Thursday 26 November 2015

Wellity, weillity, wellity

Earlier this year there was talk the the next World Championship Candidates tournament might be held in the United States. It was an attractive proposition, with two US players in the field (Caruana and Nakamura), and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov even going so far as announcing it would be in the US (at the closing ceremony of the 2014 World Championship).
However, when it came to finalising the details, the US option disappeared, and the tournament will now be held in Moscow. At the time of the announcement it might have been safe to assume that the US option was just posturing and was never a serious contender, but it may now be for another, far more serious reason.
The US Treasury has announced sanction on a number of individuals, for "providing support to the Government of Syria, including facilitating Syrian Government oil purchases from ISIL". One of the individuals on the list is FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  While these dealings are (I assume) in his private capacity as a businessman, the press release does highlight his role as President of FIDE, and also the murder of Larisa Yudina in  1998.
Given the serious nature of these charges, it is of course unthinkable that Ilyumzhinov would have been allowed to travel to the US, and that the source of any funding for the event would have come under very close scrutiny.
I assume at some point FIDE will release a statement on this matter, although for now there is nothing on its official website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only thing the USA government cited was Executive order 13582, which only mentions freezing of funds. I don't see why Ilyumzhinov would be per se excluded from the USA, though the immigration guys are probably on the same page and will yank his visa. I don't think he would be in any danger of being arrested from this material support, as the Government of Syria is not a listed terrorist organization. Maybe I am thinking too much like a lawyer.