May 03, 2010 18:09

Former FIDE President Campomanes dies at 83

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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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


john's picture

RIP Florencio, you will certainly never be forgotten!

Noah's picture


unknown's picture


acirce's picture

Very sad.

Spi Tthedog's picture

"was often present at significant international competitions such as Zonal and Continental Championships, Chess Olympiads and World Chess Championships."
Oh yes.
Well, that is one less person bidders have to pay for when they stump up the cash for tournaments. He was on holiday courtesy of sponsors' expenses. Cheeky old sod.

ceann's picture

Sorry to hear this news, Although I disagreed with nearly all his decisions (being a huge Kasparov fan) there was no bad in him I am sure...
RIP Sir.

Gar's picture

We're very sad.
He will certainly never be forgotten!

Timothée Tournier's picture

Requiescat in Pace

Knallo's picture

He enjoyed his life, I think. He will be remembered, not always favourably, but certainly with respect.

Carlos's picture

"Sorry to hear this news, Although I disagreed with nearly all his decisions (being a huge Kasparov fan) there was no bad in him I am sure…
"RIP Sir."

He did five matches between Karpov and Kasparov, and did all for the match Karpov - Fischer.

In all time, the prize fund was ever there. It is not easy to make all this.

He is great, we will never forget!!!


ragdeam's picture

condolence to pokamps family. The guy did so much good to chess. may he rest in peace.

Thomas's picture

Well Arne, I guess every obituary only mentions (or at least enhances) the positive sides of the person concerned - there were also some for Campomanes but see the Wiki article for a complete picture with both sides of the medal ... . And maybe some things became (even) worse since Iljumzhinov took over?

BTW, not meaning to sound disrespectful, but I consider it a tiny bit odd that someone dying at the age of 80-something is called "very sad news" (this also refers to Smyslov some weeks ago), IMHO it's just "something normal and unavoidable sooner or [not much] later". As opposed to people dying prematurely from illness or non-natural causes ... .

noyb's picture

They say never judge someone until you walk a thousand miles in their moccasins. While I didn't like the decision in Moscow, or a few other things, Chess certainly was better under Campomanes than under Kirsan! And he seemed genuine and nice in the video interview posted from recent years. May he Rest in Peace.

Carlos's picture

From the tenth World Champion.

"My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Florencio Campomanes. Fortunately I had always very correct and friendly relationship with Florencio. I think that in the period of political opposition between West and East he saved the chess world from splitting. He showed his outstanding diplomatic talent – Baguio 1978 – and his further presidentship was evidence of that."

Boris Spassky
Tenth World Champion

RIP Dr. Campomanes.

val's picture

An utterly undeserved IM title was personally conferred by the deceased on a notorious influential figure. RIP nevertheless. After all we are all not without sin.

Poek's picture

"Campomanes often boasted that he was close to the former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos." says Wikipedia.
Lets remember him this way...

Arne Moll's picture

I find all these eulogies rather curious. Wasn't Campomanes a synonym for the words scandal, intrigue and corruption? I'd love to be proven wrong, of course.

Henk's picture

With Campomanes started the corruption of FIDE and the deteriorationof the image of chess in the public domain. Maw Euwe, there you have a worthy president, Fridrik Olafsson, I do not know much about him, but that might be a good sign.

Campomanes with his his third world mentality and methods - such as, but not limited to- the buying of FIDE delegate votes, was the second worst president FIDE has had. The worst has been ruling FIDE like a personal toy for over a decade now and seems to have no plans of going away. As for Campo: yes, he will be remebered, as a corrupt and incompetent president, putting his personal gains and interests before anything else.

Pais Pinto's picture

I am very pleased to have had knowing him personally. He was a very good man and had chess in his soul.

Rest in peace

James ( From Angola )

R. Lontok's picture

Campo was ruthless to those who oppose him. He is most famous for refusing to account for the whereabouts of the P12.8 million pesos entrusted to him by the Philippine government during the 1992 Chess Olympiad in Manila, Philippines.

Campo's chess legacy was more of his abuse of power and amassing of his wealth through his corrupt practices.

Campo was at the helm of the FIDE when Philippine chess, once the best in Asia, deteriorated, and fell behind India, China, and even Vietnam.

Ratjak's picture

Arne: "I find all these eulogies rather curious. Wasn’t Campomanes a synonym for the words scandal, intrigue and corruption?"
I don't find them curious at all: De mortuis nil nisi bene.

Arne: "I’d love to be proven wrong, of course."
You won't be, so don't get your hopes up too high

Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh's picture

We missed him very much, he was very great, with very good judgments and also very brave heart to make big decisions.
I asked him (1993) :
"What is your religion?"
He answered:
" I'm my religion."
and He was he was leader on himself and the Chess World for many years, and maybe still he is!
You will be in MY MIND Campo forever!

BHOWANY Hurrynarain's picture

Campo was the support of all the small federations.He was responsible for the promotion of this noble game throughout the under develop contries and he put FIDE on the world map.The Mauritius Chess Federation has lost a friend and a councellor.
Ce vide laisser par Campo sera difficile a combler

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