FIDE elections: a friendly aftermath

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
OlympiadKirsan Ilyumzhinov has invited Anatoly Karpov to become FIDE Vice President and accepted his opponent's suggestion to increase the number of games in World Championship matches. Silvio Danailov not only got elected ECU President, but FIDE Vice President as well. What exactly this job involves even a newly elected Vice President doesn't know.

There they were, sitting at the bar, drinking a vodka together. It was like two old friends catching up after not having seen each other for years. "So can you make those matches a bit longer please?" "Well, I guess we can do that. But why don't you join us and become a Vice President?" "Hm, yeah, sounds good, but I gotta think about that one."

Right after the vote count had yielded Kirsan Ilyumzhinov a devastating 95-55 victory over challenger Anatoly Karpov, the FIDE President invited his opponent for a drink: "Let's forget all these pre-election attacks and as a sign of reconciliation, let's go for the Russian custom and drink vodka!" Karpov accepted, and they went to a restaurant, drank vodka and had supper, as Ilyumzhinov told Sport Express.

It would be too easy to describe this as the next good move of a smart politician - friends should be kept close, and enemies even closer, right? But are Ilyumzhinov and Karpov really enemies? Were they ever? Wasn't it Anatoly Karpov himself who asked "Kirsan Nikolayevich" to run for FIDE President in November 1995 at the FIDE Congress in Paris?

A few weeks before the FIDE elections we heard the rumour that Karpov had lost motivation to run for president, and disliked the fierce campaign battle. Garry Kasparov was supposed to be the man who kept him on track. From what we've seen on the Europe-Echecs videos, it does look like Kasparov was pulling the strings, taking over the speech of Karpov at his final campaign press conference before the elections, and dominating the General Assembly meeting prior to the actual voting.

OlympiadThe elections are over and Ilyumzhinov has been chosen to rule the chess world for four more years. There's one man who doesn't seem to have problems at all with being on friendly terms with him: Anatoly Karpov. At a joint press conference on Thursday in Khanty-Mansiysk, the two former rivals smiled, shook hands and joyfully congratulated each other. Was it just sportsmanship? We tend to believe this friendliness between the winner and the loser of a political battle was genuine - for a change.

Karpov listed a number of items from his campaign that Ilyumzhinov had already accepted (over dinner?) to include into his plans for the coming years. "There will be no more fees for FIDE International titles. Kirsan Nikolaevich agreed to accept the fact that the World Chess Championship Match will include 14 or 16 games. The final decision will be taken by the best chess players of the world. The number of games of the final match, semifinals and quarterfinals will depend on it. (...)"

At the press conference Karpov also confirmed that he was invited by Ilyumzhinov to become FIDE Vice President. To the question what he would decide, Karpov answered: "I'm not in time trouble." No wonder he couldn't decide yet: it's not very clear what this job involves, is it? What on earth does a FIDE Vice President do?

The newly elected Vice President D.V. Sundar from India doesn't have a clue either. “I don’t know yet what it means to be Vice President in such a mamooth [sic] organisation, I am sure it will bring a lot of reponsibility [sic] as well as I hope it will help the growth of chess in our country”, he was quoted by the All Indian Chess Federation's website soon after getting elected. "Interestingly, Mr. Sundar had filed his nomination just a day before the elections," the report adds, and really, we don't want to assume any correlation with one other sentence from the same report: "It may be mentioned here that Mr. Sundar had pledged the support of All India Chess Federation to the election campaign of Mr. Ilyumzhinov a few weeks before FIDE elections."

Still, the above sort of calmed us down in a way, in that democracy does play a role within FIDE. Vice Presidents don't just get appointed by Kirsan over dinner, right? There need to be elections, right?

According to a Bulgarian press release, Silvio Danailov was also elected Vice President - yes, barely two days after he was elected President of the European Chess Union.


The other Vice Presidents mentioned in the press release are Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nehyan (United Arab Emirates) - Continental President of Asia, Mr. Jorge Vega (Mexico) - Continental President for Americas and Mr. Lakdar Mazus (Algeria)- Continental President for Africa. Note that Mr Sundar isn't mentioned, but don't ask us. Although we don't exactly know what they do, we know that one Vice President won't be doing it anymore: GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili. Apparently he lost to a Mr Nizar Ali Elhaj from Libya, who received 60 votes, as opposed to 56 votes for Azmai.

At the post-elections press conference Ilyumzhinov's attempt to make new friends wasn't limited to Karpov. He spoke of a 'council of World Champions' to be founded, and said he would like to have Kasparov in it. Let us suggest a chairman for this council: Zurab Azmaiparashvili. OK, he's not a World Champion, but does have some spare time now, and this way it will be a council full of old friends...
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