Friday, 26 November 2010

Correcting Karpov

"And another thing, not a direct betrayal,
but still a betrayal, which was a big surprise
for me, was New Zealand. I knew the New
Zealand federation took the decision to vote
for me. The federation president ap-
proached me two days before and said "You
know we support you, and I will vote for
you", but the next day, when we checked the
proxies, we found that the President gave a
proxy to Papua New Guinea. But he was
there, why didn't he vote? Maybe he is still
honest, he didn't want to cheat directly, but
he gave a proxy to a country that supported
the other side."

The above quote appeared in the November issue of the British Chess Magazine and was part of an interview that Anatoly Karpov had given concerning the 2010 FIDE elections. It is part of a larger explanation about why he failed in his election bid, and is part of the belief this loss was due to a betrayal by groups of countries. Of course the problem with the above quote is that most of it isn't true.
What Kaprov said concerning the New Zealand Chess Federation was refuted in the same issue of BCM. NZCF President Paul Spiller pointed out a number of errors in the statement, including the impossibility of Karpov speaking to him 2 days before the vote, simply because he was not in Khanty-Mansiysk .
As for the claims concerning the Papua New Guinea Chess Federation, they are also not true. While the Papua New Guinea Chess Federation held the proxy for New Zealand, our delegate voted as per the instructions of the NZCF, and significantly, these instructions had not been changed at any point before the Congress (as pointed out by Paul Spiller in BCM). He also stated that the PNGCF 'supported the other side', which is also not true. Although the FIDE elections were conducted as a secret ballot, and Karpov would have absolutely no idea who voted for who, unless he was told by the delegate/federation concerned, by simply checking with the PNGCF, we would have happily told him that we in fact abstained, and voted for neither candidate. This fact was known to members of his campaign team prior to the election, and I certainly made no secret of it after the ballot either.
Ideally in this post I would be able to quote a Karpov apology after I had explained to him the facts of the matter, however he is a hard man to catch. The closest I got was via some helpful ex-members of his campaign team. Unfortunately they have found it just as difficult to contact him over this matter and so I have no idea if he even knows what he said was untrue. Ironically later in the interview he said "It is important that people know the truth about what happened." As it turns out, the interview probably wasn't that helpful for any future campaign (and not just for the untrue things said), but for Karpov it ultimately may not matter. The word from inside the camp is that Karpov is done with FIDE politics and won't be making a run in 2014.

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