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Friday, July 16, 2010

FIDE 2010 Elections:Karpov Vs Kirsan

An intense but interesting fight expected in forthcoming Fide presidential election.
COME this September, we shall see what will possibly be the most acrimonious presidential contest for the World Chess Federation (Fide) for a long while.

Lining up on one side of the contest is the incumbent president of the world body, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is seeking re-election since first getting elected to the top post in 1995. On the other side is his very worthy opponent, former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov.
When nominations closed at the end of last month for the submission of electoral tickets, the only two teams that met the deadline were that of Ilyumzhi­nov and Karpov. This means that they will go head-to-head in a direct clash of wills and personality that will see no compromise from either party.

Lined up on Ilyumzhinov’s team are Georgios Makropoulos, Ignatius Leong, Nigel Freeman, Beatriz Marinello and Lewis Ncube.
Makropoulos is the president of the Greek Chess Federation but he is also the Fide deputy president (since 1996). Leong has been the president of the Singapore Chess Federation and the Fide general secretary since 2005. Freeman, the president of the Bermuda Chess Federation, is the current Fide treasurer, a position he has held since 2006. Marinello is a former president of United States Chess. NCube is a former president of the Zambia Chess Federation and presently a Fide vice-president (since 2006).

All of them, except for Marinello, are seeking to be returned to the same positions they are currently holding in the federation while Marinello is seeking to fill a Fide vice-president’s slot.
Karpov’s ticket consists of Richard A. Conn Jr of the United States who is the candidate for deputy president, Ukrainian Chess Federation president Viktor Kapustin who is the candidate for treasurer, Malaysia’s own Abdul Hamid Majid who is the candidate for secretary general, and the two candidates for vice-presidents, Angolan Chess Federation president Dr Aguinaldo Jaime and woman grandmaster Alisa Maric who is also the vice-president of the Belgrade Chess Federation.

As I said earlier, this Fide election may be the most acrimonious in recent years. For the first time in many years, Ilyumzhinov faces a very serious opponent. The credentials of Anatoly Karpov speak for itself. People know him as the 12th world chess champion, having succeeded Bobby Fischer in 1974 and only giving up his world title to Garry Kaspa­rov in 1985. Truly, he is one of the greatest chess players of all time.

However, Karpov’s very attempt at becoming the next Fide president has been full of obstacles, not least from within Russia itself. This is because Fide regulations require all candidates to be nominated by their own chess federations, and only one candidate at any one time.
And therein lies the problem because both Ilyumzhinov and Karpov are from Russia. The problem became even more complicated after both of them claimed to have their federation’s nod.

According to reports, the Russian Chess Federation had narrowly nominated Karpov as its candidate at a meeting in May. A few days later, at another meeting which was purportedly just shy of a quorum, Ilyumzhi­nov was nominated. The sticky situation became more absurd when the Russian Government sacked the president of the Russian Chess Federation and installed someone else to look after the federation’s affairs.

Lawsuits have also been flying around from both parties. Earlier, Ilyumzhinov had sued Karpov for libel. The former world champion fought back with a suit to force Fide to disclose the nomination forms of Ilyumzhinov’s team. At the heart of the matter was the status of Marinello because it was claimed that she was not a member of either the Chilean or Brazilian chess federations.

If the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, rules in Karpov’s favour, it could mean the automatic disqualification of the whole of the Ilyumzhinov ticket because there’s also another Fide regulation that stipulates that at least one member of a ticket must be a woman candidate. It would be impossible for Ilyumzhinov to replace Marinello at the last minute.
In the meantime, both candidates are continuing to circle the globe to visit national chess federations and drum up support for their teams at the Fide election in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. Yes, it’s going to be an intense but interesting fight indeed.

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