Friday, March 10, 2006

Clean elections: The two Koks

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

JUST like the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca), which had clean, credible and orderly elections, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and the World Chess Federation (Fide) will try to follow suit.

NCFP will hold its elections tomorrow at the Capitol Golf and Country Club. Unlike previous elections, it will try to be “clean and transparent” this time and erase the lutong Macao that characterized past elections especially during the time of the defunct Philippine Chess Federation.

“I have made sure that the elections will be in order and according to the NCFP constitution and by-laws. We will even have an observer from the Philippine Olympic Committee at the elections,” said Go Teng Kok, the outgoing president of NCFP at a press briefing.

He also disclosed a committee will supervise the election. “I don’t like anyone going to court to dispute the elections. That is why I want to make sure everything will be in order,” Go said.

BESSEL KOK. The campaign for the presidency of the Fide has officially started and the protagonists are incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has already served 11 years in office, and Dutch tycoon Bessel Kok, who has labeled his race as the “right move.” Anatoly Karpov, who expressed his intention to run for president, has withdrawn from the race.

The presidential ticket of Ilyumzhinov (Russia) is: deputy president, Georgios Makropolous (Greece); vice president, Lewis Ncube (Zambia); general-secretary. Ignatius Leong (Singapore) and treasurer, Nigel Freeman (Bermuda).

Bessel’s ticket is: deputy president, Ali Nihat Yacizi (Turkey); vice president, Julio Ingolotti (Paraguay); general secretary, Panupand Vijjuprabha (Thailand) and treasurer, Geoffrey Borg (Malta).

Fide also announced the candidates for continental presidents for Europe, Asia, Americas and Africa. Candidates for Europe are Boris Kutin (Slovenia) and Javier Ochoa de Echaguen Estballez (Spain); for Asia – Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahayan (United Arab Emirates) and Abd Hamid Mahid (Malaysia); for the Americas – Jorge Vega Fernandez (Costa Rica) and for Africa – Dabilani Buthali (Botswana).

Already 23 federations, including Pakistan, Namibia and Denmark have announced their support to the candidacy of Bessel Kok. As to who the Philippines will support will depend on the new NCFP president and trustees.

The elections will be held in Turin, Italy during the Olympiad this June.

Former Fide president Florencio Campomanes will, of course, support his friend Ilyumzhinov and he is still very influential among member federations. My personal choice is still the incumbent as he has already done so much for the promotion of chess, especially on the top level despite criticisms from various quarters. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as Ilyumzhinov has spent millions of dollars of his personal money to show his love of the game.

LINARES. After the first half at Morelia, Mexico, where Veselin Topalov scored minus two, he is on a rampage in the second half at Linares as he won three straight games in rounds 8 to 10, before settling for a draw against Teimour Radjabov. After 11 rounds with three still to go, Peter Leko is still in the lead followed by Leveon Aronian.

Round 11 standings: 1) Leko of Hungary (2740) 7.0 2) Aronian of Armenia (2752) 6.5 3) Topalov of Bulgaria (2801) 6.0 4) Radjabov of Azerbaijan (2700) 6.5 5) Peter Svidler if Russia (2765) 5.5 6) Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine (2729) 4.5 7) Etienne Bacrot of France (2717) 4.5 8) Francisco Pons Vallejo of Spain (2650) 4.0.

The Ciudad de Linares is considered the unofficial championship of the year and is also known as the Wimbledon of chess.

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