Reports | May 22, 2010 2:55

Robert von Weizsäcker announces ECU President candidacy

Robert von Weizsäcker announces ECU President candidacyPresident of the German Chess Federation (DSB) Robert von Weizsäcker has been nominated by the DSB as candidate for the presidency of the European Chess Union. His nomination is endorsed by both Garry Kasparov and FIDE-presidential candidate Anatoly Karpov, who travelled to Berlin to support Von Weizsäcker.

Photo: Frank Hoppe | courtesy of the German Chess Federation

In a press release on the website of the DSB, Von Weizsäcker motivates his candidacy as follows:

"More than ever, because of its importance, German chess must be internationally involved," says Von Weizsäcker. "Because essentially, the game belongs in the hands of the players. The President of the Federation added that it is his goal to reach more transparency and relliability in chess politics.

The German Federation has over 93,000 members and is, according to the press release, the second largest federation within FIDE. At today's press conference, two surprise guests were present: Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Karpov's endorsement is interesting not only in the light of his own candidacy for FIDE President, but also because now, Karpov and Von Weizsäcker might join forces against current FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Turkish Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici, a devoted supporter of Ilyumzhinov and an ECU candidate himself.

It will be an interesting rivalry between two powerful blocks. Kasparov said the following on Von Weiszäcker's nomination:

Chess is highly dependent on the reputation of its representatives. Compared to Ilyumzhinov, I have no doubt Karpov and Von Weizsäcker will return chess to those who own it. In recent years, much was lost in chess.

The position of ECU President is rather popular all of a sudden, even though it's not immediately clear to us why. Von Weizsäcker (55) is already the fourth candidate for the job, after Ali Nihat Yazici, Silvio Danailov and current ECU President Boris Kutin already annouced their candidacy as well. Kutin is an outspoken supporter of Ilyumzhinov; Danailov's position is as yet unclear.


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Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll


zee's picture

"...Von Weiszäcker (55) is already the fourth candidate for the job, after Silvio Danailov and current ECU President Boris Kutin already annouced their candidacy as well..."

That sentence leaves the reader hanging. For the sake of completion, who is the fourth candidate? And what are their ages?

Not that it's relevant, but did they really need to adopt three-way, hand-holding, cutesy poses? There's this game that kids play where you hold hands like that and swing round and round. Looks like that.

Peter Doggers's picture

Aha. Included the number four is Ali Nihat Yazici in that sentence.

noyb's picture

One begins to get the feeling that Karpov's candidacy has gained a great deal of traction. Let's hope that this is not just illusory but quite real. If there are African or Asian-Pacific or South American chess federations support Karpov (and he has done much to support them), they should come forward now.

pete's picture

Peter do you know the position of the Bulgarian chess federation about the coming FIDE elections. They have invited Karpov for the WC match, but as far as I remember Danailov and Ilyumzhinov are in good relations.

Arne Moll's picture

@pete: as far as I know it's still unclear, as in fact the article points out as well.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Yes, a correspondence-GM for European president!

Arne Moll's picture

Haha, I didn't know that, Bert!

Thomas's picture

@pete and Arne: To me it looks like Danailov wants to be on good terms with the winning side, and for the time being (as things seem unclear) with both. Earlier he had indeed said something like "there is no need for me to run for FIDE president, we already have a perfect one - Ilyumzhinov".

Arjon's picture

I was at an ARD thing after K and K went to the ECU thing today, it was nice to hear them talk about Karpov's run for FIDE presidency... Too bad ARD also felt it necessary to give time to some irrelevant German economist (also talking in German, so Karpov and Kasparov wouldn't understand) taking the stage, almost more annoying than the host... Anyway, good stuff, things are looking bright for Magnus' wc match!

jhgh's picture

Ilyumzhinov has turned the chess world into a joke

Thomas's picture

Some more info on the Weizsäcker candidature from German sources: Stefan Löffler writes ( ) that it wasn't his own idea, but Kasparov gave him a phone call asking him to make himself available. He further mentions Weizsäcker's team: Nigel Short would be vice president, other members include Ivan Sokolov and Johan Hjartarson.

[Maybe this has to be taken with a grain of salt, on his previous blog also announced the field of Dortmund 2010 - corresponding to his wishful thinking but most names weren't mentioned in the subsequent official press release ...].

Support from Kasparov and Karpov is obvious, the homepage of the German Chess Federation also mentions that "many [other] top players" urged him to put up a candidature.

BTW Arne, you misspelled his name - it's "Weizsäcker" not "Weiszäcker". Besides correspondence chess GM and professor of economics [Volkswirtschaftslehre], he is the oldest son of former German president Richard von Weizsäcker.

Arne Moll's picture

Thanks, Thomas, corrected. (I'm horrible with names.)

Thomas's picture

Arne, your own name is easy, and you aren't family of Linda de Mol ... :)

Stefan Löffler's picture

Von Weizsäcker´s team and who got him started was actually revealed in my article for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

It may be misleading that Thomas mentions my earlier postings on my now defunct personal blog where I dealt with the shameful way the Dortmund organisers handle the Schachtage (or Sparkassen Chess Meeting as they like to call it), where I used satire, which should have been obvious enough to insiders like him.

MarkL's picture

Can someone explain why GM"s support Ilyumzhinov?
Is it the money he brings to chess?
Speaking as an amateur observer, he's a terrible embarrassment to professional chess. GM's have allowed a corrupt autocrat to make chess his personal fiefdom, and to what benefit? The World Championship has 1/10'th the prestige it had before 1993. Who can even remember all the "world champions?"
Susan Polgar is obviously pro-Ilyumzhinov, for example. Does she owe him something?

Thomas's picture

I would not call myself an insider - just an amateur who follows chess news, spreads it between sites (including translating as applicable) and gives his own opinions. Stefan Löffler's former personal blog also contained other, well, inaccuracies such as
"Aronian overall winner of the Grand Prix - FIDE is happy that the final tournament is now redundant" [there are two qualifying spots from the GP, a journalist should know]
"Last round of the World Team Championship: four short draws between USA and Azerbaijan secure silver and bronze for them, at the expense of India" [India DID win bronze]
A blog obviously can include personal opinions (against FIDE, against short [prearranged?] draws, ...), but IMO shouldn't ignore, distort or invent facts to support them. The announcement of the Dortmund field wasn't immediately recognizable as satire, as might have been the case if, say, IM Löffler was mentioned as one of the participants :) . Maybe Stefan Löffler refers to his later post on 1st April, the only day of the year when everything is allowed ... .

Bottom line: it is, or became hard for me to take everything he writes for granted. But in the given case it's different because the same story appeared in a respected mainstream newspaper (as mentioned, but not linked on his current blog) - not that mainstream media never make mistakes .... .

Some questions arise: Why wasn't Weizsäcker''s team mentioned in the official press releases at the German federation webpage? Will it help or hurt his campaign to include a well-known, colorful but also controversial figure as Nigel Short? And ... who is actually on Karpov's team? Mig Greengard once mentioned that there would be some surprises he couldn't disclose - by now we know that Kasparov plays a role in Karpov's campaign, but only as a supporter, or does he also strive for a formal and official role within FIDE?

SXL's picture

While I am pleased there are alternatives to Ilyumzhinov and Danailov for FIDE and the ECU, I came away from the ARD event somewhat puzzled. One got the impression that Mr. Kasparov was throwing his weight about in a manner somewhat unseemly, to the point that Karpov's actual candidacy for the presidency was relegated to a footnote.
After repeated "I will do this and I will do thats" from Kasparov, he managed to remember that it was Karpov who was the candidate, not him.

Someone's made the point that Kasparov's political savvy is at the ELO 1400 level, if that, a fact that seems to escape the man in question, in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary.

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