffiso win or the decent people.
I'd be surpised if in the end Kirsan gets more than 65 votes. Common sense will prevail!
Posted by: Ardjan at June 1, 2006 10:40

Congratulations on beating Chess 4.7, Dave. I enjoyed the games and your article on it very much.

But as long as we're stating wishes in the form of facts, I hear that all the Western nations are going to secede from FIDE if Kirsan wins.

It would be a good idea, don't you agree? Kasparov is right, there's no future for us without professionalism. Maybe there are some countries whose interests really are best served by subsisting on Kirsan's handouts, and if so, more power to them. But your country and mine don't fall into that category. We need professionalism and corporate sponsorship that simply isn't forthcoming in Kirsan's FIDE. If the countries have such radically different interests, it's time for them to go their separate ways, don't you agree? FIDE can remain as a kind of Third World Chess Federation, and we can form a new one for the pros. And no need to blame those who genuinely want what Kirsan offers. It's just that that isn't us.

Do you concur, or does FIDE have some benefits for our countries or us personally that I'm not seeing?

Take back everything I said, if Kok wins, by the way. I imagine he'd serve the interests of even the Third World countries better than Kirsan would. But either Kirsan must go or we must. Which will it be?
Posted by: Graeme at June 1, 2006 10:43

Graeme don't be silly. The USCF is barely surviving and has been awful at promoting chess.
Posted by: Leto at June 1, 2006 10:52


I have heard some rumours that there has been a discussion about the possibility of countries setting up a new organisation if Ilyumzhinov wins, but I don't believe it will happen. Such a decision would have to be taken by the boards of the various national federations, and not by their FIDE delegates alone. This would require a debate within each national federation, and in practice what I believe will happen is that, when the subject is debated in the various federations, there will be a great reluctance to quit FIDE for an as yet unknown organisation.

This idea has been around for more than 20 years, but has never seemed to be a serious prospect.

FIDE brings a many benefits to many countries, no matter who is in charge. There are a lot of FIDE tournaments, of which the Olympiad is an excellent example, in which many countries enjoy playing. Without FIDE, the players from these countries would lose much of their opportunity to participate in international competition.

David Levy

Posted by: David Levy at June 1, 2006 11:10

Personally, I am highly intrigued by Item 39 of the FIDE congress agenda, a short 9-word item. In case you don't know, item 39 is this:

39. Candidates Matches 2006. Deputy President G. Makropoulos to report.

Does anyone have any news about what exactly (if anything) did Makropoulus report?
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 11:16

Hi Mig,

funny that you have the only few (three or so) Kirsan supporters among chess fans (?) commenting on your blog. Or are they also paid by Kirsan?
Posted by: Ardjan at June 1, 2006 11:21

I am curious why David Levy is refusing to support Bessel Kok. Why is he is taking no postion on this? It seems like a no brainer.

I can hope Kasparov wrote in support of Kok because he felt it was the right thing to do.
Posted by: Niceforkinmove at June 1, 2006 11:22

The Berliner Tagesspiegel has published today an article by Martin Breutigam which said:

Fast alle westeuropäischen Staaten, ebenso die USA, Australien und Südafrika, haben deshalb Kok ihre Unterstützung zugesagt. Den Ausschlag geben wird aber wohl die Vielzahl kleiner Staaten wie Belize oder die Seychellen, die zwar nur ein paar Schachspieler, aber das gleiche Stimmrecht haben wie etwa Russland mit Hunderttausenden organisierter Spieler. Am Ende könnte es entscheidend sein, dass „Kok nicht bereit ist, Stimmen zu kaufen“, wie Metzing sagt.

Ganz sicher scheint sich Iljumschinow dennoch nicht zu sein, sonst hätte er Kok kaum über einen Vertrauten das Präsidentenamt angeboten – unter der Voraussetzung, dass er selbst im Präsidium bleiben dürfe. Kok lehnte ab. Laut Metzing wären selbst bei einem Sieg Iljumschinows die Aussichten auf Veränderung größer als zuvor. „Vielleicht erkennt er dann erstmals, dass es eine Opposition gibt.“ Falls nicht, droht der Fide die Spaltung.

- Kok isn't willing to buy votes
- Kirsan isn't sure about the elections
- Kirsan has offered Kok a deal/ position, which Kok declined
- Whoever will win, a change is in the air; Kok has focused the opposition
Posted by: Gerard at June 1, 2006 11:26


Kok's achievements are not at issue here.

The grand achievements of Kirsan are too numerous to mention I suppose? Oh yes, that's right. You gave me that 'unbiased' journalistic flak.

Give Bessel the same chance to 'achieve' at the same post. I'm 100% sure he could not possibly do a worse job, and would certainly do a much better job that the so-called 'Republic of Kirsan'.

Tell us what he has done that has HELPED chess, outside of bribing every delegate he can communicate with to secure his office.

Kirsan should be held in high contempt, and I fear your support of him is misguided, as his documented history shows a cluttered road of failure. Tell us factually how he has helped chess without the standard cut and paste from http://www.chessfidelity.com you seem to adore and reciting the party line.
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 11:42

PCA needs a new leader, and Kok's future could be rested in there. Afterall, he represents a significant number of " ewige unzufrieden GMs" and can better help them through PCA.

Good Luck to all
Posted by: A Cosip at June 1, 2006 12:19

When does this election actually take place? When will the results be known?
Posted by: Nick at June 1, 2006 12:29

Word in Torino is that Kok and Iljumzhinov are meeting tonight (Thursday). It might just be discussing electoral details but there might also be a compromise coming.
Incidentally, the electoral details have also been controversial. The Iljumzhinov camp wanted different coloured ballot papers for each candidate so that they could see whether their supporters actually voted the way they wanted.
This was rejected and now the Iljumzhinov camp is asking for some delegates, supposedly committed to Iljumzhinov, who will be present at the meeting to nonetheless hand over proxies. It seems that no matter how many gifts you shower on some people, you still can't trust them to vote the right way unless they hand their proxy to you.
Posted by: Tassie Devil at June 1, 2006 12:33

David Levy

Beatrice Marinello deserves no respect. We're talking about a woman who brokered a deal with a scam brain pill company without the knowlege of the executive board. She is either stupid, or corrupt. Probably both, this would explain her allegiance with Kirsan the Killer.
Posted by: Michael Parsons at June 1, 2006 12:48

Mr. Levy:

Thanks for your reply. Yes, you're right, the idea has been around a long time, and I don't really know what will happen either. I only know that if Kirsan wins, I want to urge my Federation and others to get out of FIDE. There needn't be anything personal about it. I simply don't think chess can survive on the graces of one rich patron. Even if Kirsan were beyond reproach, he won't be around forever. Chess has to be able to earn its own way, and survive without him, and I think it can. If I'm wrong and it can't, then we're doomed in the long run anyway. I accept that there are some countries who may have legitimately different interests, maybe even countries that genuinely would do better under Kirsan. If so, maybe they need to go their separate ways for a while. It may not work, but I think we have to try.

No kidding about Chess 4.7. The computer world always expected too much too soon from computer chess, so I was quite happy to see you win your bet. A computer GM some day, sure. But not in 1978. I don't know if you saw the Chess Life & Review issue that your article appeared in, but the cover art, of the computer popping its cork while you raked in the cash was a parody of a similar cover from a year earlier showing the same computer, calm and collected, winning a game easily.
Posted by: Graeme at June 1, 2006 12:49

It looks like many of us do not understand what's happening with these elections.
Kirsan got support from Russian top authorities. Losing chess federation to European is a loss Russian government just can't afford. Russia needs chess as part of their ideology and high politics again. Remember Russians vs. Fischer?
I assume Kirsan would brought to Turin money enough to buy Italian parliament if he needed to do so.
He brought a book "Kirsan Incredible" written by Yuri Vasiliev whom I have considered a very high respected journalist before. There will be no surprise for me if every Congrress participant gets a copy of the book personally signed by Kirsan, and many - with a sealed envelope inside.
Posted by: Vlad Kosulin at June 1, 2006 12:52

The only question is, will they take the envelope or what's behind Door Number Two?
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 12:55

Mr. Levy,

Pardon me for changing the subject (actually in view of the tone of comments you're getting I imagine you may be grateful for a change of topic -- depending of course how thick your skin is), but I am interested in any thoughts you may have about the possibility of computer-aided cheating in the amateur (OTB NOT ON-LINE) tournament context.

I read your addendum to the Chessbase News report of the "Pocket Fritz in the toilet-stall" incident a few years ago. I thought it was hilarious -- your addendum especially. But I was also put off a bit, because the whole thing was treated as basically a joke rather than a foreshadowing of what is likely to grow into a very serious problem for organizers as powerful communication and analysis devices become ever smaller and harder to detect (and as prize funds in mass public-participation tournaments grow ever larger).

Please see the view of this issue at www.seniorchess.zoomshare.com, and post a comment at that site if you wish. (The public-comment screen is Page 4.) If you get that far, please don't be put off by the fact that the only other comment is from an infamous clown; I suppose I should delete it but I've been too lazy.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 1, 2006 13:11

What's Mr Vasiliev's record? He's happy enough to make himself a laughing stock penning Ilyumzhinov panegyrics - what's that about? Hard to imagine anyone who could do that could previously have written anything worthy of journalistic respect, especially with KI's record in seeing opposition reporters left dead in ditches.

They're eerily reminiscent of the sort of stuff that Korean fellow used to churn out (or possibly still does), all about how Our Glorious Leader effortlessly passed all his maths exams at three and at five was rescuing entire villages from earthquakes, and the like. It baffles me: does this sort of rubbish really have any influence with anyone? I would have thought anyone from any political or cultural background at all would have seen them instantly for what they are: the ravings of a megalomaniac.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 13:18

Good Lord. Excerpt From the "New Yorker" Article by Michael Specter:

"In 2001, he told journalists that he had recently been on board a U.F.O.: “The extraterrestrials put a yellow spacesuit on me. They gave me a tour of the spaceship and showed me the command center. I felt very comfortable with them.”"

I didn't know Al Gore was running for FIDE prez...
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 13:24


Mr. Vasiliev's past record is that of a respected journalist and writer. For quite a while, I have been enjoying Vasiliev's writing on chesspro and Sport Express; I held him and his work in a very high esteem (and still do).

His recent series of articles, however, really made me cringe. I have no idea what the heck was he thinking when he embarked on his Kirsan-glorifying quest.
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 13:27

I said this before, but I will say it again:
1) FIDE is rotten.
2) Chessplayer are not voting, POLITICIANS are.

It is not about common sense, it is about political power, and Ilyumzhinov clearly has a lot more power than Kok. I think he will easily win. Believe me, I know about cheap politics, I live in the third world :)
Posted by: Santiago at June 1, 2006 13:29


Does the phrase "Ca-ching Ca-ching" mean anything to you? That distinctive sound of a cash register?

It's disposable writing. You'll forget about it and return to loving him in 6 months.
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 13:30

I know what you mean. It's just very sad when an indivudual you respect goes down a path that you cannot possibly respect. It's alright, I'll get over it, given sufficient time and a good therapist. :)
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 13:37

Graeme, one has to question whether various western federations could run a credible organization. The USCF couldn't even run their own national championships! That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Does anyone know anything about how well the various European federations are run?
Posted by: Icepick at June 1, 2006 13:43

Mark, you are wrong.
If Yuri was a fiction writer, or say a matematician, the book would not worry me at all. I would wait for a next one, the one oa subject he s more familiar with.
We remember Alekhine as chess genius, and this memory can't be affected by the fact that he wrote pro-Nazi articles to save his life. But if Alekhine was a journalist, what would be your opinion on him today?
Mr. Vasiliev pretends to be a journalist. He wrote wonderful semi-documentary books about Tal, Petrosian, and other "actors of a chess scene" without single chess diagram. He writes about chess for more than 30 years. And all these 30 years are now crossed over. He have lost credibility of many who know what he is doing and why he is doing this. He was bought, he has lost his independence and therefore, he can't be a trustworthy source anymore. From now I will assume he is writing not what he thinks, but what he is said to write by Big Brother who controls more and more in Russia, and who is not willing to release chess from a cell it was taken into by Mr. Ilumzinov.
The King is dead.
Posted by: Vlad Kosulin at June 1, 2006 13:50


I'd be suprised if he experiences any negative fallout from that 16-page 'book'.

I have not read it, but the timing is such that it is disposable once the elections are over. Self preservation financially is a high motivation factor for doing the what was once unthinkable. I just hope he tapped Kirsan hard.

But, I still believe it will be forgotten. Just my opinion.

Another great passage from the New Yorker article:

"“Tomorrow, aliens will fly down here and say, ‘You guys are misbehaving,’ and then they will take us away from the earth. They’ll say, ‘Why are you fighting down here? Why are you eating each other?’ And they’ll just put us in their ships and take us away.”"

If you support this guy you are either a nutjob or on his payroll.
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 14:21

But you have to admit, the aliens do ask a good question. Why *are* we eating eachother?
Posted by: Niceforkinmove at June 1, 2006 14:49

According to Vasiliev, Kirsan already won, and the critical thing now is "to retain the people":

Fascinating read, as always, even if slightly biased. Okay, actually a lot biased.
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 14:53

Where can I sign up to receive kickbacks for supporting Kirsan? If it requires relocation to a third world federation, can I request one with a sub-tropical climate?
Posted by: brandon at June 1, 2006 14:53

Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 15:19

Hey, Alex

To answer your question on #39, GM basically said that the negotiation over the matches is held up due to uncertainty over who is going to be head of FIDE. He said that the bidding will be open once the election is over.

So, to sum up, we won't know if the matches will take place until it will be too late to do anything to Kirstan for failing to organize them.

Posted by: Yuriy Kleyner at June 1, 2006 15:23

Thanks Yuriy,

A somewhat disappointing reply, but one that could be expected...
Posted by: Alex Shternshain at June 1, 2006 15:36

Objectivity is a highly regarded state. The heisenberg uncertainty principal also relates. If David Levy is objective in his reporting "from Turin", it is certain that he also, in some way, is effecting the voting principals! Since, in my experience, politics of any sort, gathers leaders, that are power hungry, and corruptable; and we all know that the current Fide leadership is corrupt; sometimes, to some "voters"; the corrupt you know, is better than the one you don't. I really do not myself exspect a change, as always, money talks. and BullS**T walks. I feel myself that Kok would be a good change in Fide, but, in 2000, I also voted for Gore, and now I have to live with mounting deficit spending, and a war in Iraq, I never wanted, and a two term president, that has fiddled away the publics welfare, for private concerns again!
Posted by: Morrowind at June 1, 2006 16:15

David Levy is of the most dangerous kind: campaigning in a shrewd way by pretending to be neutral. So much is clear from his biased pieces. His reasons:
a) "if you can't beat them join them"?
b) gambles on an expected winner (Kirsan) to secure/fortify his position in the computer chess world?
c) money, like those delegates of Afghanistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Boosnia & H. etc. etc., and not to forget Yuri Vasiliev.

Who knows?
Posted by: Ardjan at June 1, 2006 17:38

Mig fans attack anyone who are able to see that Kirsan will win easily tomorrow. Soon they'll claim that you've murdered journalists as well.
Posted by: Leto at June 1, 2006 17:45

It's quite simple (as always).

David Levy defends the 'one country, one vote' system which is the only reason why somebody like Kirsan can stay in power. ... Nuff said.
(He also defends Kirsan in general; see: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3092)

Yuri Vasliev wrote the book "Kirsan the Incredible". ... Nuff said.

People who still want to take these two seriously you are a lost cause and there's no point trying to argue with them, it would be like trying to argue water is wet; a waste of time because it ought to be obvious.
Posted by: kick kirsan at June 1, 2006 18:04


Still waiting on that unbiased, fact-based list of things Kirsan has done to HELP chess and the World Championship Cycle. Keep digging though. I'm sure you can find some obtruse, nonsensical 'benefit' if you look hard enough.

You can pontificate all you want about his great attributes, but lacking your rose-colored glasses, the general chess-playing public sees it in a different light.

Lucky for him he does not rely on the common man to decide this election. He would surely lose, and it would surely cost him millions in bribes.

With a little luck, his alien friends will pay him a visit the day after the elections and deem him the cause of all the trouble in the chess world and wisp him away to some extragalactic penal colony, forced to sit across from Bobby Fischer pondering the first move of the game as white forever, whilst being forced to listen to anti-buddhist rants from the exiled one.

Ah, if I were an alien...
Posted by: Mark at June 1, 2006 18:08

One federation - one vote is the only system that makes sense. Why should certain countries have the right to dominate over others?? It's the same principle in the UN; it's democracy on an international scale just like one man - one vote is democracy on national.
Posted by: acirce at June 1, 2006 18:19

Since the title of this entry is "Election Handicapping", and since all the posters here have about as much influence on the FIDE elections as ants debating what should be built at "Ground Zero" would, how about another way of looking at this?

If you were a bookmaker, what odds would you post on the Kirsan vs Kok match that you think would evenly split the betting public? If you are a bookmaker that wants to make money, your personal choice in this fight should not influence your posted odds. But of course you SHOULD take into account how the public is being influenced to see the candidates.

You will know you posted a good betting line if, when presented with your line and asked to pick a side, a bettor would pause and say "hmmm...I don't know..."

My line: Kirsan a 17-10 favorite to win over Kok.
Posted by: Stern at June 1, 2006 18:36

Oh, for goodness' sake. It is not the only system that makes sense. It is one system that makes sense. If you can't see that there might be good reasons why Russia should have more influence on the chess world than Madagascar, then there is no point in debate.

Leto: I'm interested in the pathology of this thing. What's your take on having our game ruled by a man who runs his own one-party state in which opposition journalists get murdered by government employees? It's all biased propaganda? Kirsan never wanted her murdered? It didn't happen? It's OK so long as he's got money?
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 18:39

I have read David Levy's postings on the net, and I disagree with his assertion of him merely reporting observations.

My impression is that he did not only cross the line between observation and opinion, he also crossed the farther line between opinion and advocacy.

I was/am disappointed.
Posted by: zero@ego.com at June 1, 2006 18:56

Item #39 ought to have been primarily an administrative issue, i.e. administering the WCs. That it is actually gated by politics, is IMHO just another way of saying that FIDE has no infra-structure in this regard. Just make the right move toward professionalism?
Posted by: zero@ego.com at June 1, 2006 19:25

From what I know about corruption in politics, and what I hear regarding this election, I would post odds 5:2 in favor of Kirsan winning. Just to answer the original question.
Posted by: JKS at June 1, 2006 20:04

Does anyone know how this election actually works? Like, is the ballot secret? And who counts the votes?

I can see both of these two factors making a considerable difference.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 21:00

Anyone else seen Chessbase's piece about the Vasiliev spittle-licker, by the way? I particularly enjoyed Ilyumzhinov's observation that 'I never interfere in the work of journalists.'.

Utterly without any sense of the ridiculous, or a subtle comic genius? You decide.
Posted by: rdh at June 1, 2006 21:09

Posted by Tommy who is me:

I have personally lost tremendous respect for David Levy for his comments on the election.

I have personally lost total respect for Beatrice Marinello for her comments on the election.

They have brought to my mind thoughts of Judas and Benedict Arnold.

I can play David Levy's game as well as he. David claims he only calls it as he sees it. that he takes no position.

well read my words carefully. I only call it as I see it and I take no position the same as mr david levy.

I say nothing about David Levy. I talk ONLY about myself and my inner feelings. I never said David Levy did anything wrong.

I did not say that david Levy and Beatrice Marinello are traitors. I said that I have thoughts of Judas and Benedict Arnold.

I am talking about my inner thoughts. I did not make a judgement of anyone.

Notice I talk about myself and my inner feelings and my inner thoughts.

therefore Mr David Levy.

You argue for your right to say what you said. but you argue that I am wrong to say what I said. I claim that if you argue that you have the right to say what you said, then YOU MUST SUPPORT EVERYTHING I HAVE SAID. YOU MUST argue in support of me. if you argue against me then you are arguing that what you said was wrong.

now put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr David Levy.

Let me make myself very clear. I say nothing about David Levy right now. I want to say something about me.

about me I say I have no respect for Mr David Levy and anything he has to say.

now did I make myself perfectly clear. If so then Mr David Levy must argue to defend me in my words. for mr david levy will have to argue that tommy IS JUST CALLING IT AS HE SEES IT.

My inner feelings toward Ms Beatrice Marinello are far below my fellings toward Mr David Levy.

I look forward to a response from mr david levy in support of what I have just said.
Posted by: tommy at June 1, 2006 22:50

Kirsan has this wrapped up, it looks like. Still, kudos to Kok, for launching the first real challenge to Kirsan's chess Khanate.

The only way to make progress if for the Kok supporters to threaten to form their own International Chess Federation, and leave the Kirsan supporters essentially high and dry. The Western nations need not necessarily bolt from FIDE. The only question is whether FIDE would dare expel the core chess nations, for also being members of a different, rival, international chess federation. If worse came to worse, and the Western chess countries were barred from the FIDE events such as Olympiads, World Championships, or Youth Chanpionships, they could always create their own versions of these.

It's like a region of a country that is ruled by a corrupt, despotic, regime. Only the Kirsan chess regime has no army to prevent the "insurgents" from declaring their own independent country. He only has an army of petty chess bureaucrats, who act the role of enforcers and thugs.
Posted by: DOug at June 1, 2006 22:53

I see only good coming out of this election.

a short list of some goods.

1. we now know the truth about Beatrice Marinello

2. we now know the truth about David Levy.

3. we now know the truth about Mr Vasiliev.

4. if Kok wins we can begin the work but hampered with the old rules of voting.

5. if Kok loses we can begin the work with a new organization that will have new rules fixing the problems of the fide system with the wrong rules regarding the voting method.

so the way I see it chess will win in all outcomes. this happens when things get so bad they bounce off the bottom.


I find it strange that the countries with all the players and therefore all the real power. the same countries with all the money for sponsorship. all these countries allow themselves to be abused by a dictator who rules by corruption. and we choose to stay under the dictator control of our own free will.

there is nothing stopping us from declaring freedom and going and doing our own thing. we have the players and we have the money.

If Kok loses then we must stand up and say.

We take the abuse no longer. We are leaving and we are filing for a divorce.

that is what we tell battered women to do. and yet we dont follow our own advice. we are being abused. we and only we can stop the abuse. and it is easy to stop the abuse. we just stand up and say NO MORE.


I went and read what david levy has written about one country one vote. and sorry to say as I was reading it, I barfed up, I puked my guts out. a sorry smelly mess. sorry about that. but I made it to the toilet in time. oh my stomach is upset. but at least my stomach is now cleared out. ready to start life a new.

I never had much stomach for Judas and Benedict Arnold and Beatrice Marinello. But I feel better now having cleared that out of my system.

a side note to mr david levy:

I am just telling it like it is. I am learning to live in the world just like it is. I am learning to say. NO MORE ABUSE. I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY MORE ABUSE. I AM GETTING A DIVORCE.

I am not trying to change anyone else. I am trying to change me. I am going to live where the abusers can no longer abuse me. that is going to be a new life for me. I am going to call my new life the World Chess Federation. A new and wonderful life.
Posted by: tommy at June 2, 2006 00:04

The notion of one state one vote is so obviously anti-democracy and anti-American! Oh wait, thats how the US Senate works.

(ok, one state 2 votes)
Posted by: zhorik at June 2, 2006 01:26

When I posted my original comment yesterday I had no intention of entering into any kind of debate. I do not normally get involved in such discussions. I was merely reporting on the situation as I see it here in Turin, because I like this site and felt that Mig needed some input from the front.

In general I do not wish to respond to much of what has been written here, but I do wish to answer a couple of specific questions.

Graeme, yes I did see the Chess Life cover after I defeated Chess 4.7 and I have the original drawing on the wall at home in London.

Niceforking move, the reason why I have not come out in support of either candidate is that I am President of an organisation that is affiliated to FIDE, the ICGA, and do not feel it is appropriate for affiliated organisations to openly support anyone in a FIDE election.

As to the election process itself, it is a secret ballot. It takes place today. The FIDE regulations stipulate that the election must be completed before the meeting of the General assembly closes today. It is not clear to me whether the voting will be before the lunch break or in the afternoon, and that probably depends on how much debate there is on the few other points on the agenda that precede the election.

After this posting I do not intend to return to this forum. I simply do not have the time to engage in lengthy debates on the Internet. Those who believe that my original posting yesterday was propaganda should realise that the number of FIDE delegates who read chess.ninja.com, either yesterday or this morning, is very probably zero. They are all too busy, and many of them understand no English or insufficient to be able to follow what I wrote.

David Levy

Posted by: David Levy at June 2, 2006 02:33

Mr. Levy is right in his prediction, alas.

Mr.Kok could bribe the corrupt officials, but if he did, these crooks would still be around next time, wanting bigger bribes for themselves, meanwhile neglecting (or worse, suppressing) REAL chess development at home.

The rot is out there, it is not only coming from FIDE, it is a scenario which FIDE just explores cynically. Some of the delegates does not even have an organisational structure, or pay their FIDE memberships or their air tickets, while they come to bask in the sunlight of the FIDE "democracy".

We have earlier seen the same forces at play in, say, football and Olympic games circles. And that is why Mr. Levy has the wrong conclusion.
The current system and praxis is just shameful.

If not ending up with several world bodies, as in boxing, chess will need a "security council" of the heavyweights to outbalance the misrule of an alleged but mock democratic system.

Posted by: Niels Lauritsen at June 2, 2006 02:50

Much has been said about Kok, and Westerners seem to think that he is The One With No Dirt On His Hands Whatsoever. (Although I think it's more of a case of the lesser evil.)
But what about Yazici? I don't read any comments on him. I'm not even sure if Kok chose Yazici, it might've been the other way round, Yazici choosing someone honorable who has the chance to get them both into power.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 2, 2006 03:01

I say this again: KI will win, easily. You being naive thinking the opposite. Delegates are not representing chessplayers or chessfans, they represent their own private interests.
You are also being naive thinking that western countries could split and built their own federation. What for? To built better world championship system for a few grandmasters?
Posted by: marc at June 2, 2006 03:16

I think the developed world underestimates the power of bribes and gifts. They have been brought up in a lifestyle laregly devoid of this immoral facet. Hoever the developed world makes up only a minority of the votes. I don't see Kok winning this elections.

What the countries suporting Kok fail to understand is the mentality of the delegates who are going to vote for ilyumzhinov. Forget about the man himself bribing them, the real point is that these delegates come from countries where bribery and general corruption is as obvious as taking breakfast.

The only option I see is a break away from FIDE to those who uphold the good. FIDE should be left to serve the corrupt (and there are many of those). IF that happens, FIDE will lose all credibility.

The more I look at it, the more I think Kok and Co. breaking away looks like a great idea.
Posted by: Mehul at June 2, 2006 03:40


What is this nonsense about building a better world championship system 'for a few grandmasters'? People in tens of thousands are still buying books about world championship matches that happened a hundred years ago. A decent world championship isn't 'for a few grandmasters'; it's for all of chess history to come. If there is any, which is looking less and less likely.

Let's say FIFA decided to make the World Cup ten minutes each way before penalties and hold it in a country which wouldn't let the team from some countries in. Would you then say that a breakaway was 'for the benefit of a few overpaid footballers'? I think not.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 05:47


But not the presidential elections, of course. The US system has checks and balances, which is what the FIDE system so conspicuously lacks.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 05:49

rdh, you are absolutely right. For us decent World Championship cycle is priceless. But is it really a matter that concerns USCF or mine, Poland's CF? BTW - Polish delegate will vote for Kirsan (I am really ashamed...)
FIFA is a good example. Professional clubs, which are real power in football these days, are not very happy about this World Cup business at all...
Posted by: marc at June 2, 2006 06:07

Gosh, I must say these occasions are always an eye-opener for us westerners. I can never quite get accustomed to the scale of the dishonesty that Eastern European propagandists go in for. Check out the pieces from Russian newspapers quoted in the Moscow Times piece on Chessbase. What caught my eye was the warning to readers to remember how 'our figure skater Irina Slutskaya' was 'robbed' of victory by the wicked West in that same city of Torino.

Leaving aside the fact that the winner was actually Japanese - let's call her an honorary wicked Westerner - I watched that skating final in the company of a skating judge and Slutskaya was abysmal: she fell twice and was extremely fortunate to hang on to bronze. Not even an Arsenal fan could honestly consider she was 'robbed'. It would be interesting to know whether the Russian press reported it in those terms at the time.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 06:24


What about Yazici? I suspect most westerners don't know anything about him: I certainly don't. Personally I would vote for a commmitte made up of the past six Big Brother winners if it meant getting rid of Ilymuzhinov. The first priority is to rid the game of a vicious kleptocrat. We can worry about who we replace him with another time.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 06:26


first of all, let's not make this into an east-west issue. I understand your points on dictatorship and on what you call dishonesty; but please consider that looking from eastern-europe, the west doesn't seem any nicer. Only different.

I wouldn't be so careless about Yazici. For a long time it was Campomanes everyone wanted to get rid of, at any cost.This "any cost" proved pretty high. So don't put your trust in someone you know nothing about.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 2, 2006 07:28

Dishonesty was the wrong word. Unsubtleness would have been better. Our press are equally dishonest, but less flagrant. I'm guessing because (to pursue my rather trivial example) most of the readers of this Russian paper don't get to watch the Winter Olympics, so they can get away with this sort of stuff.

Well go on then, give us some dirt on Yazici? Like I say, I don't know anything about him.

You say you don't want to make it an east-west issue, but surely it already is? Is there a single western European country voting for KI?
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 07:38

Good question. Nobody will know which western delegate voted for KI, because it's a secret ballot.

Do you think these guys on either side really care about chess? Or is it just the love of power. I tend to think that anyone who gets close to political leadership had sold their souls already.
Am I being over-pessimistic?

Nothing special about Yazici. Just another guy who wants to feed on chess.
Posted by: Linux fan at June 2, 2006 07:54

I have grave doubts about whether it will be a secret ballot, but OK then, is there a western federation which has come out for Ilyumzhinov?

How do you know Yazici isn't a genuine lover of the game? 'Feeding on chess' is a tough way to make money.

As for politics, I wouldn't take quite such a cynical view. At university I knew quite a few people who are now MPs in my country, and without exception they appeared to me to be animated mainly by a desire to change (or preserve, depending) the world. Of course they may by now have had to sell their souls. Call me naive, but I'd say Kok has the good of the game at heart; also Seirawan. Ilyumzhinov I think is simply deluded, although I dare say he believes he has the good of the game in mind. Makropoulos I can't imagine. Anyone who thinks the game needs speeding up to this 90/30 nonsense in order to sell it to television is so far removed from what I recognise as reality I find it hard to form an opinion.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 08:18

Never mind my cynicism :) I've seen too much of people lying even to themselves about their motives.

Let's hope that whoever wins the chess world will se a change for the better. I suppose even if KI wins he will have to impose some real changes in order to avoid another serious "threat" to his "throne".
Posted by: Linux fan at June 2, 2006 08:46

'I suppose even if KI wins he will have to impose some real changes in order to avoid another serious "threat" to his "throne".'

It remains to be seen just how "serious" the Kok campaign turns out to be. Even if Kok makes it close, there's no assurance that KI will feel any obligation to appease those who had voted against him. If KI wins by a comfortable margin, then I'm sure the status quo will prevail.

Now, if there were a serious threat of secession by major federations, it would be another thing entirely. But I doubt that this will happen. FIDE has survived breakaway threats before.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 2, 2006 09:25

I don't think Levy desesrves heat here. He's made a prediction. We'll see very soon how accurate it is. It was nice of him to come here and nicer to respond to multiple messages, even though he hadn't originally intended to. Thank you.

It's quite possible that his prediction will be exactly right. If it is, we shouldn't shoot the messenger. If I read him right, Levy believes that the future is Ilyumzhinov, like it or not, and that we should make the best of the situation. I think he's right that *if* we stay in FIDE, we should make the best of it. Better to be positive than to just grouse and obstruct things. I don't think we should stay in FIDE at all, they're a hindrance to corporate sponsorship, but that's a different question.

Levy's objection to withdrawal from FIDE seems to be not in principle, but on the practical question of whether it would actually work. Who knows, he might be right on that too. Maybe it wouldn't. But I still want to try.
Posted by: Graeme at June 2, 2006 09:46

Corporate sponsorship? Without a chance for media interest and publicity?
It's just a dream, nothing more, no matter who wins.
Posted by: marc at June 2, 2006 09:52

No, Levy does deserve some heat, at least when you are a Kok supporter. If you say on ChessBase that about Kirsan ..."on the other hand, he has succeeded in reunifying the World Championship title where Bessel Kok failed", you are biased towards Kirsan because as far as we, the outsiders, can see, it was Kirsan who blew the Prague Agreement and not Bessel Kok. And this unification match is scheduled;it remains to be seen whether it will actually take place.
So, clearly Levy supports Kirsan and that puts all his "neutral" entries in a certain light.

Posted by: Ardjan at June 2, 2006 09:58

Come now. Who do you think pays the prizes at Wijk aan Zee? As for media interest, some of us are old enough to remember Fischer-Spassky. It can be done. But it can't be done in relation to some poxy KO event in some fly-blown hole like Libya, is the trouble.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 09:59

On the subject of corporate sponsorship, I suspect the climb back to respectability will come slowly. Fischer-Spassky was almost 35 years ago, and we are now living in a different world.

Although I am hoping for a Kok victory, I suspect he won't be able to work instantaneous miracles. There's a lot of rot that has to be cleaned up.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 2, 2006 10:27

I find it ridiculous that some of you actually believe the "western world" can seperate from FIDE and create their own olympiads and championships. The USCF is barely surviving on its own! Who's going to pay for these so called olympiads and championships?

If you want to look at how well organizations do without FIDE's help, just look at the GMA and the ACP. The GMA collapsed long ago, and the ACP hosts about two blitz events a year. Wonderful.
Posted by: Leto at June 2, 2006 11:10

does anybody know about the results yet?
Posted by: Stefan at June 2, 2006 12:14

Results should have been announced 3 hours ago...yet I cannot find it anywhere on the net! :(
Posted by: Gunnar at June 2, 2006 12:24

Anyway, it is not clear how to separate from FIDE. FIDE can simply recognise some organization in each country as a FIDE member.

There is no government power in Canada or Norway to order all chess players to boycott FIDE.

Another organization, in parallel, with some duplicate functions, maybe.
Posted by: gg at June 2, 2006 12:29

"Anyway, it is not clear how to separate from FIDE. FIDE can simply recognise some organization in each country as a FIDE member."

Ultimately, it is always about money. This hypothetical competing organization would need to show that it can attract significantly better sponsorship than FIDE. Otherwise, it's pointless. A significant number of the better players would need to jump ship, and that doesn't seem likely.

For a while, Garry Kasparov seemingly was able to make it work: the PCA was sponsored by Intel. But even that success was illusory, and Kasparov has admitted it was a mistake. To the extent it worked at all, it was because the revolt was led by the person whom everyone agreed was the world's best player. That isn't going to happen this time.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 2, 2006 12:41

There seems to be some on-the-spot reporting (thanks to Fredric Friedel who is there) on one of the Chess Ninja Message Boards::

Posted by: Jeff Sonas at June 2, 2006 12:55


Separation from FIDE would be a non-issue if the DELEGATES would rise above their own greed and vote in a manner that would be best for chess AS A SPORT.

You can't possibly think, with Kirsan's personal wealth aside, that he is the best man for the job. That is just absurd.

You continue to sound like a Kirsan megaphone blowing hot air down everyone's neck.

I noticed you haven't published that excellent list of crowning achievements Kirsan has accomplished while president of FIDE.

As you put it - "Wonderful".
Posted by: Mark at June 2, 2006 13:10

>>I find it ridiculous that some of you actually believe the "western world" can seperate from FIDE and create their own olympiads and championships.

Corporate sponsors, of course. The ones that, according to Seirawan, we can't get now because potential sponsors do a web search and find that the head of the world organization is a guy who thinks he's been abducted by space aliens, and whose men get convicted of murdering journalists. No company wants that kind of publicity. We must distance ourselves from it to have any hope of attracting them.

The USCF is barely surviving on its own! Who's going to pay for these so called olympiads and championships?

*SPONSORS*. Keep repeating it until you have it letter perfect. If we can't get them, we're doomed in the long run anyway. The game simply can't survive forever on the graces of one rich patron. We all know this. The space aliens could take Kirsan for a ride again any day now and might not bring him back next time. If not that, then there's always Father Time.

Even if it doesn't work, I'm not sure what you think we'd be losing by withdrawing from FIDE. Missing out on the Olympiad would be a nuisance, but hardly a real hardship. Missing out on those Best of 2 Knockout tournaments (affectionately dubbed "The FIDE Lottery") wouldn't even be a hardship.

There may be countries who benefit from FIDE's largess, but the Western developed countries don't get much. There's simply not much for us in Kirsan's FIDE. Not even fair representation (which admittedly wouldn't be present in Kok's FIDE either).

Sorry, I seems to me that we have everything to gain and not much to lose. If Kirsan wins, I'm going to start lobbying every Board member of my Federation to withdraw from FIDE immediately, and I know I won't be alone. If you don't agree, then don't do the same thing yourself.
Posted by: Graeme at June 2, 2006 13:12

They're reporting 96 votes for Kirsan and 54 votes for Bessel as the tally. :-(
Posted by: Riff Raff at June 2, 2006 13:31

Maybe you should ask your GM's first if they give up those FIDE lottery knockouts for vague promises of some sponsorship money? Dont get me wrong, Im just trying to be realistic here;)
Posted by: marc at June 2, 2006 13:32

You can't surprise a pessimist. But I am still very unhappy about the election.
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 2, 2006 13:35

Leto, any news who is winning the election now?
Posted by: Ryan at June 2, 2006 13:36

That Kirsan would win has been obvious for a while, the only thing uncertain has been the margin. Now I hear Kirsan 96-Bessel 54 with 2 abstentions.
Posted by: acirce at June 2, 2006 13:39

96-54 for the incumbant dictator
Posted by: Sebastian Leibnitz at June 2, 2006 13:54

Kirsan won. Probably the propaganda cheesfidelity site that claimed Afganistan and Palestaine was more accurate than the honest website of the right move.

This is for the so-called reliability attack that Kok's ticket did to Chessfidelity...
Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 13:54

Viva Kirsan, Viva Kirsan!
Posted by: Leto at June 2, 2006 13:58

"Maybe you should ask your GM's first if they give up those FIDE lottery knockouts for vague promises of some sponsorship money?"

According to the reading I've done, it seems most GMs like the FIDE knockout format. Because of the random nature of it, the format increases the likelihood that a 2nd-tier player will win. And there are a whole lot more 2nd-tier players who benefit from that possibility, then 1st-tier players who are harmed by it.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 2, 2006 13:59

There, looks like Levy's prediction was pretty much on target. No need for any bad feelings towards him. He simply told it the way it was.

But marc, I think, is not being realistic. It's one thing to say that people are motivated by greed, and another thing to imply that they *ought* to be. If some of our players are simply unwilling to give up the FIDE Lottery, that's fine for them if they want to play in them as individuals. But the US *Federation* (among others) must now distance itself from FIDE as fast as possible. The Federation itself shouldn't base policy just on the interests of those two or three players who benefit from it, at the expense of all others.
Posted by: Graeme at June 2, 2006 14:07

A nauseating, sad day for Chess.

Not surprising though. Corruption almost always wins anywhere outside of a Frank Capra movie.
Posted by: Petroff at June 2, 2006 14:09

There is some confusion about the FIDE elections here in Finland. The board of the Finnish chess federation could not decide the issue between KI and BK. Finnish players voted for BK something like 92% to 8% in a small unofficial gallup. However, it was Finnish FIDE delegate Mr Mikko Markkula himself who on the spot in Torino was to make the decision. And as he has a long history in the top places within current FIDE. However, the vote he took will probably remain secret from Finnish chess players, which probably is not what democracy should be.
Posted by: Finn at June 2, 2006 14:19

Graeme, I remember WC in Tripoli - a few GM refused to play there and they have my deep respect, but many others, even some Jewish, were happy to participate. So I dont have to imply anything. BTW, I dont think that you can participate in FIDE WC and remain outside FIDE, so in the next olimpic we'd see Nakamura as Japan's first board ;-)
Posted by: marc at June 2, 2006 14:26

"But marc, I think, is not being realistic. It's one thing to say that people are motivated by greed, and another thing to imply that they *ought* to be."

I am not saying they are motivated by greed. Professionals want to get paid, and I see nothing wrong with that.
Posted by: Marc Shepherd at June 2, 2006 14:29

By the way, in the light of the results of this election, it seems that the offer of Leong for unity was sincere. People said that this was signaling that Kirsan thought he was losing, but to me it seems more likely that he did want to have the support of Kok and did not want the chess world to divide.

After all if Kok is such a good person to find money, (a) Let us see if he can bring now. (b) Why did he failed to find founding to complete the prague agreement and disappeared leaving the `bill' to Kirsan.
Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 14:44

Now we shall see if the continuing string of disappointments still plague Kirsan and FIDE.

Leto, I'm curious why you support Kirsan. In what regard do you consider him a better candidate and do you think his past performance warrants a new term?

Even a casual observer would note the many failures and the corrupt organization he heads.

I'm really interested to get your opinion on this. You seem to have this 'pick the winner' attitude and your opinions on this would do alot to prove or disprove this.

So what is it - what BENEFITS - draw you to Kirsan?
Posted by: Mark at June 2, 2006 15:02

There are many people that support Kirsan. You just happen to be in a chat-room that is written by one of his opposers (Mig) and it is natural to have much more people against him here.

I do not say that he is good and I do not support him. I have a nutral position (I consider both of them equal good or equal bad:)).

I tend to paly the "devils advocate" and since most people hate him here, I will suport him.

First it is true that he has brought a lot of money in chess. Fide was about to bankrupt when he took power and that was exactly the reason he first won. You may question the ways he finds sponsotrs, but he did the championships regularly. (yes this knock out that you don't like.it is better than nothing!)

As for the prague agreement, Bessel was also responsible for the failure (where is the founding he could find?) as well as many other people (including Ponomariov who did not want to play the match against kasparov under the given conditions).

Being governor of a republic in Russia he can find easier govermental funding, as he did in previous occasions (even in San Luis there was public funding). Chess unfortunately does not sell. Is not so popular and companies are not going to get interested (this can change a bit but not dramatically since in the near futrure I can't see people being so interested in chess and therefore no motive for companies to fund chess).

I should note that chess in depth is developed better in Russia, China eastern europe than western. This is due to the govermental intervention.

Turkey has developed a lot in chess and that was one of the positive things in the Right Move campaign. BUT it has evolved because of the full support of the turkish goverment and not due to this corporate funding that Kok advocates.

These are few points that just crossed my mind. There are many more!

Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 15:21


"...But the US *Federation* (among others) must now distance itself from FIDE as fast as possible. The Federation itself shouldn't base policy just on the interests of those two or three players who benefit from it, at the expense of all others."

But the USCF has already stated it is willing to work with whomever won the election. The USCF board of delegates was pissed at Beatrice for some of the statements she made, but otherwise, they seem to be 'good' with whomever wins:

"On May 12, 2006, Beatriz Marinello posted an "open letter" on the internet. In this post she said,
"I recently stated that no matter who won the FIDE presidential election, I would work with them
for the betterment of chess. That statement did not sit well with the more fanatical Kok
supporters on the U.S. Chess Federation, who demanded that I retract it. Unless I did so, they
threatened punitive actions."
The USCF Executive Board considers the above claim by Beatriz Marinello to be grossly
incorrect. No member of our Board has ever objected to working with the winner of the FIDE
election and indeed, when Beatriz Marinello expressed concern about this in Board discussion,
the only opinions expressed by other Board members on this topic were that we will work with the
winner of the FIDE election."

"About May 17, the campaign website of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,
chessfidelity.com, posted the open letter by Beatriz Marinello, adding a headline, "Scandal in the
US Chess Federation." For the President of FIDE to declare that a scandal exists in a member
federation is inappropriate to begin with, and to do so based on a statement by one member of a
five person Executive Board, without considering or reporting the views of the entire Board, is
truly outrageous."

Of course, all this is water under the bridge now.
Posted by: Mark at June 2, 2006 15:29

Hey Mark, any comments?
You were curious to see why Leto was supporting Kirsan. Do my reasons cover you :)
Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 15:31

Derida, your comments don't begin to get to the central objection to Ilyumzhinov, which is that the guy is a dictator who runs a regime where dissent is not tolerated and opposition journalists are murdered by government employees. It is simply inconceivable to vote for such a man regardless of how much money he puts into chess.

It is always salutary to the western mind to realise in how few countries of the world assassinating your opponents and strangling all opposition to you by fear is seen as anything other than sound business sense.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 15:38

Well your western mind should keep in mind that many of the dictatorships in the globe have been putted by the ruling western countries. A few quick examples is in Chile Pinochet (overthrew democratically elected Allende) in Greece (1967-1974) the failed coup in Venezuela (recently I think 2000) all of them supported by the US.
I wonder if you consider OK doing busness with Bush (or Nixon that was president when th coup in Chile occured). Many people would argue that he has caused around the globe much more deaths than Kirsan...
I will not develope this more here and if you want you can contact me (I will give my email to anyone that ask it) since this is a chess forum.

BTW I am from Greece and thus in the western world myself, living in the UK currently.
Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 15:51

A clarification. Of course I condemn his actions in his country. And this is the reason I do not support him (neither Bessel though). One the one hand I think that for chess he may be the only way to survive economically (sad but true). On the other hand I hate the retorics of the western people that condemn the third world and that want to have a "buisness" oriented chess.

An example is that while you would expect from a decent buisness man to be reliable, in all the campaign that was not the impression I got. Few points:

-Claimed that Chessfidelity was unreliable, while he was not concerning the votes he had guaranteed
-He used a personal dialogue between Yiazici and Makropoulos that he was not present and the fact that Makropoulos used the f word.
-He started all this one-country one vote debate..
In his team were Andora, Faroe Islands,Liechtenstein,Malta, Monaco. Really big countries... I do really think that this is arogant and undemocratic and if this favored him or if he was winning he would never say this.
Posted by: derida13 at June 2, 2006 16:08

I agree derida13. I became increasingly disappointed with Kok's campaign. Of course the reason it became so ugly the last few weeks was probably just desperation as it started to become obvious to everyone that Kirsan was really winning. I did support change but didn't really trust any of the sides.
Posted by: acirce at June 2, 2006 16:21

One or two of Kok's supporters started this one-country one-vote debate, never his team. Obviously it was counterproductive. I dispute 'undemocratic', though. There's nothing democratic about countries with seven chessplayers having the same influence as those with a hundred thousand.

As to Bush, what has that got to do with it? I'm not American and if either Bush, or any dictator installed by the West, were running for president of FIDE I'd be voting against them. But Kok isn't any of those things.

As to western rhetoric, I don't know what to say. If you want professionals, you have to have money. It has to come from somewhere. Presently it's coming from the pockets of one the poorer peoples of the world to fuel their kleptocrat leader's megalomania. If that's the only way, better we didn't bother. Here we all are enjoying the Olympiad; that doesn't happen without money.

Like I say, I don't understand how any decent person could vote for a murderous dictator to run chess. It's always useful to be reminded just how many people aren't fussed about that sort of thing.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 17:14

Oh, the length to which some of the anti-Kirsan propagandists go. Kirsan has done much, but never accused his opponents of being murderers!
Posted by: acirce at June 2, 2006 17:16

Well possibly that's because Bessel Kok isn't a murderer.

It's well documented that two of KI's associates are doing time for the murder of a journalist, Larisa Yudina, who published anti-KI articles in Kalmykia. It's true there's been no evidence published linking KI directly to the murder - that's the great thing about murdering journalists; it doesn't half keep the rest quiet. You can choose if you like to believe that these people didn't know their actions would please the boss, which to my mind makes KI the next best thing to a murderer.

Tell me, suppose that a citizen of Kalmykia were to go and stand outside the presidential palace every day holding up a banner saying 'Kirsan Out. We Want Free and Fair Elections. No More Wasting Our Money on Chess When We Haven't Got Running Water.', what do you suppose would happen to him?
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 17:41

>Oh, the length to which some of the anti-Kirsan propagandists go. Kirsan has done much, but never accused his opponents of being murders!

That's probably because none of Kok's aides have ever been convicted (not accused; convicted) of murdering any of his enemies. If they had, Kirsan would certainly have mentioned it, and rightly so.


It's possible he knew nothing about it, I suppose, just as it's possible that elves and brownies exist. But if his staff goes around murdering his enemies without instructions, we'd have to concede at the least that he runs far too loose a ship to be qualified to run a major world organization.

But no matter. It's time to leave FIDE, not reform it.
Posted by: Graeme at June 2, 2006 17:51

I know about the Yudina case, and I would think that in murder cases the "guilt by association" argument is worse than ever.

The protesting Kalmykian? Huh? He would be forced away, maybe beaten up, maybe imprisoned, maybe other things depending on the situation... I strongly doubt he'd get murdered.
Posted by: acirce at June 2, 2006 18:21

You are too trusting acirce. I'm not saying there is any conclusive proof, but you seem too trusting. Politicians are usually the worst of the species, nothing is out of the question to maintain power and control.
Posted by: John G. at June 2, 2006 19:09

Fine. If you're prepared to support someone who apart from being a mad dictator spending his people's money on his personal whims also employs people who murder opposition journalists, then there's nothing more to be said. You can see why some people might find it surprising, though?
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 19:16

acirce isn't trusting, he's just willing to bend over for anyone who does not represent the capitalist West.
Posted by: zakki at June 3, 2006 05:42

Sigh. I would have thought that people who are intelligent enough to learn the rules of chess also should be able to see the distinction between supporting a person (I don't) and believing that accusing that person of murder without proof is scandalous (I do).

Also, even if you don't count Russia to the "West", obviously Kirsan does represent Capitalism!
Posted by: acirce at June 3, 2006 07:48

I couldn't agree more acirce!
Posted by: derida13 at June 3, 2006 10:08

In my country we resolved this issue in 12hundred and something (Henry 2, was it?). When the henchmen of absolute rulers murder the opponents of that ruler, we don't bother looking for proof to link the ruler.

And WTF has capitalism to do with it??
Posted by: rdh at June 3, 2006 14:57

Yeah, I didn't get zakki's point either.
Posted by: acirce at June 3, 2006 15:03

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 1, 2006 7:58 AM.

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