April 15, 2010 18:02

Karpov: "A Champion of Change"

FIDE & KarpovAfter a lifetime dedicated to playing and promoting the game of chess, 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov is running for the office of President of the International Chess Federation. He has released his main goals and themes of his campaign.

Anatoly Karpov Launches Global Campaign for FIDE President

After a lifetime dedicated to playing and promoting the game of chess, 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov is running for the office of President of the International Chess Federation. Below are the main goals and themes of his campaign.


  • A new direction requires new leadership International chess needs a new direction and this can only happen under new leadership. Mr. Karpov wants to lead a program of unity and positive change. His great experience as a chess champion and UNICEF Ambassador make him the ideal leader to return the sport to prominence on the global stage.
  • International support at every level Mr. Karpov’s status and dedication will allow him to be an agent for unity in the chess world. He has already attracted support worldwide as well as a leadership team and advisory panel of unmatched experience and international character.
  • Ending the crisis with a return to FIDE’s roots Chess is in crisis today because FIDE has become disconnected from its foundations: the federations and the players. Mr. Karpov believes that support for our new direction must come from below, to benefit the many, not from above to benefit the few.
  • Turn chess into a modern, professional sport Chess has great potential as a commercially viable sport. It has lagged in this development because the current FIDE administration has harmed the reputation of the sport and shown no interest or aptitude for modernization and professionalization. Mr. Karpov believes chess requires leadership that understands why professionalization is essential and how to build a team to achieve it.
  • The ability to unite and mobilize the community Chess has limitless potential and great resources among its millions of supporters and players around the world. Mr. Karpov has the unique capacity to attract and lead these human resources for the benefit of chess federations and players throughout the world.


  • UNITY. The FIDE motto Gens Una Sumus, “We are one family” must be taken seriously. This can be done by providing channels of communication and community among federations and players using modern technology and by keeping the FIDE leadership’s doors wide open to feedback and new ideas. FIDE cannot afford to once again ignore the needs of its members the day after the election.
  • TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY. Without these elements there is no trust from potential business partners or from member federations and players. These crucial relationships cannot be built without new leadership at the top in FIDE.
  • RESPONSIVENESS. This campaign and Mr. Karpov’s administration will emphasize
    communication and responsiveness with the global chess community we serve. We want to know what the federations and their members want and need from FIDE and to create a continuous and open dialogue.
  • COMMERCIALIZATION AND SPONSORSHIP. Art, science, and sport, chess is also a hugely marketable commodity. FIDE’s current administration has failed to exploit this to the benefit of member federations and players. No one knows better than Mr. Karpov the great potential for chess as a professional sport. For nearly three decades he battled for the world championship in many of the world’s great capitals. FIDE must professionalize its operations in order to develop mutually beneficial ties with commercial sponsors around the world.
  • GRASSROOTS GROWTH AND CONNECTIVITY. The elite events we all enjoy cannot be sustained without growth and support from the grassroots in every corner of the globe. That worldwide involvement is our most precious resource and it has been squandered for too long by FIDE’s administration. The international federation’s resources should be put to work bringing member organizations and members together to better promote the game.


  • We have an ambitious agenda and we need your help to make it happen. Get involved! Individuals do not vote in the election, but you can make your voice heard to your federation to let them know why you think Anatoly Karpov should be the next FIDE President. Our official campaign website will launch in a few days and it is a great place to start:
    • See the directory to get in touch with your federation.
    • Contact our offices to share your thoughts on how we are doing and what you would like to see happen once Mr. Karpov is President.
    • We welcome your letters and support and encourage you to share our positive message as widely as you can with other players and organizers.


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Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Jon's picture

I really hope he's going to win the election, but some of the phrases are quite subjective. But hey, never mind :) Go Karpov!

noyb's picture

This election was over before it started, just like every election since Euwe. Until the developed nations walk away from FIDE, which is dominated by third world nations, things will never change. FIDE is corrupt, utterly.

Probably nothing will change because there is no other significant body in chess to challenge FIDE, and professional players rely on the "legitimacy" conveyed by FIDE's rating system. Kasparov tried to lead the way by breaking the WC title away from FIDE, but that just wasn't enough. At least he tried! He demonstrated that as long as there is the will, hope exists.

Pedro's picture

I think a change of leadership will be a good thing for chess World. We have to be united and spread our opinion all over the World. I'll do it in my small club. But I am realy worried about the financial and political strengh of Mr. Ilyumzhinov over the poor contries.

From Brazil

rank zero's picture

I miss at least one clear statement:

Abolish the vain attempts of making chess Olympic (includes: End the nonsense of zero tolerance, drug tests, shortening of time limits).

Lofty statements like "Chess has limitless potential" from someone who took Ilyumzhinov's millions and didn't attract sponsors for his matches (against Kamsky etc.) should not be sufficient to give him the support of those unhappy with the present FIDE gang.

SXL's picture

Corruption in the IOC was managed, finally. Well, things are relative - it's a lot better today than it used to be, when IOC-membership meant being on a gravytrain that was awash in gravy.

FIDE can also be cleaned up. I believe the path to that happening goes through throwing a light on what is happening in FIDEstan and how the world of chess has been bought outright.

I look forward to seeing the specifics of Karpov's program.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

To me this sounds very much like Barack Obamas campaign. But, after all, Obama was a slight improvement compared to his predecessor.

Tony's picture

is to happen then the all members must be allowed to vote. While the format currently in use was necessary in the past due to delays in communication and information this is no longer the case. People can rapidly find out about issues and problems and make their voice heard. Until this change no candidate has any real chance of being elected uniess they can offer a larger bribe.

JustBe's picture

What the fuck does he promise?


hansie's picture

Go, Tolya, go!!

Martien's picture

ChessVibes I am interested to hear your opinion about this case.

aun1's picture

an immediate change that is needed is the voting system for fide; there is no way that a small country with virtually no members should have a vote that is worth as much as a country with tens of thousands of members. this is why the kalmykian president always wins.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Obama was a major improvement compared to his predecessor... but the problem was a pet rock was a major improvement to Obama's predecessor.

Arne Moll's picture

@Martien: it's not a very concrete programme yet, of course, but what I like about it is the emphasis on transparancy, responsiveness and connectivity. These are two things we have not seen at all for the last 15 years, so this is at least promising in my opinion.

Thomas's picture

Questionable as the Obama analogy is (he is a relatively new face, Karpov is - for better or worse - himself a product of the FIDE system), it may also apply in a different way: He has to deal with things inherited from his predecessor (wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo) and cannot make radical 180 degrees changes at once. He had to make compromises regarding his health reform.

So, if Karpov gets elected miracles won't happen immediately either - Obama already pays the prize for too high hopes being put on him?

In any case, even if a new name is just the lesser evil, that's already progress!? [There are certainly better forums for further discussions on US politics]

Arne Moll's picture

Thanks for the links, Daan. Very revealing stuff. What's probably even more alarming though is the (still highly unclear) events surrounding the murder of Kalmyk journalist and anti-Ilyumzhinov activist Larisa Yudina in june 1998, a crime for which one of Ilyumzhinov's advisors was convicted. A lot can be found about this on the web, but unfortunately I don't have time to sort out the facts from wild conspiracy theories.

Daan's picture

Anyone who is interested in 2 remarkable interviews with Mr. Ilyumzhinov should watch this interview in which he claims to be abducted by aliens:


And another interview in an episode of "From Moskou to Magadan" by a Dutch (Russian speaking), non chess playing, journalist.
It can be found here:


Since the interview is in Russian, I will translate it here:

Kirsan: I am now the president of FIDE for 13 years, since 1995.
I believe that chess comes from the space or from God

Journalist: From space or from god?

Kirsan: Absolutely, I think it comes from god, because the rules are so universal.
Our DNA consists of 64 elements, and the chessboard has 64 squares. It's unbelievable. That is a message from above. This is no coincidence, coincidence does not exist.
The philosophy tell us that coincidence is a hidden causality. I would like that all Kalmukian children and everybody on earth could play chess. Chess learns you the good things. If all conflicts would be solved behind the chessboard there would be less problems.

Journalist: Why do you drive in a Rolls Royce?

Kirsan: because it is a reliable car. When I was an entrepreneur I had a few rolls royces. They are my own cars, they have not been bought with government money. In this way I save the money from the government. The white Rolls Royce I had in France in the days. In Moskou I had a black Rolls Royce. I use to always buy Rolls Royces. It are reliable cars.

Journalist: We were at a Kalmukian woman. She worked in Moskou and than something happened.

Kirsan: Skinheads stuck her eyes out, I know of her.

Journalist: Her apartment is in such bad conditions and she is expecting a twin baby soon. The apartment is not suited for little children. How could she be helped?

Kirsan: With social housing. We developed a program for young families. This year we build 80000m2. Next year we aim to double that. We want to build 150 to 200 thousand m2 of houses. We have agreements with investors from Moskou. We're gonne build a factory for building materials. A building stone factory. We want to help people with urgence, like this woman, And this program is for all young families in the republic. I think she has another house within a year.

Journalist: She really needs help right now.

Kirsan: I know i know.

Journalist: because she is very pregnant at the moment. It would be nice if....

Kirsan: Ofcourse we will help her. As soon as the houses are build, we will help her.

Journalist: Thank you

Kirsan: Thank you too.

Further in the episode the journalist shows us "chess city". An area where millions of government money was wasted on houses that consist only of outside walls, but with nothing inside. So no one can live there. The episode shows us that Kalmukie is one of the poorest areas of Russia, and that Kirsan spend a lot of government money on his personal hobby, chess. While the poor population is living in houses without sanitation or clean water.
This interview and documentary show that Kirsan is either an evil person, or a complete loony. I dont understand why any chess organization is still aligned with FIDE when this guy is running it for so long now. Kirsan is a real shame for chess.

Philipp Somrowsky's picture

anyone is better than Kirsan ... Karpov has a good understanding of what the players need, he has a reputation and seems more of a diplomat than the current president who is simply a corrupt fool. Karpov seems a change to the better. Good luck to him!

SXL's picture

Actually, Arne, two of Kirsan's associates were arrested, charged and convicted of the multiple stabbing murder of that journalist. She was investigating the finances of Chess City.

If FIDE manages to reelect this goon one more time, I will stop playing chess.

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