Reports | August 02, 2010 4:57

Karpov starts full frontal attack (UPDATE)

Ilyumzhinov vs KarpovIn the increasingly tense FIDE Presidential election, Anatoly Karpov has now chosen to launch a full frontal attack on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with two exceptionally sharp articles. Update: another critical article was added.

In the two articles on the Karpov2010 campaign site (which now includes an 'Essential Reading' box, making it harder for opponents to claim Karpov isn't addressing the right issues), Ilyumzhinov is attacked in a way he probably hasn't experienced in ten years. The first, titled Can You Believe Kirsan? starts off as follows:

It would be impossible to list all the broken promises Kirsan has made during his 15 years in office. Below are a few of some of the many claims and promises he has made, in interviews and official statements, and the results. This is not for historical review, but to help the chess community to see clearly – and to listen carefully when Kirsan or his supporters talk big now.

The chess world has been regularly humiliated by Kirsan’s statements in the press about, for example, meeting alien beings and admiring Saddam Hussein and his sons. Even worse are the many stories about corruption, poverty, repression, and even murder in the Russian republic of Kalmykia, which he governs (...)

The second article, Kirsan’s Inaction: Broken Promise in Khanty-Mansiysk, zooms in on some of the problems with the upcoming Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk:

The hotel complex, named “Olympiyski” (Olympic) and labeled, misleadingly, as a 4-star establishment, was originally scheduled to open this month. That date has been pushed, still somewhat optimistically, to late August. Even if the hotel does finally open its doors, it is far from certain that all of the Olympiad’s participants – 1,600 of them – will be provided food and services, as no contract with the servicing company has been signed to date. (...)

Having promised sufficient funding for the project, Mr. Ilyumzhinov appears to have shifted the fund-raising responsibility to the region’s new Governor. The latter will now have to go directly to Russia’s top leaders with an outstretched hand. In short, it is business as usual at Ilyumzhinov’s FIDE. Other leading bids for this Olympiad were received from Budva, Montenegro, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, where little new infrastructure would be required.

At the ChessVibes headquarters we've often discussed both candidates' tactics, so Karpov's move doesn't come as a total surprise, especially since Ilyumzhinov's past was a card they hadn't really played yet. Now that they have, it'll be interesting to see what Ilyumzhinov's campaign team will do about it.

Will they point out some small inaccuracies in the articles (such as Carlsen's exact reason for leaving the Grand Prix cycle, or details of the story behind Karpov's nomination by the Russian Chess Federation) or will they deny their existence altogether, reckoning the claimed support of 75 countries (including Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar) is enough to beat Karpov anyway? Another thing to note is that Ilyumzhinov himself has expressed concern about the Olympiad planning, calling it not a "disaster", but "worrying" and stating:

The Organisers of the Olympiad promised to build three hotels. They've built one. Though even that one still hadn't come into use a month ago.

The problems surrounding the upcoming Olympiad are reminiscent of those which arose before the infamous Olympiad in Elista, 1998. Then, a boycott was proposed by several journalists (most notably, Sarah Hurst) and the Russian political party Yabloko, but nothing came of it because most chess players preferred to ignore the problems. Is a boycott what the Karpov team intends now? That would be rather interesting, since Karpov is also hoping to get elected in Khanty-Mansiysk himself.


Update August 2: the Karpov2010 website has added a third critical article, which is a translation into English of Carlos Ilardo's piece in La Nacion of last Friday. This article basically states that Ilyumzhinov has lied about being a member of the Argentine Chess Federation:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), based in Lausanne, Switzerland, has received a lawsuit submitted by chess federations of the USA, Germany, Switzerland, and Ukraine, among others, and with the signature of former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, against the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which directly involves Argentina. The complaint: that the directors of FADA illegitimately nominated Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of Kalmykia as candidate for reelection as the head of that organization. A federation’s nomination of a candidate is only possible if he was previously a member.

“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.

Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll

Chess.com

Comments

SXL's picture

Chess is a mess.

CAL|Daniel's picture

amen.

S's picture

75 countries (including Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar) is enough to beat Karpov anyway?

Wow, that's subtle man!

jo's picture

I'm no Kirsan fan...but this stuff is pathetic.

john's picture

Kirsan just GO!!

Peter Doggers's picture

The Karpov2010 website has added a third critical article, which is a translation into English of Carlos Ilardo's piece in La Nacion of last Friday. This article basically states that Ilyumzhinov has lied about being a member of the Argentine Chess Federation:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), based in Lausanne, Switzerland, has received a lawsuit submitted by chess federations of the USA, Germany, Switzerland, and Ukraine, among others, and with the signature of former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, against the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which directly involves Argentina. The complaint: that the directors of FADA illegitimately nominated Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of Kalmykia as candidate for reelection as the head of that organization. A federation’s nomination of a candidate is only possible if he was previously a member.

“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.

Arne Moll's picture

Another update: Kevin Spraggett, on his blog, presents different pictures of the Khanty-Mansiysk hotel, suggesting nothing's wrong with the planning for the Olympiad (even though Kirsan himself has admitted this now!). A more balanced report was published last week on TWIC. Judge for yourself!

Arne Moll's picture

@S: I see your point, and in case of normal, trustworthy, politicians I agree such strategies would hardly be necessary, but Kirsan's broken promises, disastrous decisions and failed policies are an an important reason for people to support Karpov - their vote for Karpov is essentially a vote against Ilyumzhinov - and personally, I think it's hard to blame them.

p.s. I agree about the aliens. It makes him look silly (to say the least) but it shouldn't affect our decision to vote for him or not.

KingTal's picture

I have much respect for Karpov and i don´t like Ilyumzhinov, but this kind of campaign is really pathetic... instead of making a serious statement about what exactly he would like to change and how he wants to do that he just publish cheap articles to disparage Kirsans person... it´s like in the kindergarden. I fear that if Karpov will be FIDE president there won´t be changing anything... well for the better at all. Still too much personal interests above the game. Chess is in deep depression. :(

Arne Moll's picture

Have you actually read the articles, KingTal? There's nothing special in it about "Kirsan's person" and so there's nothing pathetic about it. It's confronting, yes, but most of the stuff in the articles is very relevant for the elections, dealing with FIDE's promises and Ilyumzhinov's political methods - whether you agree with it or not.

ll's picture

Interesting to see whether chess genius will be enough to win in the real world. At any rate Karpov has my vote. He might not fulfill all his promises but he clearly cannot be worse than Ilyumzinov! Pity indeed that chess is not doing better when it should be fully benefiting from the web's exponential growth.

S's picture

Arne, would you like it if people asked you if you had read the books you so monstrously reviewed? Trust me, I often have wondered ...

These new articles DO attack Kirsan's (alleged) personality and trustworthiness but don't tell us about Karpov's own plans.
Headers as "who is Kirsan?" and " Can you believe Kirsan?" are clear enough, and it is also the reason why you chose Karpov attacks as a title here.
KingTal's observations are therefore perfectly valid and I guess you know it.
That you don't share his conclusions doesn't justify a stupid question like yours.

S's picture

@ Arne, Yes, and wouldn't you say that your "question" to Kingtal is an example of such a groundless accusation?
Since you seem to admit that the letters are about Kirsan's personality and credibility after all, it looks like as if you just disagree about the conclusions.
But there is no reason to believe KT hasn't read the articles.

Furthermore, no one claims it isn't relevant. Whether or not it is "too personal" is a matter of taste. But whether or not Kirsan believes in aliens, well, that should really not be the issue in the campaign.

I can see people getting a little bit disappointed because these letters are not the most dignified way of settling things. In an ideal world Karpov's own program and plans should win the argument, and people wouldn't have to be reminded of Kirsan's broken promises.

rivaldo's picture

what serious statement do you expect from karpov? if you feel they should address one specific topic, you should name it. I think it's pretty natural they rely on improving various aspects, which went wrong in iljumshinovs era. if one would manage to avoid all the injustice, that was done, it would be a huge acomplishment.

Arne Moll's picture

@S: There's a difference between groundless accusations and accusations based on arguments, wouldn't you say?
Trustworthiness is probably the most important quality of any politician, so challenging it with arguments and facts is always happening in politics - it's a necessity, in fact. Karpov claims - with pretty solid evidence IMHO - that Kirsan hasn't kept his promises on numerous occasions. Since often huge sums of money are involved, how is this not relevant or "too personal"?
Another thing is that in politics, public and personal information is always shared, whether we like it or not. And all politicians know this. If you can't challenge a politician for fear of being 'personal' - even if your arguments are relevant, well-founded and based on facts everyone can check for themselves - then we might as well establish a dictatorship right away.

As for writing reviews, if you can show me concretely where I've missed things in the books I've reviewed, I'be interested to hear it.

Mike's picture

If we don´t see Kirsan "getting on his bike" and move into obliveration...

Then the big chesscountries must leave FIDE and create an new fresh organisation for chess.

It is simply "insane" to have one vote for contries with less then hundred active players - Compared to Russia with more then 100 000 active chessplayers, and still only one vote...Such a system is of course easily corrupted.

NoClue's picture

"and in case of normal, trustworthy, politicians"
Which planet are you from?

R.Mutt's picture

Which planet are you from?

That's Kirsan's line!

test's picture

>> I agree about the aliens. It makes him look silly (to say the least) but it shouldn’t affect our decision to vote for him or not.

I disagree. ;)

Yes, there is a such a logical fallacy as the ad hominem attack. You can't use slander for example to prove an argument somebody made is wrong.

But there is also such a thing as character evidence. If you can show that a certain person is totally off his rocker, how much would you trust him to lead a global organization like FIDE?

Martin's picture

Wether or not Karpov's campaign is pathetic, he doesn't even come close to Kirsan's level. Let's just hope Karpov gains enough votes. And regardless who wins, I agree the voting system MUST be changed.

Andy's picture

Karpov would have my vote anyway. He does have a much better idea about what needs to change, and is much better for chess in the long run. Current Fide president IL is completely out of touch, and I'm amazed his "methods" would still work this day and age...Cant wait for the election.

Frank van T's picture

@ Peter or Arne: if this is a superfluous question, please correct me, but did the Russian Chess Federation already officially nominate either Karpov or Ilyumzhinov as their candidate?

Colin McGourty's picture

If I can answer instead... the men currently in charge of the RCF say they officially nominated Ilyumzhinov, and FIDE agree, though the Karpov team have reasonable grounds for claiming that was invalid (in the end Dvorkovich simply took the decision on behalf of the RCF, and it's disputed whether he had the right to do so). The only vote ever taken on the issue was in favour of Karpov.

One strange footnote to that: the Candidates' tickets weren't actually ratified, as promised, at the FIDE Presidential Board Meeting in Tromso:

"At the meeting the candidacies for the Presidential tickets and Continental Presidents were tabled. Since several members of the Presidential Board are personally involved in the election, the Presidential Board will list all candidacies in the General Assembly agenda and all issues concerning the nominations will be submitted to the General Assembly." http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/4671-fide-pres...

javio's picture

As for writing reviews, if you can show me concretely where I've missed things in the books I've reviewed, I'be interested to hear it..

jilly's picture

It is simply "insane" to have one vote for contries with less then hundred active players - Compared to Russia with more then 100 000 active chessplayers, and still only one vote...Such a system is of course easily corrupted.....

conconbebe's picture

That's amazing, You are Superman, aren't you ?

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