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Kasparov in Nicaragua for Karpov2010

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He's already on his way back from his meetings in Nicaragua to promote Karpov's FIDE presidential bid. I'll have much more about it here soon, and I'm sure the Karpov site will have more from the scene. They already have a news summary up in Spanish. But I just couldn't resist getting this video up as soon as I found it. I've been traveling with Garry for many years and am pretty jaded about star appeal and whatnot, but this is still cool. Not exactly the Beatles landing at JFK, but it must say something about the ability to leverage celebrity to promote chess in countries that just don't see that many international stars.

It will be interesting to see if Ilyumzhinov's somewhat embarrassing list of supporting countries holds up for long against this onslaught. Even some of Ilyumzhinov's most loyal allies were absent. Even if they eventually vote for him, that they are keeping silent is huge. Karpov and Kasparov are a sort of ultimate weapon Ilyumzhinov has no direct answer for. If Carlsen continues and if Anand got involved actively it would be a steamroller. Latin America is the only place well represented on Ilyumzhinov's list, because his guy there, Vega, is an old-school warrior and has been given resources to spread around along with plenty of intimidation about how federations that oppose Kirsan will be cut off. But as one Central American federation president pointed out to Garry in Managua, they pay more in fees to FIDE than they get back in CADEC development funds at a rate of 3-to-1! But of course that's money that goes to the federations, as opposed to money that has no official origin or destination... Anyway, I expect Karpov's big-time backers to set up a development fund, a sort of PAC, to show the developing federations they have nothing to fear but fear itself.


Keep on rolling!

Eventually I can help you here in Norway. Travis Bickle style. Vipe out this FIDE mafia guys up north, securing the Scandinavian votes for Karpov.

Hi, I know Mig works with Kasparov, so may get offended by this or may be not....
Where is the evidence that Karpov will be better than current president. What is it that he has managed well, playing chess and managing it are totally different things. By assuming that a good player has to be good organizer people will be following Danialov's arguments.
how will Karpov argue when current one says that he made sure that WC is unified and undisputed, Kasparov's retirement helped matters(but it speaks of his character as unprofessional than other way round.
Also Kirsan has deep pocket( I dont care who pays for it, personally or few taxpayers) does Karpov have one. Also Karpov have not shown that he can attract sponsors, once president he will rely on Moscow based politicians ( great !!). I dont think Karpov can say that after becoming president kasparov will help in this matter, not that he has a good resume for corporate relations. I think FIDE presidency is a Russian political game played on world canvas. Only if some real professional who had managed something similar in past successfully will make a change. A promise to change is not same as ability or intention to change.
Lastly I must mention that I dont think the current president or his policies are very good, just that the promised change from other side seems hollow.

All this fence-sitting and requests for solid proof that Karpov will be better mystifies me, as does the fact that this FIDE presidential race is even a real contest. Is the chess world really so in need of a slap in the face with a cold fish to awake to reality? In Ilyumzhinov we have an individual who the entire legitimate world media unanimously regards as a dangerous crooked, cutthroat, dishonest, unethical, unprincipled, and delusional nutjob. What exactly is there to ponder and debate? Anyone really thinks that more good than harm would come in perpetuating Ilyumzhinov’s leadership of FIDE is more delusional than those, like Kirsan, who believe they fraternize with aliens from outer space.

Just a few comments, since I think most of this is addressed by Karpov.

Karpov's advisory board contains no Moscow politicians. The Moscow politicians are backing Ilyumzhinov! They are the ones complaining that there are too many American and European businessmen working with Karpov, as his "advisory board" attests.

It's the job of a FIDE president to create an attractive product for sponsors and then to work to attract sponsors. It's odd to criticize Karpov for not having done what he has not had the chance to do. There's no guarantee he'll be able to do everything he hopes to do. In fact, it would be incredible if he could do half of it. I don't see any reason to believe he's not going to try, and the fact he's surrounded himself with some big-money businessmen who run their operations in transparent countries (well, Enron aside...) is a good sign.

These myths of Kirsan's deep pockets are ridiculous, at least the part about them benefiting chess. If you have money to put in you don't end up holding your Grand Prix flagship series in Jermuk and Nalchik. But that's all really beside the point, which is that the chess world shouldn't be held hostage to whether or not some rich guy hanging out with aliens can dig enough coin out of his sofa to have some chess this week or not.

That occasionally Kirsan puts something together isn't the measure of success. It's that his methods and existence prevent anything better from ever being created. The pathetic "better than nothing" argument is little more than a guarantee of living in this hand-to-mouth purgatory forever. The alternative to Kirsan isn't "nothing." He's had 15 years and things are clearly worse, with opportunities squandered year after year. I'm hardly a big Karpov guy, but it could be a lot worse than having someone of his prestige and love for the game as our ambassador. He's shown every sign of letting pros do the management, which is how it should be done.

Mig, I think answer to Kirsan is not "nothing" as you say but not Karpov also. Just by having big money guys from transparent countries does not help. Kasparov had Intel's support for PCA, but that did not help. Kasparov has admitted that splitting with FIDE was mistake. Even if one gives Karpov benefit of unknown, and assume that he will try, I dont think that means success. FIDE does not need a face that people can recognize, they need a professional and Kasparov, karpov and magnus and others should have come up with such a person and rallied behind him. Also to defend Karpov by saying that he did not have a chance to prove is somewhat wrong, as you need similar experience and not exact experiment. Most of the presidents in USA were Governors, senate members. So you need exposure in similar things. In the end, FIDE needs drastic changes as country federations that vote are also corrupt and not trustworthy. look at USCF, definitely people will have their suspicions, sometime back Humpy attacked Indian federation and I think situation may not be different with most federations. So I dont see a "change" in the FIDE in coming years. Sad prediction, but mostly true. Last time Besel Kok lost but Kirsan put him in charge of global chess. Did not do anything. Most of the people involved at high level are either not competent or corrupt it seems. may be Corus, Linares organizers should come forward and back someone.

More Makropoulos charm here: http://www.gazeta.ru/sport/2010/06/a_3381310.shtml

He claims Karpov representatives threatened Beatriz Marinello (now on the Ilyumzhinov ticket), that Karpov only actually has the support of 12 federations while Ilyumzhinov apparently has more than a hundred (they probably just thought 35 would be a nicer number for their press release...) - and then he comments that no documents relating to Karpov's presidency have yet been received, and that the deadline is the 28 June.

Glad to see Gazzoid is maintaining his tradition of sartorial elegance. Love the tank top Garry very retro. Anand getting involved "actively"? LOL sounds a bit like wishful thinking

Shhhh, Anand is hibernating! :)

Everyone needs to rest
So they can do their best
So rest your nose
Your head
And your toes
And please don't you forget
Everyone needs to rest.

Monkeys rest, so they can swing in the trees
Turtles rest, so they can swim in the sea
Tall giraffes...
Yes, Chess King needs to rest!


The proof is in the pudding...


Kirsan's own statement betrays him. "All the above achievements..." WHAT acheivements? He doesn't list a single one! What he lists are not achievements at all! Read them for yourself!

1) Democratic procedures and transparency in decision making [This is not an achievement and there is very little transparency!]

2) The One Country – One Vote principle which I will not permit to be changed. [This is nothing that Kirsan achieved!]

3) The unity of the chess world, achieved during my presidency, is now in danger. [You acheived what here, danger?]

4) Transparency on the financials of FIDE. [I'm sure EVERYONE is belly-laughing at that one!]

5) Recognition by the International Olympic Committee. [What is the significance of this achievement? What did they recognize? Is chess part of the Olympics? NO! So what if it was? It already has it's own Olympics, long before Kirsan!]

We either change FIDE right now, or else FIDE must be abandoned entirely. THE TIME IS NOW!

While I am leaning towards Karpov, I am as puzzled as Dennis Monokroussos about his recent interview - linked by DM with the title "How not to campaign":

Q Can you say whom you are running with?
Karpov: Not yet, but the team is almost ready. ... I think that somewhere around the beginning of next week we will be able to announce the whole group.

Q Let’s stay on the theme of finances. You have said several times that you have sponsors, but you have not yet named any concrete names or organizations. Can you draw back the curtain a little bit?
K: No, for now I will not get into any details. There is a time for everything. After all, it’s still three and a half months until the elections.

Q Nevertheless, can you identify any concrete actions now that you will take when you become president of FIDE?
K: You will see everything in the program that we are going to publish. We will formulate it soon enough.

Thomas: Huuuuuhhhhhh ???

"the point, which is that the chess world shouldn't be held hostage to whether or not some rich guy hanging out with aliens can dig enough coin out of his sofa to have some chess this week or not."

I fully agree, as well as chess shouldn'be be held hostage to whether or not a team of an egomaniac psycho who believes that several centuries of history didn't happen teaming, an old stalinist who proved that he's best at picking up money for his own pocket, and an advocate of implementing neuro-linguistic programming into pupil's brains via scholastic chess thinks that the FIDE machine serves their business (or that of a software company behind their ticket) or not.

@ chess shouldn'be be held hostage to a team of an egomaniac psycho who believes that several centuries of history didn't happen and an old stalinist who proved that he's best at picking up money for his own pocket.

Too harsh comments. The question is not "what is perfect" (because nothing is) the question is "what is closer to the ideal", what is better amongst your actual (real) choices.
In the history of chess the best (i.e., bounded in their decisions by honesty and reason) presidents have been former top-players as Euwe and Olafsson.

I agree it's not perfect PR - a well-coached candidate would essentially say the same but make it look as if he was answering the question - but it is 3 months+ before the election. As a comparison, political parties in the UK publish their manifestos (vastly more important documents) only a month before a general election. Plus it's the same for both sides: Ilyumzhinov also hadn't decided on his team, still hasn't come up with any real policies and has had 15 years but hasn't found a single general sponsor. Karpov can maybe announce some businessmen that are supporting his campaign, but it's hard enough to agree concrete sponsorship at the moment, never mind long in advance before you get to office.

I do get the feeling Ilyumzhinov/Makropoulos are worried, by the way (as Mig says). The depressing thing is that they've prepared various get-out clauses in case they're in danger of losing.

1) taking Karpov to the ethics council and court (even if their comments have been at least as libellous to Karpov) prepares for,

2)http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/4556-nominations-for-presidential-ticket-and-continental-presidents.html Now top story on the FIDE site.Pointing out the deadline (i.e. asking Karpov to admit that he's not the Russian nominee) and linking to: http://www.fide.com/component/handbook/?id=4&view=category

Which includes: "No person can be elected to a FIDE-office against the will of his national federation. This stipulation may be waived by the General Assembly only in exceptional cases."

Dvorkovich and Ilyumzhinov have said they wouldn't stand in Karpov's way if he tried to get nominated from another country, but you can just imagine them changing their mind "in the light of the decision of the Ethics Commission" etc.

Obviously, it's not a question of being perfect. Why refer to Euwe or Olafsson when we have pretty much evidence how Kasparov or Karpov act? (Let me know if Anand has changed his mind - if he can overcome his experiences with the K's, I can certainly join him). Actually, many people might think that it would be just a disgrace for the mentioned two quite honourable former FIDE presidents to be compared with the K's on a political (not chess) level.

As I remarked once, I would prefer Karpov's election since I think it's better to let some GMs starve than poor Kalmykian people. To get rid of Makro would also certainly be an improvement (but how about Garik's old friend Azmei?). Just don't expect that there is much money left after chessbase & friends got their deal under a new rule (we have some experience in Germany). The outcome might be a disappointment to some professionals here.

but how about Garik's old friend Azmei?

he is 50


I think it's rather easy to demonstrate what kind of person the FIDE president is. Btw, where does his money come from? Is he a model of ethical behavior amongst the CEO ? oh wait, he is not even in such a position, he owns a country.
Ok with that mig, but since now you're relaying the K&K campaign on this blog, i honestly wonder what you would answer to that :

The obvious difference is: with Ilyumzhinov we already know what he is standing for and what to expect from him. "In defense of Kirsan": he managed to find one general sponsor, himself ... .

There are enough reasons to vote not for, but against Ilyumzhinov, but is it enough from Karpov to suggest:
- whatever my plans are, it is not going to be worse (but at least slightly better) than the last 15 years, and
- trust me, everything is going to be fine in the end ... ?

Regarding your item 2): Karpov is already the German nominee, but neither Karpov nor Ilyumzhinov is the Russian nominee (or at least both nominations could be contested). And the General Assembly could consider all that happened and happens within the Russian federation an "exceptional case"!? In other words, even if this is a trick or get-out-clause by Ilyumzhinov and Makropoulos, it could backfire on them?

Yet a priori, there is nothing wrong with FIDE finally putting up something about the upcoming elections on their website!?

Kaspy will destroy whatever chance Karpov has of getting elected. It's a very bad sign of Karpov's political vision that he has partnered with a well-known unethical character like Kasparov to run for FIDE president.

Kirsan is a bad character. But Karpov/Kasparov is not a better alternative. FIDE needs real professionals at the managerial level, not former players.

"WHAT acheivements? He doesn't list a single one! What he lists are not achievements at all! "

Thanks for that, saved me writing exaclty the same. Totally agree with that.

Add to that, when I read Kirsan's claim of 35 countries I was expecting to see the likes of Trinidad and Tobago (no offence to them, they're not on the list). Well I wasn't disappointed. Not much there.

Why is Russia on Kirsan's list by the way?

I'm not sure why people are saying Karpov/Kasparov. Kasparov is not Karpov's running mate. He is only endorsing Karpov. To make an issue of Kasparov and Bahk's dealings have nothing to do with Karpov.

One thing is clear to me. Russian chess players and politicians have created a chess circus for 40 years. When will the Merry-Go-Round stop?

Kirilov, Mig already responded to Bareev's comments: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2010/05/fide-election-daily-dirtier-edition.htm#comment-222808

I also posted there: Kasparov was asked about Bareev in an interview and said that his piece was full of "typical distortions" and "isolated true facts that conceal a great lie". http://www.svobodanews.ru/content/article/2057538.html

It's no secret that Bareev has a great dislike of Kasparov, or that he's heavily involved with Dvorkovich: e.g. here he is with Dvorkovich at the "official" meeting on the 14 May (while elsewhere they voted for Karpov) - http://potemkin.myff.ru/viewtopic.php?id=579&p=3#p10697

And here he is in the Central Chess House in Moscow after Bakh was removed: http://chesspro.ru/guestnew/lookmessage/?id=8-321-38185

Not sure why you were expecting Trinidad. Are you still buying into the nonsense that small federations will somehow by swayed by chess sets? That has long been debunked. These small federations will definitely be divided in the vote.

I didn't see any achievements either. This whole mantra about keeping smaller feds and the "one nation, one vote" is laughable. He is addressing an issue that Karpov has not raised. In the past 15 years, small federations remain marginalized. The only time they matter is every four years.

I believe Karpov has to be more vocal and not allow his supporters (who are not candidates) to speak for him. Iluymzhinov's people are mostly responding to Karpov's supporters.

I agree that Karpov has to come out with some concrete proposals and name his ticket, and so on. Presumably he soon will.

On the nominations - I'm sure Ilyumzhinov will claim that the letter from Dvorkovich is enough to consider him the RCF nominee. After all it's not as if the FIDE officials are likely to reject it... Karpov's in a tricky position - if he decides to stick with presenting himself as the Russian candidate (after all he got a majority of the votes...) then he risks Ilyumzhinov excluding him from the election - in which case I could see FIDE being completely split.

I think the Germans/French etc. have just said they'd nominate Karpov rather than actually putting through the paperwork!? After all I assume you can only be nominated by one country and he'd want to wait to see what happens in Russia.

There's nothing exactly wrong with publishing a story about the deadline on the website, but it looks like part of the campaign when it chimes with Makropoulos' interview. Generally you'd have thought that formal deadlines and so on would be communicated by other channels (official e-mails/mailing lists) rather than the website, which should be addressed to the general public.

As if Ilyumzhinov's alien contacts weren't enough... Karpov's going to play an "interplanetary" match with cosmonauts in a Mars mission simulation: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_Qr5jcsuFj9rPiNuDwHVFQLDf9wD9G431VO0 And Dvorkovich's playing a game tomorrow with a robot: http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=366882 (in Russian)

@in which case I could see FIDE being completely split.

That may be the only hope to ever get rid of
"H.E." Krisan and his mafioso clique (Makro, Azmai).
Krisan's 15 years is a nightmare waiting to an end.

The way I read the news section of the German federation (DSB - Deutscher Schachbund) homepage, they officially nominated Karpov - at least that's what's literally said (my translation from German):

"Some weeks ago ex-WCh Anatoli Karpov declared that he is ready to run for FIDE president. DSB president Robert von Weizsäcker explicitly welcomed this decision and now _officially_ nominated Karpov as candidate. This is possible according to FIDE statutes, because the ex-WCh is since 1994 member of "Schachvereinigung 1930 Hockenheim" and thus of the German federation. The DSB board (Präsidium) already discussed the FIDE elections at his last meeting on March 25th and unanimously decided to support Karpov."


Question for Ovidiu: Do you agree or disagree that the entire legitimate world media unanimously regards Ilyumzhinov as a dangerous crooked, cutthroat, dishonest, unethical, unprincipled, and delusional nutjob? If you disagree, please cite legitimate general media sources that show him in a positive light. If you agree, reluctantly or otherwise, please explain why you or anyone who loves chess and cares deeply about supporting and fostering it should want such a figure as the principal international ambassador and public face for the game?

Before Beavis and Butthead popularized it almost no one had ever heard of Nicaragua:

"Butthead What's your problem Beavis? Settle down.

Mr. Van Dreesen ...the strugle for freedom is by no means over. It still goes on today in places like.... Nicaragua... El Salavdor... and Panama.

Beavis (shirt over head) NIC..AR..A..GUA. Agua....Agua for my bunghole.... bunnnghooooole!

Mr. Van Dreesen Beavis! Please sit down...

Beavis Are you threatening me? I AM CORNHOLIO!"

And Azmei is not on Kirsan's new ticket (surprisingly, Leong appears there). It wouldn't come as a a big surprise if he would join the K&K ticket to ensure his income (but then, maybe this will be unveiled only later since one wouldn't like to have this stain on the reform propaganda). Good chance that there is a Caucasus vote against Illu this time.

Historically, they have been, Daaim. Call it Campo's greatest contribution to chess politics.

I disagree. The job of the FIDE Prez is not to "make an attractive package for sponsors", rather it is to promote chess. If you want sponsors, selling a product other than "chess" might be wiser for a start...

If the FIDEs were in Jermuk and Nalchik rather than Paris and New York, perhaps it is because the people of J&N care more truly about chess than the wealthy bourgeois in the big cities, who merely fork over a big check when they can bother, hanging out in fundraising grovel sessions with the "important" people, shoving the peons into the streets.

Indoctrinating students with chess is better than SCRABBLE when the corporates peal off the profits, but you gotta ask what it means. The entertainment value of watching guys make chess moves is little in live time, so only their games live on, as a hobby to enjoy rather than a job. Having Chess going IOC will hopefully make it something as unimportant like rowing, where the aficionados rattle it 24/7, and noone else cares except when your country can scalp a medal in London 2012.

"The job of the FIDE Prez is not to "make an attractive package for sponsors", rather it is to promote chess."

To most of us on planet earth "to make an attactive package for sponsors" and "to promote" are synonomous.

To Calvin Amari: you have read not carefully enough. You say "promote" is the same as "make an attractive package", but then I added the word "chess"!

You can't make chess attractive in the West, with the actual game. It is impossible until the society changes its values, unless you sell chessbabes like some sites. Jermuk is a better location than Paris because the Parisians don't care about chess but Armenians do. Chess is not promotable in the West by your definition, because it cannot be attractive to sponsors, because there are too few Western fans!

The FIDE Prez promotes chess by going to where it is popular, rather than eating high-octane cocktail parties with ritzy capital dwellers. The sponsors go where the chess is popular, not where the hobnobbers live. Is any one going to remember where the 2008 Grand Prix took place when the books are written in 2050? No, everyone will just replay the beautiful games that the pros created! So having it definitely in Jermuk and Nalchik is better than having it "maybe" in Paris or New York.

It's simply not true that there's no interest in chess in major cities - just take the London Chess Classic. They actually had to turn some potential spectators away last year as they'd already sold all the tickets. Then compare that to the spectator attendance at the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, the main event that FIDE organised themselves recently. People claim it's impossible to find sponsors or organise events normally, but FIDE haven't even tried for the last 15 years.

"You can't make chess attractive in the West, with the actual game."

A wildly delusional assumption. See, e.g.,

Also a historical note: According to one contemporaneous report, in the aftermath of the Fischer championship a survey of neighborhood bars in New York city found that an astounding had at least one game of chess being played by the partons.

Do they even have bars in Jermuk and Nalchik?

"People claim it's impossible to find sponsors or organise events normally, but FIDE haven't even tried for the last 15 years."

Why bother? Imagine a commercial sponsor who considers getting involved in chess. The boss
doesn't know much about the professional chess and orders an employee to do a quick Google search on FIDE. Up comes Ilyumzhinov. Horror! Within seconds the potential sponsor is scared away from chess, never to come back to it.

London Chess Classic, did it make money? Were the sponsors (actually, who were they?) happy with the publicity? Telegraph might have made it work, but will that last? I don't see much adverts on their front page, and you can't borrow from rich moguls forever.

Turned away the 501st person from a population of 6 million in London, more in the greater area? Oops,the theatre only seats 449. Costs 10 pounds and free for juniors, journos, and others with an inside edge. Not exactly a big-ticket item for attendance.

Do guys who play chess in bars give money to anyone? Do you expect Miller to sponsor chess? Jermuk is the right place because Armenians give money to chess.

"A wildly delusional assumption. See, e.g.,

What has this to do with anything? You have just over a hundred thousand people in an international federation? Comparable to crumbs. Readers of the NYT get what they deserve, if I wanted to know what the big-money cityfolk are pondering about.

It remains that chess has never been popular "as chess" in the West, and only with Fischer, and not because of the actual chess, but only because he was an anti USSR poster boy. Look at Kaspy/Karpov. No one followed that for the chess, only for the 25-year reunion. Wideness of readership of chess books is probably going down in a relative sense, though the aficionados with larger disposal incomes buy more books now to prop up the industry.

In Armenia, chess is the headlines in the sports page, when happening. Back in the late 80s, maybe the USA Today would have 1 full page when K-K started another match, and then just a diagram a day for the rest. Try finding a main bookstore with a chess magazine. I tried in the UK, and never did (at B&N or Borders). France, some RELAX have Europe Echecs, some don't. Best place by far is German rail stations, some have 5 or more different mags! No way that's happening elsewhere. Kramnik has big ties in Germany for a reason.

I didn't try looking when I was in Spain, though Benasque is a resort Pyrenees town (less than 1000 people) that has a chess event every year. Are they like Jermuk, because it is not in Barcelona or Madrid??

Umm, Karpov's website never published anything about Tajikistan. Maybe he mentioned them in an interview? Ah, wait, found it with the site search; he listed them in his address to the Russian Chess Federation. Oddly they have English and Spanish of that address but not Russian. I guess they figure the Russian job was already done. Does he mention Tajikistan in the video? Anyway, Tajikistan isn't one of the flags scrolling by at the Karpov site.

Meanwhile, Ilyumzhinov's big announcement of his ticket and supporters included Honduras, which just signed a letter supporting Karpov after meeting with Kasparov and the heads of El Salvador and Nicaragua. It's one thing to say someone is supporting you have they say they'll support you, which is probably a bad idea in general. But you shouldn't publish them on your list of supporters until you have something in writing, that's for sure. And so far we haven't seen much if anything in writing for Ilyumzhinov. Heck, he's even claiming Russia's support with nothing at all for evidence. Even Dvorkovich admitted he didn't have the authority to sign anything!

Some of the don't-care-if-I-contradict-myself-just-throw-everything-and-see-what-sticks type of anti-Karpov argumentation reminds me of the recent statistics that most of this blog's traffic comes from FIDE headquarter land.

With all the 'third world bashing' so prevalent on 'western owned' chess blogs, it looks like these very same third world countries will be the ones to save Karpov's ass at the elections. Back here in Africa some feds are having a change of mind. For the first time Kirsan is going to find his traditional support base has abandoned him. It's worse now then it was a few months back for Kirsan.

But if this anti-third world sentiments continue, and yet some of them are now possible gonna support Karpov, then perhaps as a protest the votes will go to Kirsan. Why not? I understand at the 2006 Olympiad, african delegates were not provided seats (and were only given after protesting), the rating performance method of determining board medals thing was directed specifically at third world or pro-Kirsan nations, plus when my colleagues come back from these olympiads in European destinations they mention the discrimination is pretty obvious in small ways. There will be a few days between landing at Khanty-Mansisysk and the vote at teh general assembly. Now if within that intervening period these same things happen you can be sure the work Karpov has done in getting some previous Kirsan votes will disappear.

And who says Karpov has not been at work on other fronts apart from Nicaragua?

Thx for the links Mishamp, very instructive indeed. Since i am not so interested in chess politics, maybe i would rather stay quite in the future...

Fair enough, but it's a bit misleading to compare private events with those organized by FIDE. In private events, organizers (together with sponsors?) can select the _entire_ field. For the FIDE Grand Prix, they had to accept the field "imposed" by FIDE (based on rather transparent qualifying criteria) and even got criticized for the right to nominate ONE wildcard.

Imagine if the London organizers had suggested to stage one GP event _if_ they can include four English players (or make it three plus Adams who had qualified). Should FIDE accept such a proposition? What would "we" have said if they had done so?

Or an example from the relatively distant past: No sponsors could be found for a Kasparov-Shirov match, even Kasparov didn't succeed - I can't tell if he REALLY tried hard ... . Then a Kasparov-Kramnik match was held in ... London.

I'm not sure that having English players was the reason that tickets were over subscribed at the London Chess Classic. I tried to attend (and was turned away) because some top players were there, including Magnus. I would have preferred it if some of the weaker English players had been replaced by stronger non-English players.

It's one, the other, or a combination of both. If we compare London with Astrakhan, how many chess fans from England (or other western European countries) would be interested to watch relative no-names as Inarkiev and Akopian, or less popular world-top players as Gashimov and Leko?

Among the Astrakhan field, only Ivanchuk (and Aronian who cancelled his participation) might attract western crowds - and might have been invited to London if one of the four top seeds wasn't available, or had excessive financial demands?

I'd concede a few of your points - e.g. yes, the London Chess Classic does seem to be mainly funded by one anonymous sponsor, but that's one of the points of playing in a big city. There's more money around that you can try and attract to chess. After all, the money needed isn't huge - MTel Masters seems to have had 400,000 euros sponsorship a year, while even a large-field super-elite event like the Tal Memorial presumably doesn't cost more than a million. On spectators - again, that's the point. With a large city you can pretty much guarantee filling your hall if you put on a good event, as you only need a tiny fraction of the entire population (and London's also an easy place to visit for people from the rest of the UK or Europe).

Anyway, even if I concede some of your points on London I just don't get your point about e.g. Jermuk. How does the fact that there's great interest in chess in Armenia suddenly mean that there's a large amount of money available and it's commercially viable there!? (as far as I know entry was free in Jermuk) If things were so great then we'd see lots of super tournaments in the Caucasus, but as of yet, we don't. I'd summarise by saying that chess is relatively more popular there, but in terms of absolute funding available big capital cities are a better bet!

So Mig, you admit that Karpov used false information, about support from countries like Tajikistan, to deceive the officials of the Russian Chess Federation? Very honest of you, you have surprised us all.

Why do you say it's false? If he believed they supported him three weeks ago and now they say they don't, where's the falsity on either side? I mean, fine if you think Karpov was so desperate for the endorsement of Tajikistan that he was going to just make it up and publish the remarks, but that seems rather less likely to me than they said they'd support him and changed their mind three weeks later after meeting with Ilyumzhinov's guys in Tashkent two days ago, which they did.

Keep spinning.

Sure, I don't mean the run of the mill 2700 GM, but the true elite, such as Ivanchuk, Aronian etc as you mention. Of course guys like McShane who would rightly expect some largesse to be dished out by organisers of home tournaments might be peeved...

There's no contradiction in thinking promoting chess in developing nations is great and believing the world championship and other big events aren't as prestigious when they are held in places where they receive little or no media attention and have no chance at commercial promotion.

It's not insulting to the citizens of Elista to say that holding the world championship there instead of Moscow, Paris, or New York is not a good sign for the health of the institution. Only by having success at the top level will there be money for development programs in the long run. I'd guess Karpov's wealthy supporters will put up a few hundred thousand to push development programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America for the first few years of his administration, but if there's no commercial development partnerships for the pro game, the affirmative action stuff can't go on forever.

Mig wrote:

"There's no contradiction in thinking promoting chess in developing nations is great and believing the world championship and other big events aren't as prestigious when they are held in places where they receive little or no media attention and have no chance at commercial promotion."

True. However, it is also true that the reason the World Championship and other big events are almost always held in crappy small places (Elista, Linares, San Luis, Weekanzee, etc.) is that there is no real and legitimate sponsorship for a very marginal game like chess. Incidentally, this lack of sponsorship is the same reason a complete lowlife lunatic like Kirsan has been able to hijack FIDE.

"I'd guess Karpov's wealthy supporters will put up a few hundred thousand..."

Completely wishful thinking. The same "I'll get me a sugar daddy" mentality that you criticize in Kirsan's supporters. No offense to you or anyone else, but the only hope for professionalizing the game is to stop acting like prostitutes.

I agree, which is why I'm encouraged by the type of people who have already put up that kind of money for Karpov's campaign. (No way he and Garry are paying out of pocket for all the travel and such.) Sinquefield, Thiel, and Trefler don't seem to be the pimping kind, really, and instead seem to believe 1) there's something in chess intrinsically worth supporting and 2) there's something to be made of chess as a commercial enterprise if handled correctly so they might see some upside. That means, I assume, since these aren't lightweights or soft-headed chess patrons, handled by them and/or by people they believe in.

It's definitely wishful thinking, but in the good way. You have to believe enough in 1) to be all right taking a long view of 2). I'm not one of those "chess is the next tennis/poker/golf" people, but I do think it could do a lot better with some competent management. So I'd like to at least see it tried. Even though there's no guarantee Karpov and these guys can or will pull it off, I'd like to see them given the chance to try.

I just don't think we've come anywhere close enough to basic competence to prove that chess is too marginal to succeed at some level of sustainable commercial backing.

"I'm not one of those 'chess is the next tennis/poker/golf' people, but I do think it could do a lot better with some competent management. So I'd like to at least see it tried."

I agree 100%.

The question is: can Karpov assemble a team capable of managing FIDE in a professional way?

I hope we will see more of his plan soon enough, because so far he is running on a worthless "Elect me because Kirsan is bad" platform.

An excellent beginning to any new management team would be to survey all the titled players (IM and above) on key issues facing the game and its commercial potential. The results of this surveys should be made public with the paticipants positions published in 100% detail, so that everyone knows what the real views of players are.

But where are the numerous strong events in major western cities? London has the Classics and the less prestigious Staunton Memorial, Amsterdam has "Rising Stars vs. Experience" (private sponsor Joop van Oosterom), Zurich had the Jubilee rapid and open as a one-time event. New York, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, ... ?? BTW, I guess the entry fee at the London Classics was primarily to handle the crowds, rather than to make big money out of the event.

There may be two issues:
1) Typical chess venues (hotels, theaters, conference centers, sports halls) are more expensive and more heavily booked for other activities in big cities.
2) In small places, it's easier to create visibility for an event. Travel to Wijk aan Zee in January, and you'll immediately notice that chess is being played ... .

@ d_tal: Once again, most organizers cater to big names (the strongest and/or most popular ones they can afford?) AND local players. Dortmund is often criticized for having just one German, London goes to the other extreme. And if you weren't (much) interested in the English players, maybe some other people were?

Honduras is confirmed according to Chessbase, but I see letter of support for Ilyumzhinov http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/karpov-ilyumzhinov-battle-for-honduras is it fake?!

You know, you have a near namesake at Chessgames.com: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessuser?uname=supy Every single one of his posts there seems to include a link to Chessdom. The two of you should get together sometime!

I suppose statistically you could argue there are far fewer "big" cities, so you'd expect more events in smaller cities...a bit desperate, I know! But the only point I'm really making is that there's no reason why the events couldn't be held in big cities (and some have been - e.g. London and Moscow of late). It's true about expenses being higher, but then chartering the planes to get people to the Caucasus or Siberia presumably isn't cheap either!?

It's not just statistical probability, if we look at where major events are held in various countries:
Netherlands - Wijk aan Zee and Hoogeveen rather than Amsterdam
Germany - Dortmund and Mainz rather than Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich
Switzerland - Biel rather than Zurich
Spain - Linares and Bilbao rather than Madrid or Barcelona
USA - St. Louis rather than New York, Chicago, ... .

Not that it really matters, at least in the first three countries the venues are just a short train trip away from major cities.

Mig said "But you shouldn't publish them on your list of supporters until you have something in writing, that's for sure. And so far we haven't seen much if anything in writing for Ilyumzhinov."

Now that Ilyumzhinov published the written support of Honduras what is Mig saying? Nothing as usual, his any relationship with the truth has been terminated since he joined the Kasparov movement for the greenbuck...

Mig also says that Ilyumzhinov is "even claiming Russia's support with nothing at all for evidence."

Perhaps Mig hasn't seen the official letter of the Russian Federation here http://www.onefide.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/rcfkirsansupport.jpg
endorsing Ilyumzhinov? Or is Mig just misinforming his readers as per Garry's instructions?

GG, why not quote Mig's next sentence, which answers your questions: "Even Dvorkovich admitted he didn't have the authority to sign anything!" So the signed letter from Dvorkovich you mention (and that Mig has of course mentioned here before) is hardly "evidence" - except in the case against Dvorkovich.

Right, that's the letter Dvorkovich later admitted he had no authority to sign. Or later, when he decided that the RCF doesn't really exist? Kirsan's only support in Russia has been Dvorkovich, who first tried to skip the Russian Council vote, then cancel it, then finally boycotted it. Karpov won that vote in full public view. Nice to have video, no? Maybe you can show a nice video of Dvorkovich and Ilyumzhinov together in Dvorkovich's house signing a meaningless letter.

Not sure what you're on about regarding Honduras. ChessBase just published a long report with photos of the Honduran president signing a letter of support for Karpov. Again, photos and signatures instead of making stuff up.

promotional video for the candidate Kirsan :

Kirsan- The Legend, His Ferocity is Unparalled


The future of chess lies in India and China (Asia generally) and probably South America. This desire to promote chess in the West (which Illyumanzhinov has failed to do) is quite out-of-date.
As they say, follow the money. Btw, the IPL has a brand value of $4 billion and is the second highest paid league, after the NBA. Of course its a cesspool of filth and corruption but still, this was achieved in 3 years!

I want to see the next picture, when they all jump into the pool:


Yah Jai, I did think it was a legit question as to why there wasn't even a bid from India for the Anand match. Have we just oversold Anand's popularity in India? Chess's popularity? Economic downturn? Is the newish Indian federation that bad? Did anyone even really try, or just sit around hoping some big Indian company would jump up and organize it all? Your statement about the IPL being a cesspool means it can't be that India is too clean for Kirsan to deal with. Maybe Anand should hire Danailov!

It does seem as though Denis Diaz has a little explaining to do! Signing a letter of support for Ilyumzhinov on 22 May - http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/karpov-ilyumzhinov-battle-for-honduras - and now for Karpov on 6 June. But Karpov clearly wins as he has the later signature :) Chessdom can't have it both ways, or else they'll have to concede Tajikistan to Karpov.

I'm okay with federations changing their minds, at least this early. In many cases they are under a lot of pressure to decide very early, before hearing from both sides. Vega has been very aggressive in Latin America -- in getting people to sign or else, not in actually listening to anyone -- but now Karpov and Kasparov will be crisscrossing the place for a month, so we'll see. But of course you shouldn't be signing multiple commitments. It is nice that the paper Diaz and the others signed, while a barely legible scan in the version I saw, commits to a regional partnership and cooperation instead of just saying he'll vote for Karpov. This means it's worth something no matter what happens in the election.

On that tangent, rather annoyingly there is nothing that much matters other than the final vote cast anyway. In that regard I'm hoping they come up with a way to make people accountable and the system more transparent.

Happy Birthday Mig!!!

I do not think that large corporates in India are aware of chess at all, maybe except for its use as a metaphor. Mid-size corporates ... maybe aware ... e.g., Parshwanath, Goodriche, Sanghi, etc.
Further, Indian ChessFed didn't try at all given the fact that Anand appears to be under tremendous pressure when playing at home, because of huge expectations of its 1.1 billion population.

Mig, you appear to be so generous and kind on the occasion of your birthday, I feel like taking advantage of you by seeking your opinion on one off-topic issue -
In the event of any world championship match ending at tie, 6-6, after the regulation 12 games at classical time control, what do you feel of replacing the rapid cum blitz tiebreaker by a single armageddon (13th) game at classical time control with the Champion having the Black pieces and the Challenger having the White, with the proviso that the Challenger must win the game to dethrone the Champion, if the game ends in a draw, the Champion keeps his title on the ground that he could not be defeated in the match despite having more Blacks and less Whites?
Please answer, please, please, please ...

Very fast caffeinated answer: My very first instinct was to hate it. But my second reaction is that it's no worse than rapids and blitz and has a cute logic. Another 60 seconds in and I'm almost in love with it. Has this idea been postulated before? Seems too good not to have been.

The main downside is if the champion loses the draw odds part is forgotten and there's a legit beef about color disparity. If he draws it feels fair, but if he loses it looks odd. Draw odds games are a pretty serious distortion, basically. Same goes with time handicaps, etc. Any time you have to asterisk a game -- that is, it wasn't played under normal rules -- you're playing with history and with fire. Still, while my traditionalist side rebels it's certainly a tidy idea and one I'd like to see run by players just for fun. Most feel draw odds are such an advantage that they might think this is too much to give to the champion.

At least, Sinquefield seems to handle well the techniques that really count:


Of course, you can generate a bigger business, e.g., channel more money back into your pockets when holding the FIDE monopolies than (semi-)small crooks do with hotel kickbacks. The rating system is a potential big cash cow - as long as it is widely accepted despite its obvious failures, you can expect to make millions out of it by hidden fee raises and broadening the base (Trefler's company would be a natural candidate). Grabbing influence in scholastic chess and selling overpriced chess software to chess moms is also attractive - here, Sinquefield's experience in making money out of privatising public education comes in handy.

Definitely "there's something to be made of chess as a commercial enterprise" but most easily if handled incorrectly.

Karpov is the best candidat since Euwe.

Not a surprise that i waited in vain for a response to this:

Question for Ovidiu: Do you agree or disagree that the entire legitimate world media unanimously regards Ilyumzhinov as a dangerous crooked, cutthroat, dishonest, unethical, unprincipled, and delusional nutjob? If you disagree, please cite legitimate general media sources that show him in a positive light. If you agree, reluctantly or otherwise, please explain why you or anyone who loves chess and cares deeply about supporting and fostering it should want such a figure as the principal international ambassador and public face for the game?

Neither has MiG answered the request to comment on Karpov's interview statement that he wants a secure financial basis for anyone who has reached a GM title.

I haven't even seen that interview, or the comment asking me about it. Can't be everywhere, and I'm sure everywhere is thankful.

It doesn't seem outlandish to me to believe that it would be possible were FIDE run competently. I'm a free market guy so I don't think that FIDE should be providing charity or guarantees directly. Medical care, perhaps? Retirement fund, surely yes. But I do think that if the sport were developed and marketed well for a while there would be enough money and opportunities to put most GMs on a secure footing. Obviously regional economic differences and personal habits make it rather difficult to measure such things usefully. The problem with direct subsidies is that you have to draw the line somewhere, and drawing that line is always a nasty business to be in.

I do think cash incentives for titles and other achievements can be fun and effective -- and good PR since cash makes news in most places -- mostly on a national/regional basis.

Thanks, MiG - the comment was at "FIDE election...", the interview at the recent Berlin campaign meeting (once more, in German: "Die materielle Grundlage der Großmeister muss hergestellt werden").

Do I understand correctly that you think that FIDE should provide retirement funds for all GMs? Calculate again. The main issue is that the title can be obtained via many different ways. A typical GM is no longer a player who serves the progress of chess (the only thing which would justify such measures). Subsidies of this type makes nobody happy but the title factories.

Imho, cash incentives for titles have scarce effects apart from the promotion of corruption, several examples being around.

"a secure financial basis for anyone who has reached a GM title"..lol, "Ostap Bender- alert!"..quite a cheapos from Karpov.
Does he promise to end of the Iraq war, universal healthcare insurance, etc. ?

"he wants a secure financial basis for anyone who has reached a GM title"

Well who the hell doesn't want that? An aspiration is not a guarantee, and I know a number of sub-2600 GMs who make quite a decent living with chess, albeit not merely from tournament prize funds, so it is not impossible. Does anyone doubt that a more robust overall environment for chess, which FIDE could foster were it not run by an international outlaw, would create more financial opportunities for GMs - opportunities to play, teach, write, etc?

Actually, the translation of German "muss" is not "want" but more of a "must" (making it more like a political program, or promise). And, yes - I don't want that for many so-called GMs, at least not the way Karpov used to live from the gifts of an "international outlaw," a "dangerous crooked, cutthroat, dishonest, unethical, unprincipled, and delusional nutjob" until he decided to run up against him after the golden river run dry.

Wrong again. Karpov was not a particular beneficiary of Ilyumzhinov's corruption. Karpov reacquired the technical FIDE title before Ilyumzhinov became head of FIDE. Indeed, he slowed down his active tournament play at about that the same time Ilyumzhinov came in.

And if you take issue with your quoted characterizeations of Ilyumzhinov, your disagreement is with reality, at least as presented universally by the entire legitimate world media (plus many governments and NGOs). Again, if anyone disagree, let them cite any legitimate general media source that show him in a positive light....

an older (2007) article on Kirsan

Bishops, Buddhism, and brutality: Inside the bizarre world of Kalmykia

In the full glare of the ferocious midday sun, a chubby teenage boy scoops up his plastic castle, and moves it one square forward on the giant marble chessboard carved into Elista's central square. Murmurs run through the watching crowd. The only person who doesn't adopt a horrified expression is Lenin, who remains stoic surveying the square from a pedestal....


One of the countless articles that are sharply denunciatory of Ilyumzhinov.... Plainly Kalmykia and FIDE would be better of without him.

"a secure financial basis for anyone who has reached a GM title" is quite a stretched translation to make it sound weird.

"The material base for the grandmasters has to be established." is more like the German sentence. It's a vague announcement without saying how he intends to do what exactly, typical for a politician.

Why do you provide the German sentence? Did he say it in German?

No disagreement indicated; the quotation marks just, well, mark a quotation.

Congratulation to the quite peculiar viewpoint that Karpov didn't make special profit from several special arrangement with Illu.

Who want's Obama or Putin for Fide-President?
Can we get Angela Merkel or Nicolas Sarkozy?
The only politican I would like as Fide-President is Cicciolina.
Fide-President Karpov sounds good to me.

The clouds are gathering for His Excellency.
The dogs which he has fed for so many years and who seemed so loyal (that was before the financial crisis when had money) are now ganging up to attack him...see the new ChessBase article about the Weizsaecker's GM-team for ECU which has announced that it supports Karpov-Kasparov at : http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6404

This doesn't look good at all for Kirsan.
Indeed "His ferocity is unparalled, His mind holds great powers" --(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htZYFJHk8eQ)-- but, as "Animal Planet" documentaries have shown, even the mighty tiger can be killed by the concerted attack of the pack of wild-dogs.

Kirsan bought FIDE in 1995. Indeed it was at a low price but it was after Campomanes (and his 3-rd world team and style of managment) run it bankrupt.
It was not his fault but the fault of Campomanes [and of those "liberal" minds who believe that merely changing the wording --"3-rd world" with "developing countries" is changing reality.]

After that 1995 moment Kirsan behaved with his new toys generously, as an oriental despot. For instance he made a point of meeting every team at the Yerevan-olympiad-1996 and presenting each member with several gifts - Kirsan Vodka, Kirsan caviar, Kirsun sunglasses, his comic book autobiography, a Kirsan book on the Karpov-Kamsky match, and a Kirsan watch.

Nobody refused, they were all happy to be bought, wag their tails, and grovel as long as he paid or they had an interest as it was the case with Kasparov and "Prague Agreement".

with some exceptions (Alexei Shirov) who we can remember thanks to Mig's old articles articles :

"History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember. All other history defeats itself." -
Mig was telling us back in 2002 :


Several funny points in von Weizsäcker's campaign statement, e.g.:

1. Maybe he should make a start with transparency and put some pressure on the publication of all contracts of the Deutsche Schachbund Wirtschaftsdienst GmbH with chessbase for the last decades.

2. The only concrete point of the program is a new position of an Executive Director for Metzing - something the chess world was definitely crying for. Of course, one has to know that the ECU office - which shall remain with the Executive Director in Berlin, thus stripping off Hjartason, nominal Secretary General of the ticket, of any infrastructure - is at the same place as the office of the DSB, thus saving Weizsäcker's federation a great part of the rent by diverting the costs.

Definitely, with people who must create new positions because else they hardly can't pay their rents and promise a bright new future due to high sponsorship thanks to their transparency, chess politics has become much more entertaining - quite funny new comedians on stage battling the old alienist.

Of course, when speaking about the "only concrete point" above I ignored the two obviously misplaced ideas of creating a "youtube and a facebook for chess enthusiasts". Maybe the ultra-neoliberal economy professor can explain why such business activities which only make sense world-wide (if any - both services exist and work well for chess players who feel the need for this) operations should be initiated by an European non-profit organization.

Well, apart from the fact that it would definitely advantageous for a software house who would like to have both the user data and the generated content under control but is reluctant to take the risk of investment. Welcome to the New Economy of the chessbase ticket.

Kirsan is raising the stakes ( he may be bluffing though)

Ilyumzhinov has announced a US $500,000 five-year prize fund from his personal funds for two new tournaments in the FIDE Calendar. The competitions will be named Caribbean Cup and Latin America Cup.


Better read the fine print first...

He already promised $1,000,000 over 10 years for Asia - http://tinyurl.com/2u5rypq Africa must be feeling a bit left out around now...

Tough times ahead for the kalmykian people. I really feel sorry for those peasants, perhpas they pray in their buddhist temples for Putin to no longer appoint Kirsan in October (and for Karpov to win).

But no such luck, the chess must go on, new novelties are awaiting to be found in Slav and Grunfeld and new tournaments in South-America to be played.

How about listing your accomplishments in life Hag so we can compare them to Kasparov's?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 7, 2010 4:17 PM.

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