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Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Reelected as President of FIDE

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An article by David Levy on the topic is up on Chessbase. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov won 96 votes; Bessel Kok won 54.


Too bad for Bessel Kok. :-(

But there's nothing to do about it, I suppose. Let's just hope that the candidate matches and the Topalov-Kramnik match will be held as planned, now that Ilyumzhinov has won reelection, and no longer needs to convince chess federations to vote for him.
Posted by: KB at June 2, 2006 14:34

OK, so now what? I heard Kirsan & Bessel met last night. Hopefully there will be some influence from Mr. Kok, particularly courting corporate sponsorship back to chess.

I'm not hopeful though...

Posted by: Globular at June 2, 2006 14:41

I just realise that Mr. Levy in his analysis is ignoring any aspect of bribery or the often repeated fact that most 3rd world federation delegates are not voting as chess players but with their stomachs.

Mr. Levy pretends that those officials make an informed choice based on facts and opinions!

My god, now I can see how stupid the western world (and Mr. Levy) is. Mehul Gohil is right when stating that the western world does not understand basic corruption facts.

Niels Lauritsen
Posted by: Niels Lauritsen at June 2, 2006 14:48

And now what?
Apparently firm grassroots + buying votes (Syria for example was bought with DGT clocks for $5.000) was sufficient to win easily. Levy was irritating but right, it has to be admitted.
Options are to break away with (more or less) the Western countries but considering the scale of the defeat this is not an attractive option. Still, something has to happen.... Probably Kirsan will make Bessel a nice offer to join and FIDE will get better, if Bessel accepts. At least FIDE has had a scare and will have to improve itself.
But it remains a sad day for chess.
Posted by: Ardjan at June 2, 2006 14:54

To be fair, Levy is not stupid, merely (for reasons as yet unascertained) an Ilymuzhinov lickspittle.

Just for fun, anyone know who did provide the prize money for this computer tournament they're having (assuming there is any)?
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 14:54

I'm just glad Bessel Kok didn't end up face down in the Volga.
Posted by: Mark at June 2, 2006 15:18

Time for Action

Election is over. Lick your wounds or drink your champagne, either is fine with me.

The time for action is now.

I believe it is time for FIDE to start treading HEAVILY and enforce a rigid cycle of the World Championship, and take the stance of 'you are with us, or against us' attitude.

If Anand, Pono, Kramnik or WHOMEVER balks, too bad. They get left behind. Historically, players are players first, and they will step in line and follow the money if it is there. If Kirsan is good on his promises/bribes, it will be.

You cannot please all of the people all of the time, but that's not what this is about. We need a WC cycle that is deterministic, reliable, and exciting.

Just do it.
Posted by: Mark at June 2, 2006 15:37

Do we have to listen to David Levy anymore? Can't we have a consolation prize that his blathering articles will no longer be published on chessbase? Give me a break with his democracy arguement. Giving 80% of the chess world 40% of the vote is not democracy.

Its hard enough to accept that Kirsan, who claims to be fresh off of an alien spacecraft, just won this election, without having to see more of David Levy's spin.
Posted by: Niceforkinmove at June 2, 2006 15:38

Anyone know where all this money Kirsan has 'given' to chess comes from? It keeps getting mentioned over and over, but has it been verified that it comes from his own pocket and not from his position as leader of Kalmykia? How many of his business dealings are legit, and not a result of the plundering that took place during the privitization after the fall of the Soviet Union? I think chess and FIDE would be much better off without Kirsan or his money. For that matter anyone in a position of political power should not be president of FIDE. It results in things like FIDE hq moving to Kalmykia and nosy journalists getting whacked.
Posted by: Jerry at June 2, 2006 15:50

Mark, passing lightly over "whomever", I think you don't really mean "deterministic" (inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs)? But if you do, I agree.
Note, however, that a deterministic cycle, while not lacking in reliability, might be a bit short on excitement.

And to Niceforkinmove I would like to say that I would be very much pleased to see both gentlemen on that spaceship, bringing new time controls and new argument to new galaxies.
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 2, 2006 15:50

The dream of a perfect FIDE is over, let's get back to earth.
In the end, a lot of energy and momentum for change has been gathered. This HAS to result in some important changes and probably Kirsan will realize it as well. Getting rid of Makro would be a good first step. These elections are not yet over...and in the end chess will benefit.
Posted by: Ardjan at June 2, 2006 15:59

Congrats to Kirsan on his great win, may chess enjoy many more years with Kirsan.
Posted by: Leto at June 2, 2006 16:10

Has FIDE ever been anything but corrupt? I think not and now Kirsan will justify his further plundering of the chess world with the so called mandate the election results have verified for him. This sucks.
Posted by: Carl at June 2, 2006 16:14

Predictably, a sad day for world chess. The dictator who believes that he was abducted by aliens and who is responsible for the failings of world chess these past 10 years has been re-elected by a system that has little to do with a democracy. The statements of the members of the Kirsan ticket pretty much speak for themselves. It is the victory of despotism over democracy, corruption over legality and - plainly - ignorance and stupidity over reason. Chess will continue its demise - I fear that the last chance to steer clear of the abyss has been squandered. The title of world champion has lost any significance and is now bought and sold among players with backings from other corrupt dictatorships - very much like what Kirsan is used to.
Posted by: Johan at June 2, 2006 16:18

I thought it kind of interesting.

Levy says that the APC should raise the money for tournaments and bring in sponsors.

but the entire problem with fide is the impossibility to get sponsors with kirsan team in charge. so levy so called solution is like going in circles.

also it seems to me that if APC can raise the money for tournaments not only will it be easier to do it without fide it will also be much smarter to do it without fide.

I say congratulations to kirsan you are head of fide.

I say wonderful Kok is head of the World Chess Federation. and all countries wanting to join the World Chess Federation are welcome. An organization meeting will be held soon to decide on the structure of WCF. and Good Bye Fide we do not need any more of your abuse.

Why should all the countries stay in fide. it makes no sense. staying in fide is an act of acceptance of abuse by fide. just like a batter wife, we need to stand up and say no more. we want a divorce.
Posted by: tommy at June 2, 2006 16:42

People need to choose either they want to support Chess or FIDE. You can't do both.
Posted by: Niceforkinmove at June 2, 2006 16:46


Of COURSE FIDE hasn't always been corrupt. For God's sake, Max Euwe used to be the president. And now, a mere 35 years later, we've ended up with a murderer.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 16:46

What makes anyone think things are going to get better with FIDE now? Ilyumzhinov just proved he can crap all over the chess world and get away with it. What's his incentive to change? The election is over and so are any hopes of a better chess championship, etc. Very sad. I don't have the energy to care about this anymore.
Posted by: Derek at June 2, 2006 16:48

Gens dua erimus?
Posted by: Martin at June 2, 2006 16:58

That Levi makes me wanna puke. Here's the explanation of the result: Bessel Kok is honest. Kirsan is a crook.
Posted by: kick kirsan at June 2, 2006 17:02


Are you serious?? Of course it's not Ilyumzhinov's own money! KI's part of the kleptocracy following the breakup of the Soviet Union. It's Kalmykia's money.
Posted by: rdh at June 2, 2006 17:19

Having been in Turin, everything Levy said is correct(he may have exaggerated the impact of global-political considerations on a chess election). African, Asian, and East European federations far out number Western ones.
Posted by: DP at June 2, 2006 17:19

This is great news. The best possible election result.

Rather than having Kok preside over a FIDE with an entrenched infrastructure of corruption being run by the over-represented non-chess playing 3rd world countries now the western chess federations have had a rude awakening the must lead them to the realization it is time for a new federation.

The US, British, French, German and other federations supporting Kok must now realize there can never, will never, be an effective FIDE. There is no chance for an honest election victory, no chance for any meaningful reform. No chance for large corporations to sponsor events held in Libya and Iraq presided over by a saucer-riding Kalmykian dictator.

If our federations are serious about anything other than milking scholastic chance they must now represent the professional players and take the obvious step of breaking away and working with the ACP to form a new federation.
Posted by: Doom and Gloom Dave at June 2, 2006 18:34

People are saying that Kirsan’s claims to having been abducted by aliens are proof of his instability and thus why he should not be FIDE president. How about looking at it another way? Does it take a certain level of instability in mental capacity in order to be so enraptured by chess that one would not only build a “Chess City” in anything other than a tongue-in-cheek manner, but also divert millions of dollars that could help a starving population into chess players’ pockets instead, especially when all free-market indicators show that this price for GM games is vastly inflated compared to what the market will bear naturally?

There seems to be an argument that it is because of Kirsan that corporate sponsorship will never sign on to chess – they do not want to be associated with his lunacy. While compelling, it is also a bit of chicken-and-the-egg: Is it because of Kirsan that chess has no corporate interest, or is it because of no corporate interest that we have Kirsan?

There was a period of time that corporations really gave chess a chance. Intel and IBM, two of the biggest corporations in the world, have already played their hand at attempting sponsorship of chess. They were of course wealthy enough to do it outside of anything from FIDE – they were playing a publicity and marketing game more than chess politics, so it was easy for them to ignore that side of it. Yet both pulled out relatively quickly from sponsorship roles, even though they had poured in a sizable investment in their initial foray. What does this tell us about corporate appeal of chess?

Perhaps it tells us that sponsorship of chess does not produce enough value to these corporations relative to other marketing techniques. It might also indicate that, even with Kirsan out of the picture, chess and chess players are notoriously difficult to deal with and have a great chance of causing public embarrassment to the corporation all on their own. How happy do you think IBM was with Kasparov’s infantile and whiny behavior after losing to Deep Blue? Or Kasparov’s accusations of a vast conspiracy by IBM and outright cheating by using human intervention in their games? Or his constant statements during the match that it was a farce and had no scientific or research value? This is about as insulting as you can get to a sponsor. IBM should feel understandably betrayed, disenchanted, and totally correct to pull out of the chess promotion marketing business. And other companies were sure to note the result.

Kok could have had a much stronger platform if he could prove that corporate sponsorship was indeed lined up and obtainable. Any money Kirsan allegedly paid in the form of bribes, chess equipment (I read somewhere that he gave digital clocks to secure one delegate’s vote), or money for a given federation would be peanuts to a company like IBM, so Kok could have won this ‘money war’ if he really had corporate allies in hand (do you think 12 new IBM workstations is more valuable than digital chess clocks?). He didn’t, and not because corporations first needed to see a change in FIDE (again, the type of corporations chess would need to support it as a sport can easily afford to ‘call their own shots’ completely and ignore all chess politics, as their money dwarfs the amount Kirsan pays), but because they just aren’t interested in paying a million dollars in prize money for 12 games of chess (plus a million more for a venue and handling) that will get either no publicity at all (at least in the countries the company is targeting for marketing) or potentially embarrassing press if Kasparov (or equivalent ego) is involved.

Kirsan is mentally unstable. But it is not just the aliens that prove this. It is also the fact that he still believes chess games are worth millions of dollars, and that it is worth diverting his country’s resources to support this delusion when no other ‘competitor’ in the chess market is bidding 1/10th as much. Chess professionals currently making a living are correct to slobber all over Kirsan’s ass and reelect him if they think that this fool’s money can support them in a lifestyle that would otherwise not even exist at all. I think these are the realists, and those GMs who think the rainbow of corporate sponsorship is always “just within reach, just a little further..” have poor understanding of free markets and their own sponsorship history. This election was about either prolonging the flow of the sucker’s money, or conclusively proving that chess as a business entity could or could not survive on its own. As a believer that chess is not viable, I think that chess fans should in fact be relieved by today’s election results.
Posted by: Stern at June 2, 2006 18:57

Giorno tristissimo.
Posted by: Kogi Kaishakunin at June 2, 2006 19:13

No its not just that he claims to have been abducted by aliens. Its that he is corrupt. Imagine you are doing marketing for major company xyz and have 6 figures go to kirsan for some chess event. Next thing your read in the papers is that the money you actually gave went not to the chess event but to some other cause. Lets see what might those causes be? Well he has his good friends Saddam and Omar. What kind of marketing IDIOT would risk his company being associated with this? Why did those Vegas checks bounce? Did we ever gget an explanation? Where is Kirsans money coming from?

I agree with D&GD this has to tell everyone that FIDE is dead. If Kok has an ounce of integrity he will not lead any companies that trust him to FIDE. It would just be exposing them to a huge risk. I like chess and hope it gets support, but there is no way I would ever honestly tell a company they should have anything to do with FIDE.
Posted by: niceforkinmove at June 2, 2006 19:57

Does anyone have a list of which Federations voted for Ilyumzhinov and which for Kok?
Posted by: Positronicus at June 2, 2006 20:04

If he really was abducted by aliens, then in this cynical world it was brave of him to admit it.
Posted by: gg at June 2, 2006 20:09

Positronicus: it was a secret ballot. However, the vote totals were not that far away from the numbers whose statements of support were on the respective websites, so basically Kok got the federations that were on his site but not many more.

At times like this anyone who tries to talk reasonably will instantly get labeled as a lickspittle, traitor, vicious beast, toady of Kirsan, and so on. Let's stipulate that Tommy will throw a bucket of invective my way now, which will terribly, terribly dampen my spirits, I assure you. But it comes with the territory these days. Anyway, I thought there was a lot of good sense in Levy's article.

Let's point out something here: you may not like a system where every federation has one vote, no matter how many GMs or FIDE-rated players or clubs it has, etc., but really this has NOTHING to do with the case, and if it had been changed before the election to let the delegates vote the number of GMs in their federations, Kirsan would STILL have won, and probably by a much bigger margin than he actually won by. The big federations split between Kok and Kirsan, and the little federations split between Kok and Kirsan, and pretty much in the proportions of the actual vote.

If you go and look at the rightmove06.org website, you will see the US and some western European countries which have some chess strength, such as France, Germany, and the Czech Republic, but there are also plenty of minifederations also, such as Wales, Andorra, Papua New Guinea, and so on. Furthermore, here are some countries you do NOT see listed on Bessel's site: Armenia, China, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Hungary, India, and Belarus, and about eighty or ninety others. Those federations went with Kirsan. They are his base. Obviously nobody is going to put together a rival world chess association without those federations.

The federations that supported Kirsan constitute a clear majority of the chess world however you define it. Guys, Kirsan's election is majority rule. You don't have to explain it on the basis of bribery and boodle. Sometimes the guy you really hate turns out to be actually popular, or at any rate more popular than the guy you like, and your belief that everyone is really itching to be rid of him turns out to be mere wishful thinking.

And there are a heck of a lot of people in this world who really don't want a European businessman to be running yet another thing. You can say that this is foolish of them, and that they should be very glad that a European businessman is ready to come in and perform a civilizing mission, if that's what you think, but if you just ignore people's beliefs and concerns ahead of time and expect that everyone is going to throw flowers at you, that's Rumsfeldism.

Posted by: petrel at June 2, 2006 20:49

I agree with GG. Apparently Kok supporters don't believe intelligent life exists beyond Earth.
Posted by: Leto at June 2, 2006 21:09

So, David Levy turned out to be correct. While I'm dismayed with the apparent cynicism that allows him to to accept the prospect of despotic rule by Kirsan for the foreseeable future, it is understandable that an insider would not want to burn bridges just for the sake of supporting a doomed, quixotic candidate such as Kok.

There is simply no way a reformist coalition from the West will be able to be election. The "Coalition of the self-serving Federations", which can readily be bought off for a few thousands of Euros worth of sops, freebies, inducements, and outright bribes, will always outnumber those federations which would like to see serious reform, and a FIDE led be Officers imbued with characteristics of probity.

I've always felt that FIDE ought to go back to the days when it was under the leadership of Scandinavians or other Northern Europeans. [This would also be a good idea for the United Nations, which had its heyday of moral legitiamacy when Dag Hammerskold was its Secretaty General].

A useul prerequisite for being a leader of FIDE would be that such a person must hail from a country that has a centuries old Western chess tradition.

Posted by: DOug at June 2, 2006 22:09

Not everything is lost, Kok boys.

Your man, Mr Kok, of the Failed Prague Agreement and Failed GMA fame can use his power and connections (assuming he has them) to improve the conditions for professional players. He doesn't need FIDE for that.

Fact is, ANYONE with enough money can get ANY professional player to play in ANY tournament.
If Mr Kok could bring just US $15.000/year to the pockets of the average chess GM, FIDE would become irrelevant overnight. The problem is that THERE IS NO MONEY in chess, and, Kok or no Kok, the game has always needed "sugar daddies" to survive. Capablanca needed one and so did Botvinnik, Petrosian, Tal, Spasski, Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov and Kramnik (the current World Champion being the luckiest one - getting to fohk his sponsor, Mrs. Whatever in Paris).

Facing reality is a good habit.
Posted by: tgg at June 2, 2006 23:12

Just because Kirsan won does not mean that Mr David Levy was correct. Certainly his incredible argument that one country one vote is democracy is insanity. The ONLY thing that mr david levy got right is that kirsan won the election. but that one point is not important to the honesty and integrety of Mr David Levy and Ms Beatrice Marinello.

and to people like Petrel I have an important message. I have no problem with you and other people supporting Kirsan if you truely believe in him and are not selling out your soul for money.

I want right now to focus on me and myself and my chess federation and my group who voted for Kok. I want to say that we do not have to remain in the insane organization called fide. we can go off and do our own thing.

I want to say that it is OK with me for everyone who wants to remain in fide to do so. if you want to be a part of fide that is fine with me. I am not going to say you should join with me.

I simply say. I want to go off and do my own thing. I want to choose to do what I believe is the right move.

I have nothing bad to say about Mr David Levy or Ms Beatrice Marinello. I will say that for me when I think about them I want to puke up. but that is me.

My advice to anyone who is married and in an abusive relationship. I say leave the relationship and get a divorce. you do not have to live every day in abuse.

I use that to help me understand what is right for me to do. I want to leave the abusive relationship with Fide and go out on my own. it might be hard to be on my own. but it is the only path to a good healthy happy life. and I know that after the transition live will transform from a life of abuse to a life of happy freedom.

as someone above said. the result is the best because now we can go off and do our own thing. we can leave the corrupt fide relationship and seek a new healthy one.

we have the players and we have the countries with the financial resources to support chess. we will just have to do what we have to do.

I am totally NOT willing to stay in an abusive relationship with fide for more years until the next election. no way. too many days of abuse. I want a divorce and I am willing to go through what it takes to get the divorce.
Posted by: tommy at June 2, 2006 23:52

Tommy, do whatever you like, divorce or breakup or go on a f***ing spree.

The majority of eligible voters decide the winner. That is what democracy is all about, American style.

If you cannot accept the winner, just leave the organisation. Nobody will miss you. Just don't bother us anymore and good riddance.
Posted by: friendofdemocracy at June 3, 2006 01:02

Anyone know the results of the Continental elections for each of the 5 continents?
Posted by: MF at June 3, 2006 01:05

Kirsan won. World Championship will be destroyed further after the Unification match. I hope the western nations walk out from this corrupt organization upon seeing that nothing will change. And then: FIDE R.I.P.
Posted by: Mr X at June 3, 2006 02:04

The curious thing is that the latest article of David Levy on Chessbase in my opinion is quite accurate on "Why Kirsan Won" and I agree with him about with him in the weaknesses of Mr Kok's campaing.

However, the article should be called instead "Why Bessel lost", because actually there is nothing good about Kirsan mentioned in the article, just the mistakes of the opponent.

My conclusion on this is the following:

If you want to defeat something that is corrupt, there are two options: By being absolutely smart and brilliant to expose the corruption and defects of the opponent or by being twice as corrupt. Bessel Kok, never was that corrupt and never was that smart...
Posted by: Pascual at June 3, 2006 02:22

I realize that the correct grammatical form is: Gentes duae erimus.

If they fail to organize the unification match, for example, the motto may soon become reality.
Posted by: Martin at June 3, 2006 03:19

Yes, I think people are kidding themselves about money flowing into FIDE, or chess in general, once Kirsan is overthrown.

Has Bessel Kok brought sponsorship to chess? I am only aware of his association with Eurotel sponsored events in the 90's. And Eurotel was (and still is) owned by Cesky Telecom, the company Kok was managining at the time! So Kirsan takes money from his own citizens to sponsor chess, Kok takes money from Cesky Telecom shareholders. Yes, there is a moral difference, but it's not as huge as Kok supporters would argue.

Unless, of course, Eurotel got something out of this event of any value, which I doubt. It was most likely corporate welfare for a cause Kok supported.

The bottom line is that chess is a niche sport, like golf. The difference, however, is top execs who control marketing budgets play golf. And enjoy watching it on TV. Chess players tend to be Star Wars fans with little influence on marketing budgets. And who wants to watch a four hour match between two guys sitting in a room?

Also, the players themselves are not very marketable. In fact, they are downright unstable. Kasparov is a good example (re: IBM fiasco), and he's one of the most polished. Does Topolov even speak English? If not, how is he going to reach a mass market, or at least sell the sport to top international execs?

And what are chess players supposed to promote to bring in all the marketing dollars? Tiger Woods can sell Nike golf shoes and golf equipment, etc. What is Shirov or Annad supposed to sell? Prescription glasses? Madras shirts?

Perhaps that's the key. Perhaps chess is destined to be a serious sport in India, China and other developing countries in Asia. But not in the West. And those countries will eventually dominate the sport, thanks to local money, programs, etc.

Let's hope Mig speaks Mandarin, or knows how to market his T-shirts in India. That's where the future of the sport lies. Outside of Asia, chess will most likely remain a niche sport with little money, and little marketing power.

Posted by: JoeChristmas at June 3, 2006 04:48

> Does Topolov even speak English?

I've seen a couple of clips and interviews where he speaks English, though they weren't long enough to tell how fluent he is. He definitely speaks fluent Spanish.
Posted by: David Long at June 3, 2006 06:08

Well, I am sort of glad the the USA has its own chess federation, and does not collect dues for Fide. Other than that, the USCF seems just about as corrupt as Fide. Bad magazine, and worse now!
Posted by: Morrowind at June 3, 2006 06:18

OMG, people who never even heard of TWIC decide about the future of professional chess:

FIDE, an organization of amateurs, for amateurs and run by amateurs?
Posted by: Martin at June 3, 2006 06:27

> Does Topolov even speak English?

Yes JC, it seems you are right. If somebody who obviously follows chess can not even spell correctly the name of the world champion, what can we expect from the golf-playing CEOs.
BTW, you may want to try to learn how to spell it. It’s definitely easier than learning 3 (at least) foreign languages that Topalov speaks.
Posted by: db at June 3, 2006 07:19

I strongly suspect that FriendOfDemocracy and KirsanFan are the same person. Mig, am I right? By the way, KirsanFan, today it's your day. Com'on, make us laugh, leave us a nice and victorious comment !!
Posted by: Ruslan at June 3, 2006 08:26

A MUCH more sensible reflection on the elections (than that turd from Levy):

Whence and Whither FIDE:

A conversation with Yasser Seirawan:
Posted by: kick kirsan at June 3, 2006 08:32

> Does Topolov even speak English?

In this sentence, isn't there a S missing? Isn't it supposed to be something like "Does Topalov even speaks English?" ?

I'm sorry to ask, because english is just my third language, after Russian and French, so in the case I said something stupid, I have some excuses. In the case I'm right, JC, you're my new hero.
Posted by: Ruslan at June 3, 2006 08:33

To Stern:

Very good post. Your analysis couldn't be more on target.
Posted by: tgg at June 3, 2006 08:48

I agree with Stern, but I think we should give Kok a chance. I dont believe in corporate sponsorship either, but maybe (hopefullly) I am wrong on this...
Posted by: marc at June 3, 2006 09:12

I didn't mean any disrespect towards Topalov! I have no doubts that he is a super intelligent person. Who, by the way, supported Kirsan.....

But people keep implying that Kok would bring in the sponsorship, but to my knowledge, he has only managed to get sponsorship from companies he was actually managing! And I gave the specific example of the Eurotel tournaments in Prague.

Levy made an excellent point. If he was the part of corporate sponsorship, where were the corporate sponsors? At least some "letters of intent" from some big names, stating that they would be interested in proper sponsorship once chess is professionally managed.

If chess is going to go big time in Europe and North America, it needs sponsorship. It needs TV exposure. And I just don't see it happening, for reasons I listed in my previous post.

On the other hand, there is potential in developing countries, especially India and China. But last time I checked most developing countries voted for Kirsan!

Posted by: JoeChristmas at June 3, 2006 09:13

that is an interesting question. normally we would say.

Topalov speaks English. as a sentence.

but when asking the question as you propose, we would ask the question.

Does Topalov speak English? as a question and sentence.
Posted by: tommy at June 3, 2006 09:39

To whom was FIDE's corruption not made plain? I don't think this has anything to do with Kok not being "smart" enough to show FIDE was corrupt. I think everyone knows it is but the majority of delgates like it that way. Thats why kirsan won. Lets not kid eachother.

I certainly hope Kok, Federations, and chessplayers have more integrity than to "unify" with that.
Posted by: niceforkinmove at June 3, 2006 09:52

Chess has no need to go 'big time'. It just needs some rational, professional leadership, at least for awhile to set things right. FIDE is a lost cause. It is time now for the World Chess Federation to be created. We should all be writing to our chess federations to let them know that this is our strong desire. We should not be asking them to unilaterally withdraw from FIDE; we should be demanding that they get together with Kok and other sensible leaders from the major chess countries, as well as any other country federation that is interested and form the new WCF.
Posted by: knight_tour at June 3, 2006 09:57


You make a very good point.

In all the hoopla surrounding Kok's candidacy, people tend to forget that Kok ALREADY had a chance to bring sponsorship to chess. He presided the GMA and it was a miserable failure. What makes anyone believe that he'd do better with FIDE?

Stern diagnosed the problem perfectly: perhaps FIDE has Kirsan because there is no real sponsorship, and not the other way around.

This is no different than the Campomanes days. Exactly the same, but it is very convenient to ignore the past and pretend that FIDE problems began with Kirsan.

That said, I want to state that I in no way support or oppose Kirsan. I couldn't care less.

After all, this FIDE mess is only a problem for players trying to make chess into a career. Chess is as enjoyable and as healthy as ever. Millions of people all over the planet play it every day.

Chess doesn't have a problem. The ones with a problem are those trying to make money from the game...
Posted by: tgg at June 3, 2006 09:57

The majority of eligible voters decide the winner. That is what democracy is all about, American style.

Posted by: friendofdemocracy at June 3, 2006 01:02

this election was NOT democracy American Style. the Supreme Court says DEMOCRACY MEANS for each PERSON one vote. One person One vote. Not one state one vote.

what you try to claim is that Rhode Island and Nevada would have one vote the same as California and Texas. We do not run our country your way.

Your name is a contradiction in terms. You want to use the name Democracy but do not what to actually have a democratically elected leader.

Your application of logic is like you walk up to some one and tell them I love you so much I am going to kill you. That is not love. and you and David Levy do not apply democracy.

and it is not I who will leave this blog. it is you who will leave this blog. for this blog supports professional chess and Kok. and I support this blog and its principles.
Posted by: tommy at June 3, 2006 10:57

International federations and councils are not like elections in a country. No International organisation has votes per population. To give you one example:

So what if in next UN council USA votes are 1/5 of those of China or those of India...

If you really want 1 vote 1 person.

Ah, by the way, to the US all these do not apply. If you don't like something you just ignore it.

Call it Kyoto Agreement, Call it UN resolutions,
or as a matter of fact Fide elections... (referring to those that want to leave Fide after the loss)

And of course in democracy you do respect other opinions (and do not tell them to leave from your blog:))
Posted by: derida13 at June 3, 2006 11:20

To answer a question JC asked above about top chess players and endorsements, I always thought Kasparov would have been a good choice to get an endorsement with Montblanc or some other maker of fine pens. All tournament players use pens. If Kasparov could do commercials for Pepsi (Was it Coke?) it certainly wouldn't have been a stretch to see him in a print ad for Montblanc, Waterman or Cross in an issue of, say, Vanity Fair.
Posted by: Petroff at June 3, 2006 11:49

Hello everyone--Mig is still on vacation away from the computer. For those who are addressing comments to him, please be aware that he won't respond until Monday night at the earliest.

Since I've been reading your comments, I've learned a lot from both sides. If anyone feels like indulging me, I'm curious about chess's future as a professional sport, and what could work. It seems like people both sides are most concerned with where the money is coming from to support the sport, both players and competitions. The issue of democracy seem like a red herring (to me at least).

Do the top chess players really need the money from prizes? Are there situations where chess stars endorse cars or watches? It seems like other than sports where the public will pay a lot to watch live games (NBA, NFL, NASCAR) or that will result in good ratings on TV, athletes are pretty much on their own in terms of cutting deals with corporate sponsors to support themselves (unless a national government sees it as in their interest to subsidize the sport, of course).

So, my question: Does the public interest in chess really merit large-scale corporate sponsorships for events or organizations, rather than for individuals that are well known enough to serve as models for commercial campaigns?

Another question: Can chess market itself as something of distinct cultural value so that it can get sponsorships that are more about supporting it as an art rather than as a sport? I’m thinking about corporate sponsorships of music, dance, and theater programs, i.e. Altria (parent company of tobacco-packager Philip Morris), which throws millions of dollars at arts programs to get balance out their bad PR. Would chess ever be able to tap into that sort of thing or am I totally off base?

Another question: Is there a sport that is similar to chess in popularity and format that would serve as an example for how the international governing body works?

Thanks in advance if anyone is interested in answering any of these questions.
Posted by: Ms. Sterious at June 3, 2006 12:37

Chess will never be a rich sport, but it would have little trouble getting decent sponsors if it simply had sustained, professional leadership for a long enough time for sponsors to believe that world chess has become stable and reliable. People who are claiming chess has no such possibilities have never seen any period in which chess was run professionally, so they can't truly judge. Sponsors are staying away not because of chess itself but rather because of how chess is run.
Posted by: knight_tour at June 3, 2006 13:10

Kramnik has endorsed Blancpain watches. (Something to the effect that you only realise how valuable time is when you are running out of it.)
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 3, 2006 14:23

"Time is precious when you don't have enough of it": http://www.blancpain.com/e/ambassadors/?id_sign=7

He uses this little phrase on the top of his homepage: http://www.kramnik.com/default.aspx
Posted by: acirce at June 3, 2006 14:37

Ms. Sterious,

You are to be contratulated for having just posed a highly intelligent, even brilliant, set of questions!

You are right that, rather than the meaningless debate over personalities (i.e. Kirsan vs Kok), for the minority of us who are interested in actually learning something and/or doing something about how chess is run and marketed, it is far more useful to discuss issues such as those you posed. Those very issues did in fact figure in the campaign, although the respective sides might not have been all that articulate in expressing them.

As regards the marketability of chess, there is a person who has posted frequently here and elsewhere, who is a lifelong top-level marketing pro, has worked with at least half the Fortune 500 corporations, and has done numerous marketing projects involving chess. Her name (both screen and real-life) is "Duif."

I won't try to summarize her ideas, beyond saying they are very well-thought-out, and she firmly believes that chess IS marketable. If you look back and review several of her more detailed posts, that will give you an excellent window into a proven professional's way of analyzing the questions you put forward in your comment above.

Your next-to-last question, about whether chess can or should be marketed as an art rather than a sport, is one of my own pet ideas -- one that, I might add, I have never seen discussed publicly before.

I'm surprised to see so many people here say chess cannot or does not attract a public fan base and corporate sponsorship. From what I've read (Chessbase, for example), chess is a rather well-funded and widely followed sport in Europe (both East and West). There are paid chess leagues in at least 3 countries (Germany, France and England), most participating clubs are sponsored by companies. These league teams recruit professional players from all over the world, and are widely advertised and marketed (For instance, Google Almira Skripchenko and you'll find the Chessbase report about her Bundesliga team buying the electronic billboard in Germany's top soccer stadium during soccer games, to promote their chess league before a live audience of 40,000 people.)

The reason so many posters here are ignorant about chess's present-day success and viability as a professional sport in Europe may be: 1) Many who post here, I've noticed, are never serious about what they say. They post solely in order to get "a rise" out of other readers. In other words, they are trolls. 2) Maybe they are American and simply don't know what is going on across the Pond. (I am American myself, and only learned recently and accidentally about chess's high profile elsewhere in the capitalist West.) 3) They are attached to an agenda, and deliberately ignore and strive to suppress any facts they know of, that conflict with the agenda they wish to promote.

In any case, I am NOT saying that just because chess is a commercially successful, paying sport in Europe, means this could be simply copied in AMERICA (if that is the goal).

Rather, I would draw the line leading to eventual corporate sponsorship like this. (For the moment, let's leave the "Kirsan problem" out of this; I will address that later.)

First, corporations will want to sponsor visible stars. Second, chess stars will become visible to (and respected by) a sgement of the broad public that appreciates what it is they do. Third, to appreciate the skill behind what a chess player does, YOU NEED TO HAVE SOME SKILL YOURSELF!!!!!!

Pardon me for shouting. But this seems to be the one point that EVERYONE misses -- the CRUCIAL difference between chess (as a mass-fan proposition) and just about every physical sport I can think of ... even other "mind-sports" like poker, backgammon -- EVEN SCRABBLE! Yes, Scrabble is mentally at least as demanding as chess to PLAY -- BUT NOT TO WATCH! I just watched the National Spelling Bee yesterday on Network TV, and it was exciting and impressive. But just about anyone could watch and get full enjoyment of it...probably even someone who never fininshed high school. NOT SO CHESS.

In my opinion, to get any fulfillment or enjoyment out of watching a high-level chess game (I'm not talking about live-TV coverage here, just reading an annotated game either in print or on-line), a viewer must be at least 1200 strength, as a bare minimum... Actually I'd put the figure closer to 1500. I don't think anyone would dispute my basic point point, although there will be disagreement about just where the numerical (rating) threshold should be.

So, yes, as Duif has pointed out, there may be tens of millions of people in the US alone who play chess from time to time and say they enjoy playing. But what portion of them could watch and enjoy an actual, high-level game? (again, by "watch" I don't mean full-game, live-action). I think the answer is, the portion of them that are above 1200 strength: in other words, 1% or so.

Now, I am an ignoramus about basketball. Ditto golf. But, if I really wanted to (or needed to, such as for business reasons) watch a basketball game or a golf tournament, my guess it it would take me something like 6 to 10 hours of reading to bring myself up to speed -- to transform myself from a complete ignoramus, into a competetent enough fan of those sports, that I could watch the game, enjoy it, and comment intelligently on it to another, presumably more experienced fan.

How does chess compare? My guess is that, for someone to get from knowing the rules of play enough to play a complete game of chess on their own, and raise themselves to even 1200 strength, takes MONTHS of study. In fact they have to study in order to even be able to study -- that is, before you can even open up a chess book, you must teach yourself (or be taught) chess notation.

One or two others on Dirt have gotten as far as the above, and concluded that means there is no hope of ever significantly increasing the audience for chess.

That is not my conclusion. I believe people can be motivated and attracted to start the process of immersion into our beautiful game.

But I believe we will have a better chance of success in that, if we realize at the outset that (based on the description given above) chess has more in common with ballet, opera, poetry, theater, etc. -- with the arts, that is -- than with spectator sports. Strategies for pitching chess to both potential sponsors and potential audiences, should be devised with that in mind.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 15:36

The point of my final paragraph in my above comment, which I should have made explicit, is this: Many of the literary, performing, and fine arts require a substantial amount of education from their audience, in order to be enjoyed. If you go see an opera, you are supposed to read the opera (or a synopsis of the plot) first.

For instance, not long ago I went to a performance of "Porgy and Bess." The acting and singing were of the highest quality -- but I walked out mid-performance, because I couldn't figure out what was going on. AND THAT IS ONE OF THE ONLY OPERAS EVER WRITTEN IN ENGLISH, my own language. Most operas are in Italian. Yet they attract sizable audiences here in America where very few people understand Italian -- but enough people are willing to put in a little effort before they go see the show, so they can get something out of it.

It isn't just opera that requires some prior effort (self-education) on the part of the viewer. The same applies to plays, poetry, classical music, and a host of other intellectual pastimes. If they can manage to attract an audience (and corporate sponsorship), then so can chess.

What it takes is for those of us already in organized chess to go out there and build the audience from the grass roots, one by one.

The "chess-in-the-schools" people think this is what they are doing. My personal feeling is that they are misguided. I get the sense that the gusher of money and effort being poured into children's chess in the US has come at the expense of depriving adult chess of attention and resources. But I can't say this loudly, because I hope to earn some bucks from chess myself, so I can't afford to be seen as bad-mouthing children's chess.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 15:53

If chess has more in common with ballet and opera, then it should come as no surprise that there are no long term sponsors for chess. At least not enough to make the entire venture profitable.

Most opera houses in Europe are significantly subsidized by the state. And in effect, that is what Kirsan is doing to chess. So, perhaps you are right, art is the right concept, and, apparently, we have the right approach.

Posted by: JoeChristmas at June 3, 2006 15:55

I just remembered - not that it is important - that Kasparov has/had a deal with Audemars Piguet. (That being the watch which should make you resign immediately if he puts it back on.)
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 3, 2006 16:02

Right, and in the US, the arts get substantial private funding (primarily corporate).

Since chess in Europe already enjoys corporate sponsorship as a sport, there is no need to abandon the existent, successful sports-based sponsorship model already in use there, in order to substitute the art model and state sponsorship.

Here in the US, the art model seems more appropriate...for reasons having less to do with capitalism vis-a-vis socialism, than simply with differences in chess culture. Evidently, there are enough 1200+ players among the mass public in Germany or the Netherlands, that a sports-style fan base already exists. That doesn't seem true of the US. While at least half of my non-chess acquaintances (maybe more) know how to play chess, I can't imagine any of them taking much interest in the results of a chess event, much less playing over a key game from the event -- indeed, only 1 or 2 people I know outside of chess, even knows chess notation.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 16:21

Jacob is not a very bright individual, who starts his lenghty and faulty analysis from the wrong premise: that chess is either a sort or an art. it is neither. Chess is a game. a game like backgammon, like poker, like go. A game. And that's the way EVERYONE outside chess looks at it.

So, you can imagine what sort of bright conclusions can be reached by a person who doesn't even know what chess really is.

Finally, Jacob must be reminded of the fact that most GM's in Europe are starving. It is NOT true that chess is a viable profession ANYWHERE in the world. Maybe a patzer like him should devote his time to becoming a better player before he tries his hand at directing the future of chess.

What a loser...
Posted by: tgg at June 3, 2006 16:33

It is gratifying that my views have just been endorsed by tgg, in the form of attacking them. For those unfamiliar with tgg, he is a notorious troll who makes a habit of attacking people, usually employing the self-parody tone seen in what he just posted (i.e., calling people "patzer," "not very bright individual", etc.), and neither showing any respect for another person's professional experience or qualificaitons, nor revealing anything of his own experience or qualifications when challenged to back up his views. He is the same person who assigned Duif (a life-long corporate marketing consultant) a "1600 marketing rating"...then when challenged he refused to say whether he himself had ever been paid for any marketing work.

He also has on this board called IM commentary of chess games "confused," and repeatedly called me (among others) a "patzer" when my rating is a matter of public record...but refuses to state his own rating or name (which could be used to look up his rating).

So, the above post is properly read as a resounding endorsement of my views, given the nature of its source.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 16:51

tgg, there's no need to insult people just because you think they are wrong. I don't think phrases like "Jacob is not a very bright individual" and "What a loser..." help your argument one bit, but have quite the opposite effect.

And his name is Jacobs, not Jacob.
Posted by: KB at June 3, 2006 16:58

I called Jacob "not very bright" because he is just that.

Only a NOT VERY BRIGHT person would try to pass off such lies as

1. Duif has worked with more than half of
Fortune 500 comanies

2. Duif is a life-long TOP marketing pro who has done "numerous" projects for chess.

Those are outright lies. She has NOT worked with half of the Fortune 500 companies. She has NOT done any serious or meaningful marketing campaigns for chess. She has expressed some theories about how to market chess. Such theories have been consistently and unequivocally rejected by every professional chess player who ever heard them. In fact, this is the website of this "top level marketing pro":


As you can see, it is an assortment of generic, cheap marketing advice the likes of which litter the internet. I'm NOT a marketing person. THAT'S WHY I DON'T COME UP WITH MARKETING SCHEMES FOR CHESS. I challenege "not-so-bright" Jacob to show a post where I do it.

And yes, he is a lifelong patzer. Some people just don't have talent for chess, no matter how hard they work at it. Jacob is one of them. No shame in that.
Posted by: tgg at June 3, 2006 17:58

I don't know about you, guys, but tgg seems to have a point.
Posted by: PD at June 3, 2006 18:03


You are right in many of the things you say, but there are other ways of expressing your ideas. And Jon, don't call other people "ignorant" about chess in Europe. It is you that is not familiar with the reality of professional chess in our continent.
Posted by: Sergei at June 3, 2006 18:07

Thanks very much, Jon, for your thoughtful comments. It's an interesting problem to try to figure out how to build an audience for a sport/art/game that has a highbrow reputation with the public but is also poorly understood (at least in the U.S.) when played at the highest levels. I’ll take a look at what Duif has said about this.
Posted by: Ms. Sterious at June 3, 2006 18:20

Again, for those (such as "PD", above) who are unfamiliar with tgg's history and modus operandi, you might find it enlightening to read some of the previous exchange between tgg, Duif and myself on another thread here. The link is: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/archives/right_move_not_for_sale.htm

When you go to that thread, scoll down to find the comment from Duif timestamped May 17, 14:15, and continue reading from there. Go at least as far as May 18, 10:16 (a lengthy one from Duif where she sets out her impressive marketing credentials), and look as well at the one immediately above that, timestamped May 18, 10:06, from "flyonthewall" (me). Of course, also read tgg's various comments that fall between those, and after.

Sorry for having to speak for Duif here, but in the interest of truth in advertising, anyone who reads this ought to know that tgg is calling not only me a "liar", but is calling Duif a liar as well in demeaning her professional credentials. Here is how she began her review of her experience, in that thread I linked to above:

"My rating in promotions would be considerably higher than 1600--that was my career....

"My clients included the NBA, the NHL, the PGA, the Olympics, and 12 of the top 20 webstores by sales, as listed by the National Retail Federation. Prior to my retirement due to illness, I was listed in both Who's Who in American Women and Who's Who in the World. My clients wanted results, my projects were structured to produce measurable results, and they always asked me back....

"With regard to chess promotion, my company was paid to do the website at the US Chess Federation for a few years. (We were the ones who ended the contract, btw, because we had to focus on larger projects.) During that time, I implemented the following specific ideas, each of which was tested and measured...."

Note also that Duif is severely disabled, and has said several times on these threads that she is too disabled to take on projects now. That explains why her jaderiver.com site does not have the look of someone actively seeking business. In fact she is not actively seeking business, and probably would have to turn down any sizable project if one happened to come her way.

At any rate, all of you will no doubt find it revealing that tgg blithely dismisses that person's expertise in marketing, on the one hand, yet admits at the same time that "I'm not a marketing person."

Readers, including PD, would be wise to view tgg's judgments about my own chess strength or talent in the same way. That is, tgg, by his own admission (in this case, by default, by refusing to state or document his own chess skills), is "Not a chess person." So, his pronouncements about my chess skills should be read as coming from someone who admittedly has no skill, knowledge or meaningful experience of competing in chess himself.

Tgg is simply someone who likes to type, while having nothing to say. He doesn't play chess, or enjoy chess, or even enjoy commenting about chess, per se. All he enjoys is pissing people off.

In a word, he is a troll. Pay attention to him at your own risk, and at the risk of the integrity of this blog.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 18:34

Anyone inclined to take tgg’s bilious statements about Duif’s credentials (or mine) at face value, might find it enlightening to read the previous exchange between tgg, Duif, and myself. It can be found at: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/archives/right_move_not_for_sale.htm

When you get to that thread, scroll down to the comment from Duif timestamped May 17, 14:15, and read at least as far as the one timestamped May 18, 10:16 (wherein Duif details her professional marketing background). Be sure to read tgg’s intervening comments, and the one from “flyonthewall” (me) timestamped May 18, 10:06.

I regret being put in the position of speaking for Duif here, but readers should know that in tgg's comment on this thread, he is not only calling me a “liar”, but Duif as well. Here is how she began the rundown of her credentials, in the thread linked above:

“My rating in promotions would be considerably higher than 1600--that was my career….

“My clients included the NBA, the NHL, the PGA, the Olympics, and 12 of the top 20 webstores by sales, as listed by the National Retail Federation. Prior to my retirement due to illness, I was listed in both Who's Who in American Women and Who's Who in the World. My clients wanted results, my projects were structured to produce measurable results, and they always asked me back….

“With regard to chess promotion, my company was paid to do the website at the US Chess Federation for a few years. (We were the ones who ended the contract, btw, because we had to focus on larger projects.) During that time, I implemented the following specific ideas, each of which was tested and measured…”

It is revealing, isn’t it, that tgg belittles, indeed dismisses, Duif’s expertise in marketing, and proceeds in the most arrogant terms to assert that his own judgments about marketing are superior -- yet at the same time he blithely admits in his latest comment right here that, “I am not a marketing person.”

“PD” and other readers would be well advised to regard tgg’s judgment of my chess strength or talent, in the same light. That is, what he has said about me, clearly, is to be viewed as coming from someone who is “not a chess person” – that is, someone who lacks any meaningful chess skill or competitive experience. In fact tgg has admitted that, as well (by default, in this instance, through steadfastly refusing to disclose anything about his own chess skill or experience).

Tgg is a person who likes to type, but has nothing to say. It is evident from the anti-chess and anti-people tone of his numerous comments, that he does not enjoy playing chess, or even commenting about chess; his only enjoyment comes from provoking people. He is, in a word, a troll. Pay him any attention at your own risk...and at the risk of the integrity of this blog.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 18:55

Jon, I don't want to become part of your fight with tgg. All I was saying is that he (tgg) made some valid points. For example: you claimed that Duif has worked with "at least half of the Fortune 500 companies". I have to agree with tgg that yours was not a factual statement. You also claimed Duif has done "numerous marketing projects involving chess" which I also know not to be true.

This is not my opinion. I happen to know Duif and her work (which I will not discuss here - for obvious reasons).

That's all I wanted to say. Now, I'm off the war zone :-)
Posted by: PD at June 3, 2006 19:20

Factual error conceded. PD, I do not personally know Duif, but have found her comments very impressive (not to mention her enormous ability to suffer fools gladly -- a skill I evidently lack). So I am merely going by what she has said about herself, both here and on other sites such as the profile of her on Chessbase. For example, above I quoted her description of one paid chess project (which she said lasted a few years). While I don't recall specifics, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the only one. I did err by confusing her doing marketing work for more than half of the top 20 online retailing sites (something she has said she did), for "more than half the Fortune 500."

Whether making a factual error in a posting merits a judgment of "not very bright person" and "liar," let alone "lifelong patzer", is up to others to judge.

On the other hand, I do know that tgg has made many statements that go beyond mere factual errors, and DO lend themselves to judgments about his level of intellect. See for instance the conclusion he drew (on the link given in my previous comment) about GM Yudasin's overall chess income -- and by implication, all GMs' chess incomes -- based on Yudasin's total winnings from the New York Masters series of tournaments.

In case anyone wants to weigh tgg's intellectual level on the strength of that comment, consider: As I read that particular comment of tgg's (please someone correct me if I am wrong), tgg was assuming that Yudasin's entire chess income was derived from that tournament series: held just one evening a week, with first prize of $300 or $400 or thereabouts, depending on how much outside donations came in to supplement the participants' entry fees. (The events formerly were held every Tuesday night and took 4 to 4.5 hours total; discontinued for awhile, they have since returned on a monthly schedule.)

Yudasin's earnings from that one series, as related by tgg himself, work out to a little over $40 per hour. This hourly rate comes not just from the events he WON, but all the New York Masters series he played in, win or lose -- according to tgg's own enumeration, i.e., "385 games to make 16 grand" (tgg's own words). I'm sure I don't need to tell the rest of you that GM Yudasin has won many, many other tournaments besides those 4-round, G/30 New York Masters events, during this same period of time. And I know he has several regular students, who also pay at least $40 per hour. Within the past 4 months, I attended 2 of his Marshall Chess Club lectures. I presume that the club paid him for those (he is the club champion, after all).

By the way, in a later comment on that same thread, tgg revealed that GM Nakamura, in that same New York Masters series, earned very near $50 per hour played (again, this presumably includes not only those tournaments he WON, but all those he played in, whether he took home a prize or not), and GM Ehlvest earned a little under $40 per hour.

And this was in the US, where there is no commercial OR governmental sponsorship!

Sergei from Europe, would your GMs over there consider it a pitiful income to earn $40 per hour in prize money for playing? (Of course this is in addition to any income earned from teaching chess, book royalties, etc.)

When I questioned tgg's reasoning in that other thread, and cited the separate example of a relatively inactive IM (not GM) I know who earns at least $25,000 per year from chess (while earning the bulk of his income from another full-tiime profession unrelated to chess), tgg merely repeated his statement, said, "These are the facts," and again called me a liar by implying that I was "making these numbers up."
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 20:03

See, Jacob?

You are not very bright, are you?

A few facts to "massage" (but don't get too tired):

1. Yudasin is the TOP EARNER for that tournament. His TOP 77% score translates to $42.25/hr for that tournament.

2. Yudasin is a former world-class player, who hasn't won any significant tournaments in quite a few years. This tournament is probably his main source of TOURNAMENT INCOME.

3. In order for Yudasin to keep his $42/hr TOURNAMENT RATE, he must keep on winning, something we know can't go on (unlike REAL professions, where your earning power remains stable for many years).

4. The $42.25 rate doesn't take into account the cost of tranportation, meals, etc.

5. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, Yudasin is the "lucky" one. Other GM's hourly rates are significantly lower. Perhaps you can calculate the average rate for GM's in that tournament.

Check a few:

GM Blatny $15/hr
GM Kamski - $32hr
GM Benjamin $27/hr
GM Nakamura $50/hr
GM Miton $17/hr
GM Novikov $32/hr
GM Stripunski $29.50/hr
GM Wojtikiewitz $29/hr
GM Shabalov $14/hr
GM Ibragimov (currently representing the USA in Torino) comes in at the LOWER-THAN-MINIMUM WAGE rate of $5/hr.

The list goes on and on...

Anyone semi-familiar with chess in the USA (and having a bit of common sense - which you obviously lack) knows that chess is NOT a real profession in this country.

But, then again, not-so-bright individuals like you would deny the sun's existence.

Just look at the embarrasing admissions you had to make to PD when confronted with your transparent lies. You are a dim patzer, Jacob.

I won't waste my time with you anymore.
Posted by: tgg at June 3, 2006 21:36

All good facts, tgg...except for the inconvenient little fact that, within one recent 6-week span, WITHOUT EVEN INCLUDING ANY WINNINGS FROM that New York Masers series, here is some more Public, Documented chess income of GM Yudasin. (The following is all exclusively from the period of Nov. 15 thru Dc. 31, 2005):

Marshall Chess Club Championship $2,000 (not bad for two weekends' work)

Marshall Fall Futurity $500

Empire City Open $417

10 Grand Prix Points Tonight $155

That's a little over $3,000 you forgot about (in a 6-week period).

True, Yudasin is more successful than most at these weekend Swisses. But, by your obviously bogus and foolish attempt to define a chess pro's income as ONLY that income won in competitive tournaments, you are showing how ignorant (more likely, insincere) you are. Naturally, if pros' income was derived only from competitive prizes won, it would be a) uncertain, and b) by definition, limited to the few most successful ones.

You continue to ignore the income these pros earn from all other chess sources, such as lessons, book and CD royalties, paid league play (Bundesliga etc.), and those tournaments for which they receive appearance fees and/or substantial guaranteed prizes even for the bottom finishers (such as the recent U.S. Championship, where the lowest-scoring among the 64 participants still got about $2,200).

In fact, my own income from chess sources other than prizes exceeds my prize income...and I'm not even a pro.

Other readers of this blog already know all these basic facts. Only to you, tgg, is it news. I am making the effort to inform you only because I pity you.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 3, 2006 22:17

Jon, I admire how you have handled the troll. Ignoring them entirely might still be the best policy. However, that is easier said then done.

Reading this troll's mental diarrhea and insults reminds me of a pertinent Q&A I once heard from a Philosophy professor: What is the difference between genius and stupidity?

Genius has limits.
Posted by: Petroff at June 3, 2006 23:45

"I was listed in both Who's Who in American Women and Who's Who in the World."

These are books that send annoying mailings to nearly everyone in any kind of profession, and if you send in your bio for publication they KNOW you will buy a copy later for $100.

Reminds me of Kirsan claiming to be a 'full member of the New York Academy of Sciences', which costs $130 subscription, no qualifications.

Of course, as a member of the National Geographic Society, until I tired of the colorful magazine ....
Posted by: ggg at June 4, 2006 13:22

More great moments in chess sponsorship history:

“David Norwood is someone we knew little about and found him delightfully refreshing. He has incisively funny things to say about chess players. My favorite was when he was relating the story of Ivanchuk standing there with his 20K prize check from Intel. The winner then launches an attack on computers in chess tournaments! Duh …”

(From the May 2006 issue of Chess Life
“Looks at Books” Article
Review of “The Day Kasparov Quit and Other Chess Interviews”. The "Duh" is in the actual article, and not added by me.)

On another note: One person's troll is another person's hilarious, straight-forward bulls**t-exposer. tgg is probably losing people with his tone. It is not the path I personally would take to unmask a fact-challenged, know-it-all dogma spewer who seems to think that volume of words can conceal an utter lack of objectivity and research. But I do know that tgg's hit ratio of truth/nonsense is much higher than the average here, even if he is rough about it, and thus why I look forward to his posts. Not to mention that they are entertaining (admit it, you don't skip them).

And before you ask, no, we are not the same people. I know Jacobs will find it utterly impossible that two people can actually exist that question his absolute enlightenment in all things chess and beyond, or rail against his declarations-first, facts-second style, but it's true. In fact, there might even be three or four of us on this planet. Shocking, I know.
Posted by: Stern at June 4, 2006 16:56

Stern, I never suspected that you and tgg were the same person.

But I'm glad you've raised the subject, because I have been meaning to warn you to take care who you jump into bed with. Since you seem to enjoy reading tgg's style, i.e.: "I'm not a XYZ person (chess player, marketing person, whatever), therefore I can freely call those who devoted their professional life to XYZ (IM's, authors, marketing consultants with lengthy track records) stupid, ignorant, etc., without having to show any knowledge, expertise or logic of my own,"....you might want to think about what will happen when this loose cannon decides to take YOU on in YOUR field: poker. (Something I once made the mistake of doing vs. you.)

When he starts declaiming about how Stern doesn't know anything about poker, don't think you can "expose the bull**it quotient" by challenging him to a one-on-one contest, much less challenge him to show some experience or knowledge of what he's talking about. I tried that and he's not taking.

Tgg applies his own loony standards to others, using socially (not to mention intellectually) challenged language that even you can't fail to notice. When it comes to applying any standard to himself, he's nowhere to be seen. Think about that before I send him the URL of your favorite poker-blog.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 4, 2006 17:34

So, the FIDE Congress is over.... anyone knows what's been said about the Candidates Matches?
Posted by: acirce at June 5, 2006 11:49

Regarding Jon Jacobs' comments:

Whatever "box" you put chess in -- sport, art, game, etc. -- the important thing (in a discussion of corporate sponsorship) is not the name you give it but its characteristics. Does it have more in common with: (a) football, basketball, hockey, etc.; or (b) opera, classical music, and other fine arts? (Same question for poker, backgammon, etc.) Because it does make a difference.

Several years ago, I remember contrasting two different sponsorships by Mobil Oil: the Cotton Bowl (American collegiate football), and Masterpiece Theater. Mobil was not sponsoring the two for the same reasons. It did not advertise in connection with them the same way. The sponsorships weren't even handled by the same part of the overall Mobil organization.

The Cotton Bowl was seen as a marketing effort. Televised on one of the major TV networks. Funds came out of operating divisions' advertising budget; prominent display of Mobil's name in the stadium, recognition during the game in TV and radio ads, as well as in extensive ads BEFORE the game; etc., etc.

Masterpiece Theater was not seen as a marketing effort. Funds came out of Mobil Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable/educational/etc. organization, rather than the operating divisions' advertising budget. A brief mention of Mobil ("funds for this program were provided by . . ." and inclusion in the title) at the very front and no other ads during the program. Televised on PBS, which has very low viewership compared to the commercial networks.

When Masterpiece Theater and the Cotton Bowl came calling on Mobil for money, I guarantee you they had entirely different approaches to convince the sponsor.

And I think Jon Jacobs is correct about which type of sponsorship event chess is closest to.
Posted by: Bob at June 5, 2006 15:02

The election speeches are up on the Chessbase site. It is clear that Kok does not understand the realities of non-West elections at all.

He comes across to non-West delegates as one who makes promises before the election and does not deliver afterwards. At least Kirsan delivers chess clocks before the election. The only benefit to non-West voters ever are these 'chess clocks before the election', in virtually any non-West election of any kind.

Talking about lofty programs for execution after the election is a nobrainer for just about any non-West delegate, it is simply a cheating attempt in the cheapest possible way.

No wonder the big landslide victory.

P.S. I was born and raised in a non-West locale, and have lived in the West for most of my life now.
Posted by: do@re.mi at June 5, 2006 18:02

do@re.mi: Succinct, astute, and correct.
Posted by: Charles Milton Ling at June 5, 2006 20:12

JJ: “Stern, I never suspected that you and tgg were the same person. But I'm glad you've raised the subject, because I have been meaning to warn you to take care who you jump into bed with.”

I know it’s hard for you to believe that there are other people in this world capable of evaluating the world on their own, and are comfortable with doing so without your specific supervision and all-seeing judgment to avoid stepping on landmines we ‘mortals’ are blind to, but we do exist. Like most dogma-spewers, you seem more interested in telling others what to think and how to behave based on your own absolute perception of the world while ignoring the simple fact that others who might disagree with your notion are in fact correct, or at least as legitimate as your standards are (which for you boils down to: JJ’s Opinion > Other’s Facts). Since I judge you as one that is not open-minded or rigorous in studying before speaking, you can keep your opinions on how I should run my life to yourself – it’ll save us both a lot of time.

JJ: “Since you seem to enjoy reading tgg's style, i.e.: "I'm not a XYZ person (chess player, marketing person, whatever), therefore I can freely call those who devoted their professional life to XYZ (IM's, authors, marketing consultants with lengthy track records) stupid, ignorant, etc., without having to show any knowledge, expertise or logic of my own,"....you might want to think about what will happen when this loose cannon decides to take YOU on in YOUR field: poker. (Something I once made the mistake of doing vs. you.)”

I enjoy tgg’s style because it is funny and honest. I DISAGREE with your assessment of his attitude (your quotes above). He comments because he believes he is right – just like you do. And if you think only GMs can comment about chess, or only Steven Spielberg can comment about the quality of a movie you see, or only a world class chef can tell you if you like the food you are eating, or any such nonsense, then the world you live in must be awfully quiet. No wonder why you like the sound of your own voice so much. And TRUTH has no ‘experts’ to exclusively draw comments from. tgg was *correct* in pointing out your extreme exaggeration of Duif’s marketing experience just to bolster your argument. He is also *correct* in his characterization that professional chess is, save for a very select few, mostly just a poor living with no real future (Kok himself laments this in his FIDE speech). While perhaps more disputable, IMHO he is also correct about the “Who’s who” book / marketing scam that you seem to hold up as a badge of honor – further allowing me to judge (for myself) who is worth listening to and who is not. So why shouldn’t people listen to him? Because he called you a name? Grow up.

Poker is not my field of expertise, it is just a profitable extension of it. And if you think there aren’t “loose cannons” in the poker world, you again just show your own ignorance. The numbers due to current popularity alone would indicate that poker has more, not to mention the environment it is played in compared to chess.

The difference is that I do not take differing opinions as a personal affront because I know that the most interesting opinions capable of adding to my knowledge are usually the ones I haven’t explored myself and don’t already share.

I may disagree and debate with others at times, but I don’t use the cowardly tactic of trying to put a label (“troll”) on the other person to get others to ignore him out of hand, a stupid mob-mentality trick. I TRUST others enough in their own intelligence and evaluation abilities to leave that judgment for themselves. This is what you utterly lack.

And I do have a “loose cannon” that constantly confronts me with barrages of nonsense. It’s you.
Posted by: Stern at June 5, 2006 20:32

Who all got the chess clocks?

What other promises were delivered before the election?
Posted by: Niceforkinmove at June 6, 2006 11:15

More on professional chess player incomes in addition to prize money: Here is what one US-based organizer said recently about appearance fee amounts.

This should be of interest, because I've heard it said that such amounts usually are kept secret (although that may be true only for the top level, the super-GMs who negotiate their fees on a very individual basis). I have no idea how the amounts mentioned below compare with the going rates outside of the US.

"My rule of thumb for GM's over 2450 is to compensate them $1000 but they are on their own for travel, lodging, meals. Now I'm lucky that I have 4 resident GM's in Chicago but also we get a lot of traveling GM's that come through looking for extra cash to pick up and are staying with people so their travel costs are really near nil really. GM's under 2450 get $500 (btw all rating is FIDE).

"Now if they are someone special then your fees will rocket up. I know some GM's whose appearance fees are $10k but they are top 15 in the world. I know some US GM's that think they can charge $3-5k plus expenses, but you don't see them playing much in these types of events."
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 6, 2006 11:21

According to the Kirsan interview at http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=316 Kok told him after the election that Kok's election campaign was modelled after American patterns.

My comment in the same vein as in my posting in the above: this was the fundamental mistake, Kok should have modelled his election campaign after non-West patterns, since the FIDE election is a non-West election.
Posted by: do@re.mi at June 9, 2006 08:45

Dear Kirsan,


By the way I couldn't help noticing on the FIDE's rather dull public website that I have been hoisted from the Federations's archives of the common patzers and elevated to the more prestigious 10 Most Wanted list. Is this coincidence, or are you back on the case? If so, goody goody, cause I need to come out of retirement and return to public life. I imagine you sitting in a dark basement room bent over papers and computer screens. Is that accurate? Please tell me truly, Komrad Iliumzhinov. Regards, your old pal Garry Kasparov, GM.
Posted by: Frank at June 21, 2006 19:29

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 2, 2006 7:57 AM.

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