FIDE: a change we can believe in

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FIDE: a change we can believe inFIDE is failing terribly in dealing with the Topalov-Kamsky match in a correct and transparent way. It's also clear to virtually everyone that the FIDE President and his staff have generally ruined the whole system in the past ten years or more, despite their efforts to organize a lot of events. Things have gone horribly wrong ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú it reminded me of the the war in Iraq. In FIDE, too, we need change. But how can we make it a change we can believe in?

One might think the new and undisputed world champion Vishy Anand would be an interesting candidate ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú not to become president of FIDE, of course, but perhaps to get a 'movement' going, and to end the current equilibrium. After all, wasn't it the world's number one player Garry Kasparov who in the 80s and 90s opened the eyes of the world to the reality of FIDE under Campomanes' reign?

But Anand is not Kasparov, as Jan Timman recently pointed out (in case anyone hadn't noticed yet). Anand is just a nice guy who wants to play chess. Let's thank him for that - and look for other candidates. Here, we quickly run out of alternatives. Carlsen is too young, Topalov too whimsical, Ivanchuk too much like Anand.

Maybe we shouldn't try to tackle the problem with a top-down approach. What about starting at the bottom of the chain? After all, FIDE consists of national federations, which consist (in many cases) of local federations, which consist of individual club members. What if from now on all club members simply refuse to participate in FIDE tournaments? Or, if this is not realistic ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú what if clubs start to complain with their country's federation, and the national federations raise these problems at the next FIDE congress? Or perhaps all players at the upcoming Olympiad in Dresden should simply arrive in the playing hall 1 minute and 1 second late. Power to the people - that's democracy, right?

Well, I'm not sure about you, but somehow I doubt it will work in this case, even though it would be great if national federations spoke out more clearly. To give you an example from my own country: I haven't heard of a complaint or something from the Dutch chess federation towards FIDE ever about the chaos surrounding world championship matches. Why is this? What is everybody afraid of?

What's important in elections is not only to appeal to politicians, to students, to business men, but to common people. So let's have a candidate for change in FIDE who can appeal not only to officials, to chess federations, to chess professionals, but to amateur chess enthusiasts as well.

We need someone who has played a lot of spectacular attacking games - that's what chess fans like! It should also be someone who has never been controversial. Thirdly, it should be someone with connections - we can't escape that. And perhaps it should be someone who is somehow different from the other candidates - who, in other words, is not another middle-aged white guy. Someone who can appeal to the 'minorities' as well.

What's the ultimate minority in chess? Well, of course that's women. Haven't they been ignored in chess for too long already?

Yes, they have... all women, except one. A woman who happens to be the number one in the world. And speaking of connections, doesn't she happen to have a sister who's in the executive board of one of the largest chess federations in the world? As for popularity and spectacular games - too many to mention. Yes... there is someone after all!

Judit, for the future of chess, we ask you to step forward. Give us hope. Give us a change we can believe in.

Polgar for change - chess we can!

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