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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kasparov For President

     I assume everyone knows that Garry Kasparov announced his run at the FIDE presidency a couple of weeks ago. Kasparov’s Facebook page describes him as a Russian pro-democracy activist and former world chess champion.
      Kasparov founded the Humanity Foundation a Free Choice group of Russian freedom advocates with the stated purpose of working for fair, democratic elections in Russia. He retired from chess in 2005 to devote himself fulltime to writing and human rights advocacy and as an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov created the United Civil Front, a social movement with a mission to prevent Russia from returning to totalitarianism. He is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and various other news publications.
      He is the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation’s International Council, a nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights globally, with an expertise in the Americas. The Humanity Foundation BD was incorporated in 2005, and opened its offices in New York in August of 2006. His Kasparov Chess Foundation promotes chess in education.

  Kasparov's Official Site

      Kasparov plans to unseat 18-year incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the election that takes place in August 2014. Kasparov sees FIDE as a social network that can be used to create communication for millions and millions of chess fans and he wants to use FIDE to” elevate chess from the grassroots level, to spread the game in education and as a cultural touchstone as well as a successful commercial sport.”  Kasparov’s platform has six points:

1. Serve and support the national federations. FIDE should provide for its members instead of being supported by them.
2. Increase the FIDE budget by 100% in the next two years via corporate sponsorship. He wants to use a professional marketing approach that will make chess and FIDE attractive to corporate and public sponsors.
3. Universal rating system and expansion of online services: include every game of chess played on the planet, from world championship matches to online blitz.
4. FIDE will provide benefits to the huge base of chessplayers by offering services to the federations such as online news and training, a social media platform, direct support for organizers and journalists, and assistance with fundraising and finding sponsorship.
5. Develop the next generation of chessplayers around the world by promoting and establishing chess-in-education programs. Having chess be included in the school.
6. Review FIDE regulations to protect the integrity of chess by collaborate with players and organizers on a common-sense implementation of the zero-tolerance rule that will preserve dignity and professionalism. This will be accomplished by taking steps to test, and implement strong anti-cheating measures, including severe penalties for violators as well as the adoption of anti-short-draw rules.

      It was Kasparov himself that initiated the split in chess in 1993, by creating the PCA (Professional Chess Association). Ilymzhinov took over FIDE in 1995 and successfully reunified the world title in 2006 but he has failed to raise corporate sponsorship.
      The question Kasparov and election watchers are asking is, “If he gets elected, will he be more successful in maintaining gains than he was with Intel, IBM, Microsoft, GMA, PCA or any of the other organizations he lured into chess or helped create?” Good question. I suspect much of the problem lies with Kasparov whose personality has been known to rub people the wrong way.
      I don’t know about the rest of the world’s chess federations, but in the US things are run by a bunch of good old boys who like a status quo. Throw in the fact that FIDE likes to throw money around come election time (who is NOT guilty of this?) and I don’t think Kasparov has much of a chance.

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