Friday, June 4, 2010

Karpov challenges Fide president

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE World Chess Federation will hold presidential elections during the General Assembly of the Fide Congress on Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. The elections, which is held every five years, will be held along with the 39th Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Just like the recent Philippine presidential elections, it is turning nasty.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

The incumbent president is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, whose passion for chess is legendary.

He has been leader of the largely Buddhist southern Russian region of Kalmykia since 1993. He has served Fide for three terms since 1995, succeeding Filipino chess icon Florencio Campomanes who died last month.

He has spent millions of dollars of his own money on chess, including building a Chess City in Elista, Kalmykia’s capital.

He has claimed that he was given a tour of a spaceship by extra-terrestials in the 1990s and revealed just recently on TV that he was visited by aliens in his apartment in Moscow.

This is one of the main reasons Anatoly Karpov is challenging him to the presidency, claiming that Kirsan’s sanity is questionable.

Karpov was the 12th world champion and considered the third greatest player of all time after Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov.

He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985.

I wrote in my column a month ago that Kirsan is the official candidate of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF). This is important as a federation can only have one candidate for president.

This was disputed by Karpov, who claimed he has the backing of RCF when a meeting on May 14 nominated him as Russia’s candidate.

But Arkady Dvorkovich--best known as the chief economic advisor of President Dmitry Medvedev and head of RCF’s supervisory board—thinks otherwise.

He declared that the nomination was invalid as there was no quorum and said his own letter of recommendation is enough for Ilyumzhinov to be the candidate of RCF.

“I respect Anatoly Karpov as a great chess player but unlike Kirsan Ilyumzhinov he is an ineffective manager. I also think Karpov’s election campaign has been indecent and unethical.”

On May 20 last month, security men seized the offices of the Russian Chess Federation on Gogol Boulevard, allegedly at the behest of Arkady Dvorkovich.

Control of the RCF bank account and website was also seized.

It was also reported that the chairman of the Russian Chess Federation, Alexander Bakh, a supporter of Karpov, was ejected.

Heavyweights France, Germany, the United States and 30 other federations are supporting Karpov but it may not be enough as Kirsan has the support of the smaller federations. Fide has 158 federations and follows the UN charter of one member-one vote policy.

Aside from Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, the world’s no.1 player, is supporting Karpov but former world champion Vladimir Kramnik and women’s champion Alexandra Kosteniuk are reportedly for Kirsan.

BATTLE OF GMS. Wesley So defeated IMs Oliver Dimakiling and Ronald Dableo in the last two rounds to snatch the top purse of P200,000 in the 2010 Phoenix Petroleum- Battle of GMs national chess championship in Tagaytay City.

Here are the final men’s standings:

(8.5 points) – W. So, (7.5) – J. Gomez, (7)–R. Antonio, J. ,Sadorra, (6)-- D. Laylo, (4.5)–R. Nolte, (4)–R. Dableo, R. ,Bitoon, (3.5)–H.Pascua, (2)–O. Dimakiling, (1)–J. Garcia.

Women’s standings. (8.5)–R. Jose, (8)–C. Camacho, (7.5)–C. Perena, (7)– B. Mendoza, (6)–J. Docena, (5.5)–C. Bernales, C. Mejia, (4.5)–S. Cua, (4)– A. Salvado, (3.5)–M. Suede, (3)–J. Palomo, A. Suede.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 4, 2010.