Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chess Drum Interviews

Daaim Shabazz has exclusive interviews of both Bessel Kok and current FIDE head Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Kirsan is placing a huge bet on the Topalov - Kramnik "unification" match. Says the current president: "The Topalov-Kramnik unification match offers the chess community an excellent opportunity to start the next FIVE years of FIDE with renewed optimism".

In summarising his tenure:

My tenure has been eventful. I have had to juggle my chess duties with my other duties. Fortunately, I have had very capable people on the Presidential Board and the Continental Boards and various committees who have given me very strong support. The new World Championship format proved popular and allowed many more players to participate at the highest level. The Women's Championships were completed successfully though not without difficulties. In themselves, these were achievements, some might say improvement. I leave it for history to judge. The building of Chess City in Kalmykia, which is open to all players, remains a source of great pride.

Kok, on the other hand, and as might be expected dismisses the current FIDE leadership has having no vision and no long-term strategy. But why take this opportunity now to tackle the leadership of FIDE?

I can name a number of reasons. First, the decreasing lack of success that FIDE has had these last few years to attract public interest and corporate sponsors; second, to basically work again on a golden opportunity to reunify the Chess World after the efforts in Prague; third, the growing frustration of several hard working FIDE delegates with the slow pace in the changes that FIDE needs to become a modern sports Federation; fourth, the fact that I am semi-retired and have more time, and together with my colleague, Ali Nihat Yazici we wish to dedicate our energies and our love for chess to improving the situation we find ourselves in today.

There are two links: the Kirsan interview here; and the Kok interview here.

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