FIDE elections: Netherlands support Karpov, and what's going on in Argentina and Lebanon?
The Dutch Chess Federation has announced its voting for Anatoly Karpov in Khanty-Mansiysk. We bring you another update on the upcoming FIDE elections, including remarkable developments in Argentina and Lebanon.
Dutch Chess Federation supports Karpov
Thursday in a press release the Dutch Chess Federation has announced its support for Anatoly Karpov. After taking note of the teams and the election platforms of both candidates the board unanimously decided to go for the 12th World Champion:
For the last fifteen years Ilyumzhinov has been leading the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Although for example the international ratings are well administered by the FIDE office, it is clear that much remains to be desired - in particular the organization of international FIDE championships should improve, and especially the organization of the World Championship cycle.
The Dutch Chess Federation therefore opts for change, and is convinced that former world champion Karpov will be able to provide a reliable and straightforward World Championship cycle. The Netherlands will therefore vote for Karpov and his team.
Note that the federation ends their press release by expressing the hope that both teams and all members of FIDE will "hold fair and dignified elections worthy of the FIDE motto Gens Una Sumus".
Last week the incumbent President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was in Argentina. He met with the Minister of Education of Argentina, Alberto Sileoni, and the President of Argentina Chess Federation (FADA), Nicolas Barrera. After that he visited the Club Argentino (the oldest in the country) where he met with FADA board members and participated in the opening ceremony of the first Magistral Femenino Diez Reinas tournament.
We wouldn't normally report on Ilyumzhinov's whereabouts, as the FIDE website is usually doing an excellent job. However, we should make an exception for this one as the FIDE President's visit was most probably also related to the upcoming court case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. As you know, Karpov is questioning the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s claim to have been nominated by the federations in Russia, Argentina and Mexico. According to Karpov the directors of the Argentine Chess Federation (FADA) illegitimately nominated Ilyumzhinov as candidate for reelection. A federation’s nomination of a candidate is only possible if he was previously a member.
A few weeks ago Argentine chess journalist Carlos Ilardo demonstrated that indeed there's no real proof that Ilyumzhinov is a member of the Argentina Chess Federation. On July 30th he wrote in La Nacion, the country's leading daily newspaper:
“At the World Championship in 2005 in San Luis [Argentina], Ilyumzhinov was named ‘Honored Figure’. As of that moment, he became a permanent honorary member of Argentine chess,” said FADA president Nicolás Barrera to La Nacion. Nevertheless, sources from that province assure us that no references to such a title were ever made in any official release from the executive, the municipality, nor the legislature. His name was never mentioned on the official FADA website nor given in an official release. “Yes, maybe we overlooked it,” responded Barrera, alluding to a particular person.
And so Ilyumzhinov went to Argentina, where he stayed for just 20 hours: he arrived August 19th at 17:00pm and left the 20th at 13:00pm. Carlos Ilardo took the chance to interview the FIDE President during his blitz visit, and the article "It's an honor to be a member of FADA" was published two days ago online and also in the printed version of La Nacion.
After a few friendly questions and answers, Ilardo brought up the critical one: "Your name was never on any list or official FADA document, indicating your honorary membership. When were you appointed member of FADA, and why? Ilyumzhinov's answered:
"It was an honor to be appointed to the FADA. It happened a week after the end of the 2005 World Championship in San Luis. I had a friendly relationship with [former] Vice President [Daniel] Scioli and the San Luis Governor, [Alberto] Rodríguez Saá, who invited me to his house and saluted me; after a board meeting I was granted membership in the FADA."
However, Dr. Alberto Rodriguez Saá, from his home in El Durazno, San Luis, told Ilardo his version of the facts, which was printed next to the interview with Ilyumzhinov.
"Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was received with the protocol measures corresponding to a Head of State and President of FIDE, so through the 4938 decree 09/2005 of 22, he was declared the Guest of Honour of the Province of San Luis and he signed the honorary guest book of famous people who visit, like all players who participated in the World Championship in 2005. My point being that we have nothing to do with FADA and don't know anything about this appointment."
In yet another aside on the same page (the image given above), Garry Kasparov, who will visit Argentina September 1-2, reacted onto this news:
"Barrera [Nicholas, the President of the FADA] said there was no evidence that Kirsan was a member of FADA, so now what will he say, that the papers appeared miraculously? It is a shame that Kirsan is involved in this farce in such a great country as Argentina, that has such a glorious chess tradition."
"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice. There's more to come in this update and we might start comparing things with Wonderland. After reading the following you'll understand why.
For yet another working visit, the FIDE President was in Beirut, Lebanon earlier this week. According to the FIDE website a "FIDE representation office" is to be opened "in the capital of Beirut" [sic].
Ilyumzhinov was quoted as follows:
"This office is most likely to become the most lavish among all existing offices. All expenses will be borne by a well-known businessman Alain Khoueiry, who invested into the building around 500000 USD. He will also be the head of the Global Chess branch on Mediterranean and Middle East direction."
In another, even more enthusiastic article, the news is delivered that the already mentioned, well-known businessman Alain Khoueiry, is investing two million US dollars for the next two years. Ilyumzhinov:
"According to this agreement with Mr Alain Khoueiry, owner of Flipper 7 and Vogue Publishing, the sponsor shall provide two million USD for event sponsorship such as the Grand-Prix series for men and women, as well as for a number of other interesting ideas which were discussed."
Global Chess? Isn't that the deceased company affiliated to FIDE and responsible for the Grand Prix Series? Or, as the FIDE Treasurer described it in our recent interview:
"Global Chess was an agreement between Kirsan, Bessel Kok and Geoffrey Borg and nothing to do with FIDE. (...) Global Chess really produced nothing and our Agreement with them no longer exists."
Well, it turns out that Global Chess, which had its logo on the FIDE website traded for CNC (which is a story on its own), has been brought back to life.
Interestingly, in the current version of the article at FIDE, the following sentences (still to be found in Chessdom's copy) were removed:
The sponsor will be the International Financial Company "Credit bank". On Wednesday, August 25, the Head of "Credit Bank" Mr. Tarik Khalife has already signed a contract with the Chairman of Global Chess, Mr. Alain Khoueiry and the CEO, Mr. Geoffrey Borg.
Apparently FIDE changed its mind and decided that it was Khoueiry who put up the two million, and not the bank (whose website is currently in maintenance mode, by the way). And apparently Khoueiry already got appointed the Chairman of Global Chess.
So who is this Mr Alain Khoueiry? If you want to know more about him, we suggest visiting his website, which we find quite interesting.
It includes articles about him in various media sources, all of which happen to be owned by Mr Khoueiry himself. For example:
In his early thirties and already a succesful businessman, owning special edition cars and a collection of luxurious watches, a Minister in a Russian state and managing over 10 companies with interests all over the world - This is the story of Alain F. Khoueiry, which he shares with Limited Edition unveiling his personality, his love for luxury and, above all, his success story.
Apparently Mr Khoueiry's success is not limited to the financial world. If we may believe him (and why wouldn't we) even Pamela Anderson couldn't resist him.
Attentive followers of Ilyumzhinov's way of handling things might not be surprised to find that Khoueiry is in fact not 'just' a minister of 'some' Russian state, but a minister of good old Kalmykia itself - which is certainly convenient, if a little geographically, and politically, unusual. You can find the information on Khoueiry's home page. Those intrigued by Kalmykia might enjoy this recent article on how the small steppe republic has fared under Ilyumzhinov's rule.
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