Thursday, 6 May 2010

Looks like there is an election on

With 2010 being an election year for FIDE it was only a matter of time before campaigning began. An yet, when it did, it did so in a very weird way.
A number of newspapers have suddenly discovered the "Kirsan meets Aliens" story. However this story has been public for at least 4 years, as in the 2006 election campaign in Turin, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was distributing a campaign booklet of his life, where this story was prominently featured this story. But while Kirsan thought this was a good tale to tell, his campaign advisors did not, and just as quickly as they appeared, the booklets disappeared (a real collectors item if you managed to hang on to one).
The latest wrinkle is that the Russian President has been asked to investigate these claims, lest they impact on the security of the Russian state. Now while in the rough and tumble world of real politics such stories would have been leaked (or pushed) by Kirsan's opposition (ie Anatoly Karpov), it seems that Kirsan reopened this can of worms himself, by relating the story on a Russian television talk show. Nonetheless it can't hurt Karpov's campaign for FIDE President to have this tale front and centre.
Of course Karpov isn't having it all his own way. He recently sent out a new campaign letter containing both a criticism of the way FIDE is currently run, and a claims for improving the governing body. He was immediately taken to task by FIDE Vice President Ali Nihat Yazici, who challenged Karpov to more specific in his claims about FIDE 'corruption'. Interestingly I was only aware of Karpov's letter via Yazici's rebuttal, as he sent his reply to far more people than Karpov did (and helpfully included Karpov's campaign letter in his reply).
And finally, it looks like FIDE Secretary Ignatius Leong and Commercial Director Geoffrey Borg will be paying a visit to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in a few weeks to discuss chess development in this neck of the woods. I'm sure the election will also be a topic of discussion while they are here.

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