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Karpov to Fight the System?

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The shenanigans have started early in this year's election for FIDE president. Although he has ignored my advice to go with "Karpov: No Aliens" as a slogan in favor of the Obamavich "A Champion for of Change," which has a cute double meaning but fails to address the key issue of the current leadership of FIDE being totally bonkers. (Anyone else catch David Kaplan's Russian interview, in which he says that 1) every language has words for "mother," "sex," and "chess" and 2) FIDE is coming, any day now, with a big social networking platform. Oh yeah, can't wait. And he's supposed to be the sane one, the businessman brought in to shape things up. Doing a heckuva job, Kappy.)

But the real news is that there's a big battle going in Russia for the nomination of the federation for FIDE president. It's been at full boil for a while now and a meeting was scheduled for mid-May for the RCF's supervisory council to hash it out and vote, or find a legal way to remain neutral and allow both Ilyumzhinov and Karpov to run. Meanwhile, both candidates had backup plans. Karpov has already been nominated by various federations, including France and Germany. Since he was a member of teams in those countries he is part of those federations. A loophole, but at least one that favors someone actually playing chess. You know, chess. Ilyumzhinov was preparing his own loophole of having current FIDE Presidential Board nominate him, which is attractively syllogistic.

Suddenly today, RCF head Arkady Dvorkovich, who just took over in a big reorg last February, pops up with a letter and a news conference saying they are endorsing Kirsan. Eh? What about the big meeting and the vote? He said he "talked to several council members on the phone," which doesn't exactly fill the requirements described in the new RCF charter. So from what I was hearing before the Russians went to bed, this is a sneaky move from Ilyumzhinov (who is apparently buddy-buddy with Dvorkovich) to preempt the RCF vote and try to win without a fight. Of course Karpov could likely still run anyway, using the aforementioned loophole, but obviously if he can fight this on the proverbial Russian front, he should.

Wow, a FIDE election with sneakiness and shenanigans, who would have imagined? I hope Karpov has the bottle, as the Brits say, for the street-fighting necessary to take this to the end. We know he's a hell of a competitor, but going up against his own federation isn't really his style. (And Dvorkovich is also an adviser to Medvedev.) I hope he does, because from what his website says he's putting together the resources to fight the sort of battle Bessel Kok couldn't afford to fight last time. You know that type of battle, the one in which 20 boxes of sets and clocks and 40 business class tickets spread out in the developing world is enough to match the votes of all of Western Europe and a million players. I honestly don't blame the barely-existent federations for grabbing a little something the only time anyone ever pays any attention to them. It's changing that, and actually working with them and developing them year in year out, that is why Ilyumzhinov needs to go. And the sponsorship. And the time controls. But mostly the aliens.


yeah... and lets hope nobody votes for danailov for the euro presidents chair

by the way there is also this

You earthlings are so prejudiced!

Well put, Mig.

Humans of Earth: Do not worry, we are only here "To Serve Chessplayers"...

I think the comments are unfair. There is no real difference betweein the way Kirsan runs FIDE and the way Goichberg runs USCF. If we are going to support Goichberg then we have to support Kirsan.

I am shocked that Goichberg used the same tactics as Kirsan to stop USCF from supporting Kirsan. I guess there is only room in the chess world for one Goichberg and Kirsan must be dealt with as he dealt with Polgar.

I hope Goichberg is not going to spend another half million dollars of members assets on Kirsan.

Kirsan and Goichberg. What goes around comes around. Live by the sword then die by the sword.

I really do not understand how we can criticize Kirsan if we accept the same behavior from Goichberg. Kirsan puts money into chess. Goichberg drained all the money out of USCF. Seems to me that Goichberg is worse for chess than Kirsan.

Our first job should be to clean up the USCF before we cast blame upon FIDE.

Did I miss something? Was Karpov not, in his day, a product and golden child of "the (totally corrupt) system"?

First of all, this is an FIDE election, which will already have its shenanigans. Second of all, the election's most important fight is within Russia and who gets its vote - and I don't think anyone expects that to be without controversy.

I saw Mark's piece before I posted, but it was inaccurate in several respects. We talked about it and he said he made a few changes. The basic thing is not to confuse two separate things. One, is this Russian nomination legit and is there any way to fight over it's legality? Two, can and will Karpov continue his campaign if the RCF nomination of Ilyumzhinov clears those hurdles?

What does seem clear to me is that it's not a simple case of the RCF nominating Ilyumzhinov and that's it. They are supposed to have a debate and a vote and it's quite possible Dvorkovich overstepped his bounds with this on behest of Ilyumzhinov to try to preempt that debate, hoping no one would fight back. That's the question now. Karpov has no qualms going up against Ilyumzhinov, but he might have a few about going rogue against the Russian federation. I'm told his people want him to go after Dvorkovich and see if they can force the planned meeting and vote. We'll see in the morning.

Now why is Russian federation support so important. I assume each Federation just gets one vote (chessvibes report earlier told this http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/fide-elections-meaningful-and-meaningless-support/ ). So Russia however big and important it is just gets one vote.

Do you want to translate that David Kaplan does chess link, asks google? Why not?

They will destroy the game.

One of the ideas FIDE - creating a kind of chess social network Chess line. A person is registered Turns " account ". On the day people must spend a minimum of three minutes for the virtual board, playing in his " box ". " Square "includes the players with the same rating, so that the parties are supposed to take place on an equal footing. Tournaments will be conducted, for winning the " squared "paid prize - $ 1 million

" We have found two banks that are willing to invest in this project. But in addition to finance, we will bring players the stars: Madonna, the Dalai Lama ... More than 300 " celebrity "have agreed", - explained Kaplan. According to him, the projects will be implemented in the fall. Besides Chess line plans FIDE create the largest chess centers in six major cities around the world in which every year will be tournaments such as tennis Grand Slam tournaments.

To what extent do the actions of national FIDE delegates represent the will of their national associations? How do we ascertain the will of the association members? And how is this converted into their delegates' votes? How much freedom of action does the FIDE delegate have?

These answers, imho, must be the kernel of any efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in FIDE elections. And it applies to all Federations.

The official statement from the Russian Chess Federation: http://russiachess.org/content/view/4654/411/

They point out that their support for Ilyumzhinov is conditional - the headquarters of FIDE should move to Moscow, the ruling officials in FIDE should be rotated and the championship cycle should be brought to order, though quite how isn't specified. They "welcome" competition from Karpov :)

An Ilyumzhinov advisor, Berik Balgabaev, is quoted as saying: "The support of our home federation, perhaps, will add about 10-15 votes. But, believe me, they won't be decisive". He says this election will be less interesting than the last - and Karpov can't hope for more than 30 votes. http://www.kommersant.ru/doc-y.aspx?DocsID=1358037

I just read Kaplan's interview - hilarious stuff! And inspiring...

"After all chess is such a simple game and most importantly... it's the only game in which you start off with both players being equal and having the same chance of winning".

Who would have thought I'd have a 50:50 chance against Anand!?

Of course this is the problem with his poker analogy. Apart from the gambling angle that chess will also never have the huge difference with poker is that total amateurs can, at least in the short term, defeat the best players in the world. The element of luck means you can win playing like an idiot, which sadly doesn't tend to work out so well in chess...

Mig is right. Being a player in a 'third world' country and living in it I can say FIDE has done sh*t for us (at least the way I see it in my country). Those 'clocks' and 'tickets' FIDE sends to the 'third world' so that some guy like Kirsan can get elected again...well, players on the ground never see any of that. It all disappears in the black hole that is the local officials pockets. It's a deadly combination, an evil FIDE president (Kirsan) and corrupt local 'third world officials'. The biggest losers are not the naive 'western/first world' players (very naive lot by the way) but the players on the ground right here in the 'third world'. Almost zero chess opportunities for us (no FIDE tornas etc etc nothing)

If Karpov can win this thing somehow then I am all for it. But it's probably impossible. Kirsan & Yazici (don't forget him, Kirsan is winning because of this guy, he's invented some wonderful carrots for third world chess officials...I wonder why no one's talking about him) have built up their third world networks very well. Guys like me can see it in action live on the ground whereas you 'first world' folk can only theorize about it.

'Third world' chess countries need a FIDE president who will work to develop us and give us opportunities to grow. Kirsan & Co, I repeat, have done sh*t. What they have done is prop up local chess officials who in turn just behave like mini-Kirsans back home.

Good that Mig mentions that Karpov will dish out 'tickets, clocks' etc...that's the ONLY way to win the FIDE elections.

Good that Mig mentions that Karpov will dish out 'tickets, clocks' etc...that's the ONLY way to win the FIDE elections.

In the West the only way to win it is by the power of ideas. Therefore, this model is definitely superior.


who is Kasparov rooting for? Would Kasparov support Karpov? That would be funny.

Zoran, for this one, 'ideas' will have to go to the dogs and you will have to use 'clocks' to win. Otherwise you will keep foaming at the mouth every time the 'superior model' gets vanquished in the General Assembly. When it comes to FIDE elections, and as long as the likes of Kirsan are in control, the 'power of clocks' is always going to be 'superior' to the 'power of ideas'.

Thus far the 'west' has been idea-less. Good that Karpov and his 'supporters' have finally woken up to the smell of fresh clocks. This is what should have been done in 2002, 2006 etc. Only when you get rid of Kirsan using his own weapons against him will utopian stuff like 'power of ideas' be able to work.

But then again, the 'west' maybe behind the curve when it comes to 'clocks'. Kirsan and Yazici have expanded the scope and have moved on to things like 'youth programmes' etc...bigger things than clocks. It is possible if Karpov stick only to 'clocks' and such other mundane chess paraphernalia of which 'third world officials' have become bored with (how many 'clocks' can you keep rcving election in election out?) then even these may not win the day!!! Whatever plan Karpov has will have to be smart. Maybe he is already time-barred when it comes to 'clock implementation'? If so, maybe Karpov should quit the race and let Kirsan win unopposed and instead start planning NOW for a much better 'armed' 2014 campaign.

Does anyone know if any prominent chessplayers have openly supported Karpov's bid? I think some support from the perennial top ten would go a long way.

I may have missed something here about Karpov. I remember when Kasparov, Gulko, Albert and others spoke about Anatoly in less than admirable terms.

Is this just another example of choosing the lesser of two evils, or were previous criticisms
of Karpov unfair and inaccurate?

Karpov Letter Regarding Dubious Dvorkovich Move

among others:
I must state that the world chess community has been cheated in the most blatant manner.(..)
The argument proffered by Mr. Dvorkovich, that he consulted with some Council members by telephone, is ridiculous. Instead of telephone calls, the responsibility of the President is to organize meetings with all 32 elected members for a thorough debate followed by a vote.


I would say both have changed a little (grew older, sadder, wiser or whatever) and now both know that improvements in the chessworld will not come from guys like the current fide president.

The buying of thirld world votes will not stop if Kirsan loses the election, it's a result of the current system and will continue unless it's changed by FIDE, which is unlikely, no matter who's on charge.

The social networking site is probably just election propaganda, but it will be fun to watch if they actually try.

And you're underestimating the appeal of aliens. Karpov shouldn't go for a No Aliens slogan, on the contrary, he should propose Invader Zim as the official FIDE mascot. Who wouldn't want a FIDE like that?

thanks @ chesshire cat for that article

Karpov has been outplayed already on the board of life by the great leader Kirsan.

All such hate on this blog when speaking of Kirsan please control your anger it is improper to attack sides like this. It only weakens your points as feeble as they may be. We all see you are blinded by hate and anger this will lead you to a side of darkness.

Karpov may have indeed played chess to a OK level but he was defeated by Kasparov and this directly caused the split of chess titles. Karpov has proven he cannot protect chess if he becomes president who knows how many titles will appear?? Will we allow such blunder to happen chess will devolve to a 49 square game due to Karpov taking off a row and column on the board.

Do you want this to happen? If not please show support for Kirsan, make website honoring his glory and pride in chess. Who was able to fix the problems caused by Karpov and Kasparov?

The answer of course is rhetorical it was great leader Kirsan that is who and in his glorious victory he has prospered chess so greatly we owe him a debt of gratitude.

FIDE preisdentship for life is a fitting reward for such a fitting man.

Excellent :)

Why only for life? :)

Getting back to one of Mig's points and, I quickly perused the Karpov campaign website yesterday and I expected to see some allusions, however diplomatic, to Ilyumzhinov being a corrupt nutcase who is an embarrassment to organized chess. I couldn't find any. Presumably Ilyumzhinov IS the issue, so why the reticence? Perhaps the Karpov team believes that the issue is so obvious that it doesn't even need to be stated. But even in elections that are far more genteel than FIDE elections, subtlety usually isn't rewarded.

Karpov's experience both as a great strategic player and as the former fair-haired beneficiary of the Russian/FIDE political machine provides a fascinating backdrop for this slugfest. I suspect Karpov and his team are not going to be surprised or otherwise caught flatfooted by the antics and dirty tricks that have already begun. That may not suffice to win, but it will make things far more interesting.

well today it says something about them, so karpov might be gearing up:

This entire charade does little more than demonstrate the desperate situation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov after 15 years of his inglorious rule of FIDE. The many intrigues and scandals visited upon FIDE by the Kalmyk President have made it impossible to attract the financing of chess competitions by legitimate corporate sponsors.

"This I will do in full agreement with the tasks placed before our nation by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev."

Why did Karpov conclude his letter with this statement? What does it mean? It seems to me to be the only off-key note in an otherwise terrific response. I may well be missing some context, but presumably others outside Russia may be similarly perplexed.

So much slander on these blogs. Kirsan has brought forward a match for 2 million euro that is excellent just this year alone. This is right before your eyes this moment and yet you cannot see his work. How blind these attacks, yet the light of the world shine bright on the deeds of Kirsan not allowing this blindness to spread except for among those who dwell in the darkness of hate and anger.

He organized by himself unification of all chess titles and the knocked out tournament where Anand was honored to win the right to guard president Kirsan chess trophy.

These acts are akin to the deeds of gods not men. All should realize this and be respectful and not slander in such ways. It is cowardly. Instead you should focus more on Karpov and his henchmen organized to spread the seeds of misinformation and hate. Though he will soon see he reaps not the victory he so seeks but the scorn and ridicule due those who oppose Kirsan.

I thought exactly the same - the problem is that in the Russian version the last sentence isn't really sentence - it just continues the thought. The English fixes that but obscures the meaning.

I'd propose: "...I believe I can reform this organization by putting intellectual modernization and a cleansing of corruption at the forefront - the same challenge that President Dmitri Medvedev has set the Russian nation."

That interpretation makes sense. thanks

"These acts are akin to the deeds of gods not men."

If this is yet another allusion to Ilyumzhinov's personal intergalactic freak show, I really don't think you are helping your cause.

His cause is humour, and he is helping it quite well :)

Yeah. Humour of a kind.

The FIDE-Junta has just about carried out its coup, eh?

Our duty is to accept our voiceless fate.

Of course this may not have anything to do with the election but did anyone else notice that Argentina's players are being rated again. They've been missing from the FIDE list since January (this is always unpaid dues) but suddenly returned a couple of weeks ago.

Anyone know where the money came from?

I agree with the conclusion at TWIC that Karpov has no chance, unfortunately. For one, now that Kirsan has cheated to make the first RCF move, it is Karpov who is viewed as trying to fight back on 'technical' grounds.

On the 'conditions', Kirsan will have no problems complying without losing any votes. As far as the voters are concerned, the FIDE Headquarters could be in Moscow or on the South Pole, staffed with pinguins.

"As far as the voters are concerned, the FIDE Headquarters could be in Moscow or on the South Pole, staffed with pinguins. "

At least then we'd have a real Emperor.

The Argentine federation doesn't provide details in its site, so I'd say there was no payment involved. Its authorities wouldn't have missed the chance to announce a payment because the debt with FIDE was one of the main points the opposition held against them in the recent election.
Maybe it's related to a recent change in the federation system that will force players to pay an affiliation fee to FADA if they want to play in rated tournaments (or something like that, the details aren't clear yet).

There were several other federations without ranking, are they back on the list too?

> As far as the voters are concerned, the FIDE
> Headquarters could be in Moscow

I'm not sure about that. Functionaries tend to be sensitive when the biggest federation tries to grab a piece from their cake. Power players like Yazıcı or Makropoulos won't be happy about it either. It's a strange way to endorse a candidate and shoot him in the foot at the same time.

Quite an in-depth interview with Karpov on the decision in Komsomolskaya Pravda: http://tinyurl.com/3xg5e5l

Oh my God! It's a cookbook!

So if Kirsan can't meet the Russian Federation's demand, will they then support Karpov instead?

If they do support Karpov, will they demand the same things from him? Or the demand is only to Kirsan?

All and all, a smart move by the Russian Federation.

The things they demanded were taken from Karpov's campaign. In any case it looks as though it was all agreed in advance with Ilyumzhinov. He almost immediately sent a letter thanking Dvorkovich and saying he'd accept the conditions: http://www.regnum.ru/news/1276811.html

Bartleby - the functionaries will be even more upset by the agreement to "rotate" the top positions in FIDE!

If only they took one more tiny bit from Karpov's campaign, i.e. Karpov for FIDE President, as demand to Kirsan.

I fully agree with Mig: aliens, normally, should be one of the key issues of Karpov's campaign.
(And Kok could done better in 2006).
Amazingly, I did not know untul summer 2006 that Ilyumzhinov speaks about his meetings with aliens. (Then, I heard that at the Ilymzhinov's press conference in Foros: he confirmed that he contacted these guys). These stories are not widely known even now.

Ilyumzhinov, speaking about his contacts with aliens:

video in Russian:

interviews-text in Russian:

Kirsan on the alien abduction. In English.


And in the New Yorker.


Ilyumzhinov insists that he "takes seriously what the stars or the sorcerers '' and he often comments on his ability to communicate with aliens. 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.''

Has it ever been posted on the top chess sites?

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Just came across the well-earned mocking about Kaplan's "social network for chess players". I hope that MiG has similar jokes reserved (just for the sake fairness) for the "youtube and facebook for chess enthusiasts" planned by the ECU allies of K&K: http://a-brighter-future-for-chess.de/?page_id=2 (for more funny details, find out that the campaign site must borrow the pictures of its own members from chessbase, or learn the nice plural mix "Curriculums vitae").

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 21, 2010 8:45 PM.

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