The chess world is grappling with a paradox. Never has chess been so popular a pastime, and yet its supreme champions are almost unknown. There is sharp disagreement about who, exactly, is world champion, and the World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym, FIDE, cannot decide how best to run the sport or raise money for it.
Some weeks ago I discussed briefly with Peter Parr the upcoming elections for the FIDE leadership. His take is rather pessimistic. Peter could well remember that time when then FIDE supremo, Campomanes, stood in front of a crowd of delegates and began to frantically wave his fist about as if in the Black Power salute! The audience was enthralled and the Great Campo had pulled off yet another magic trick. He retained the presidency.
The same thing will happen in May 2006. Kirsan will do whatever he can to retain power. One magic trick, for instance, could be to forgive the debts of countries like the Philippines. Easy peasy.
More from the IHT.