Karpov vs Kirsan at the CAS in Lausanne - silence before the storm?

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Ilyumzhinov vs KarpovLast Wednesday a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland started that could have enormous consequences for the chess world. Anatoly Karpov has taken Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to court in an attempt to get his ticket at the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections invalidated. While there's deafening silence about the case in the media, the CAS is expected to make a ruling early this week.

Early July the Karpov2010 team issued a formal request from the international law firm White & Case to FIDE for “removal of false statements on FIDE website and disclosure of documents supporting nominations announced on website”. Karpov's attorneys pointed out a number of "discrepancies and contradictory positions" and illustrated "the conflict of interest and resulting abuse of FIDE powers already present in the campaign".

The request came down to:

  • Remove immediately from your website the conclusory and one-sided statements regarding the Russian Chess Federation’s nomination, as these statements provide an incorrect and biased picture that hurts our client’s campaign.
  • Provide us by close of business on Tuesday, July 6 with copies of the documentation supporting Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s nomination by Argentina and Mexico, Mrs. Beatriz Marinello’s nomination by Chile and Brazil, and all other nominations of individuals running on Presidential tickets and for the office of Continental President, so as to allow our clients to verify the timely submission and validity of these nominations in advance of the Presidential Board Meeting in Tromso, Norway on July 24-25, 2010, at which you have stated you plan to certify the nominations. Alternatively, we are prepared to send a representative to the FIDE Secretariat in Athens to review and copy the documents personally on Wednesday, July 7, 2010.


Questioning the validity of Ilyumzhinov's ticket, the Karpov team decided to take their opponent to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, where a hearing started last Wednesday, September 15th. In this case Karpov, backed by the chess federations of the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine, questions the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s claim to have been nominated by the Russian Chess Federation as their candidate for the FIDE presidential elections. Moreover, the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s nomination by Argentina and Mexico is also questioned, as is Mrs. Beatriz Marinello’s nomination by Chile and Brazil (relevant because a team must include a female delegate). In the meantime Argentina has made clear their support for Karpov.

According to this Kommersant article FIDE's representative tried to persuade CAS to postpone any decision, but the court took Karpov's side and the case should be completed at the beginning of this week. Other sources told us the ruling should be today, but this seems unlikely since today is a holiday in Lausanne.

Deafening silence

Remarkably, CAS in Lausanne doesn't mention the case in their list of hearings. We've tried to contact representatives from both camps, but so far almost no information was shared with us because the case has a high level of confidentiality. A spokesperson from FIDE said that even they didn't know when the ruling will be. Someone from the Karpov team only wanted to mention that "everyone is in Lausanne", but not more.

(By the way, we were also promised an interview with the number 2 on the Karpov ticket, Richard A. Conn Jr., similar to the one we did with FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman. We sent questions about a month ago, but then never heard anything from them. The Karpov team seems either too busy, or too afraid to damage their strategy, to seriously answer the media.)

No elections?

It's clear that very much is at stake: if Karpov won outright in Lausanne, there wouldn't be elections on the 29th of September in Khanty-Mansiysk, and Karpov would be annouced as new FIDE President in the absence of an opponent, just like he was announced World Champion in 1975 in the absence of Fischer. An unlikely, but not altogether impossible scenario. Update: the above is not completely true. If Ilumzhinov's ticket was invalidated by CAS, Karpov's ticket could theoretically invalidated as well by the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk.
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