Ilyumzhinov Re-Elected

by admin on September 29, 2010

… or at least that is what the official website of the World Chess Olympiad says. After all the political and legal machinations, the vote was not all that close. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov won re-election as president of FIDE, the international chess federation, by 95-55 over former world champion Anatoly Karpov. (Each country’s delegation gets one vote.) And so the chess world will go on being “governed” by an eccentric (to say the least) president of a tiny “autonomous region” (whatever that means) in the former Soviet Union, whose ideas for reforming chess have included automatically forfeiting players for showing up one minute late to their games, and holding the world’s most important chess events (such as the World Cup and the Olympiad) in his tiny, nearly inaccessible principality in Siberia.

Basically, this means that the chess world will continue to be governed as if it were a third-world country. Chess politics will continue to be corrupt, and chess will continue to be seen as irrelevant by the media, potential corporate sponsors, etc. And in other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

It’s hard to say whether Karpov would have been better. He had baggage of his own, but at least I think it’s fair to say that he wouldn’t have been worse. The US Chess Federation supported him, in part because the day-to-day business of FIDE would have been conducted by his deputy, who is an American. FIDE would have had an office in easily accessible New York, rather than distant Siberia. All of this would have been nice, but on the other hand it would not have truly guaranteed that FIDE would become a democracy responsive to the needs of chess players (particularly chess professionals).

Fortunately, for the huge majority of ordinary chess players, it really makes no difference who is running FIDE. We are partisans of a beautiful game, in which wonderful and amazing things are always happening. Here is how the true chess fan would react to the news of Ilyumzhinov’s re-election.

True Chess Fan A: So, did you hear that Ilyumzhinov was re-elected?

True Chess Fan B: Pity, that. Did you see Ivanchuk’s win over Jobava in round 7 of the Olympiad?

True Chess Fan A: Yeah! Can you believe that Chucky played f3 on move three? And then a3 on  move four? These masters tell us that you’re supposed to develop your pieces in the opening, but against each other they spend their first four moves pushing pawns!

True Chess Fan B: And then Jobava sacrifices a piece on move 7! What was he smoking? And can I get some?

True Chess Fan A: Well, you know, Jobava is kind of a wild man. I call him Jobava the Joker. Here, let’s take a look at the game … (Clinking sound as the pieces are set up. Screen fades to black.)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sorcerer88 September 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

A sad day for the chess world, i’m sure karpov would have been significantly better. But your other point is true, chess will survive, and that Ivanchuk game was absolutely awesome!

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