Former FIDE President Campomanes dies at 83

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Campomanes dies at 83Florencio Campomanes died today in the Philippines. This was confirmed to us by FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman. Campomanes was FIDE President from 1982 to 1995. He was 83.

Florencio Campomanes | Photo: karpidis (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

Campomanes was born Manila, February 22, 1927. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of the Philippines in 1948. Then, he studied at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), where he earned his M.A. in 1951. He undertook doctoral studies at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., from 1949-54.

He was a National Master strength player during his peak years, and was Philippine national champion on two occasions (1956, 1960). He represented his country at five Chess Olympiads: Moscow 1956, Munich 1958, Leipzig 1960, Varna 1962, and Havana 1966. He met some distinguished opposition as a result, losing games against Pal Benko and Ludek Pachman at Moscow 1956, Oscar Panno at Munich 1958, Mikhail Tal and Miguel Najdorf at Leipzig 1960, and Lev Polugaevsky at Havana 1966.

He became involved in FIDE as a national delegate, and worked his way into prominence in Asian chess organization. Campomanes helped to organize the World Championship match at Baguio, Philippines, in 1978, between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi.

He is best remembered as the President of the international chess organization FIDE. He was elected to that post in 1982, and held it until 1995, through several controversies, most notably the abandonment of the 1984-85 World Championship between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov without result, after 48 games, and the break-away from FIDE of the Professional Chess Association in 1993.

On the positive side, the membership of FIDE grew significantly, by about 50 member nations, during his tenure as FIDE president. Campomanes was succeeded as FIDE President in 1995 by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. He was appointed FIDE Honorary President and was often present at significant international competitions such as Zonal and Continental Championships, Chess Olympiads and World Chess Championships.

In early February 2007, Florencio Campomanes suffered injuries from a car accident, at which time he was in intensive care. No details of his death are known at this point, but over the years he had suffered from "all sorts of things", FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman told us.

Casto Abundo wrote on the FIDE website:

Florencio Campomanes, FIDE President from 1982 to 1995, passed away 1:30 pm today, 3rd May in Baguio City, Philippines after a bout with cancer. He was 83. FIDE joins together in sending condolences to his family and to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said by phone "I thank him many many many times for all he has done for chess. Please send my condolence to his family."

Campo's family is in Baguio City for the cremation services as he willed and they said "Whatever memorials federations around the world will do in Campo's memory will be much appreciated. After his February

2007 accident in Turkey, his recovery was a miracle, and the additional years he had with us was a gift from God."

I wrote an article about Campo's life in chess which can be downloaded from the FIDE site:

After his recovery from from his 2007 car accident, he continued to be active in FIDE, Asian and Philippine chess until his bout with cancer reached terminal stage four last year. He was still strong and hearty on his 83rd birthday last February 22nd but his health quickly deteriorated. I was at his bedside at the Notre Dame Hospital in Baguio City on 1st May. As I thanked him for all our chess years together, he smiled and said "We had fun."


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