Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 4th 2014 Contents A53
Thursday, September 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Garry Kasparov spent ten
months soliciting support
across the world for his cam-
paign to win the FIDE presi-
dency and, in the process, he
happened to discover Africa.
The former world chess cham-
pion eventually failed in his bid
to end the 19-year reign of Kir-
san Ilyumzhinov but his tour
of Africa turned out to be quite
an eye-opening experience.
"I was impressed by the play-
ers and teachers and leaders I
met from Abuja to Zanzibar," he
said in a post election comment.
"They aren t afraid of change,
they seek it out and fight hard
for it at every step."
"Hard work is never wasted
and while we did not win the
day here in Tromso, their pas-
sion is already transforming
chess in Africa and soon it will
transform the world and I will
be proud to play a part. Our fight
is not over. As Nelson Mandela
wrote: The greatest glory in liv-
ing lies not in never falling, but
in rising every time we fall.
DR feels no remorse for pos-
itively supporting Kasparov s bid
to replace Ilyumzhinov at the
helm of FIDE. Apart from
reports of the eccentric
Kalmykian s style of adminis-
tration, there is the FIDE prom-
ise of launching a chess-in-
schools programme in T&T
which took almost two years to
see some kind of initial imple-
DR, in fact, made several visits
to the Ministry of Education
where the MOU was signed with
FIDE, but none of the officials
there seemed to know anything
at all about the project.
As a result, DR is left to won-
der whether there would have
been any action at all if FIDE
did not feel the need to collect
as many election votes as pos-
sible including T&T s. Would a
FIDE under Kasparov treat T&T
like that? DR thinks not.
Kasparov said the FIDE
machinery, the abuse of power
"that made votes disappear and
turned commissions into pup-
pets" was one of the three main
challenges he faced in the cam-
He badly underestimated the
other two factors: The Kremlin involvement which
he had anticipated but could not imagine its extent
and how susceptible Europe would be to it. Thirdly,
he did not anticipate how resistant many of the
largest federations are to change.
"They saw it as a threat and looked for excuses
to maintain the status quo."
The challenger also spoke about the need to build
up the base of players to raise the entire chess world.
"More good people coming in will eventually push
bad people out," he said.
"You can go and do it! Find a way to fight for
chess! People must work in their chess communities
and change their federations so that our great game
will get the representation it deserves."
The former world champion, considered by many
as the greatest chess player who ever lived, said he
sought to expand the horizons of the game and secure
His themes were "bringing sponsorship, education
initiatives and new technology into the sport and
empowering the national federations."
He did not believe that the election result indicated
a problem with this platform or with the exemplary
individuals on his ticket or with their many successful
"I was never naive, of course. I knew from the
beginning that chess politics, especially in FIDE, had
been steadily taken over by people who have little
interest in the success of chess and chess players,
but only in expanding their own power. I hoped that
there was still a chance for a coalition of reform-
minded federation leaders and others tired of broken
promises and stagnation to reach a winning number
"The fact is that we fell far short and the result
demonstrates that the rot is even deeper and more
widespread than I believed back in October or even
on the morning of the election."
Kasparov said he sought at the General Assembly
to present his vision of a FIDE that supports the fed-
erations so they may grow strong. Ilyumzhinov, on
the other hand, "used his speech to mock me and
everyone who cares for chess."
"How I would like to have those 15 minutes back
to condemn instead the corruption that has poisoned
our sport for nearly two decades and to heap shame
on the delegates who were so eager to vote for their
own interests instead of the interests of chess players
in their nations," he said.
"Such a speech would likely not have earned me
any more votes, but it would have been more honest
and I would have felt much better then and now."
looks to Africa
Garry Kasparov, former World Chess Champion.
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