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Friday, June 15, 2012

World Chess Fed: Karpov Says Major Leadership Changes Required

Former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov has beaten GM Yasser Seirawan in an exhibition chess match in Saint Louis. The match concluded with Karpov winning 8-6 (1-1 classical, 1-1 rapid, 6-4 blitz-Karpov). 

A live press conference broadcast around the world was held after the chess match. During the press conference, Macauley Petersen relayed a question posted by Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum - the most definite chess website/blog on Black chess community (12:50 in video). Karpov was asked whether he had any additional political ambitions in FIDE after having lost the 2010 elections. Karpov said FIDE was “wrongly led” and suggested that the current leadership be removed. 

Karpov said, "I think things should be changed. this is quite clear. The structure of the federation in making decisions should be changed. This is also quite clear. We have big problems because of this wrong voting system. So lets’ say federations which has 30-40 players has the same vote as of U.S., or Russia, or Germany… in Russia they have millions of players… in China they have millions of players. Of course something should be done. Of course it is very difficult to change voluntarily because this is part of count of delegates for small federations, so it will be difficult to change because they don’t want to give up the strength advantage they have. Maybe some other team will be able to convince them to change. This is not only in chess. United Nations also. They have the veto system… which is very important. At least it should be done in chess… the veto system… for federations who have millions of players."

"Of course the United Nations has type of structure on the Security Council where five nations (U.S., U.K., China, Russia, France) have veto power and ten nations (which completely turn over every two years) have none." This was one of Karpov’s campaign pronouncements in 2010.

The Chess Drum Note
Shabazz has an interesting rejoinder to the remark made by the former world chess champion. Shabazz says he disagrees with Karpov on voting because even the U.N. Security Council has been criticized as flawed since it is the same system used since 1945 where the victors of the World War II were given veto status in the founding of the U.N. There is now a notion of having this council expanded to include countries such as Germany, Brazil, India, Japan and Nigeria because of size and/or economic power. So the U.N. is vying to become more inclusive and not more exclusive. Karpov is saying FIDE should be more exclusive. 

Karpov states that veto should be awarded to those nations with the most players. Of course, using the most Grandmasters would not fit his argument since countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan would fall short. Karpov’s notion that chess could have the same system seems off the mark since the U.N. veto was not determined by number of citizens or any demographic metric. They were simply the major Allied Powers in World War II.

If in chess, FIDE had a veto system, what incentive would smaller nations have to participate? Will they participate? Would this be in the spirit of the FIDE motto? Is the current system a way of checking the strength of powerful countries? In addition, there is no notion that smaller countries vote as a unified bloc, so there is no surety that such a system would be any better, but certainly less inclusive and even less unified. It would most likely centralize power more in the hands of a few.

You might also like to read our previous report:
Breaking Chess News: Kasparov Committed to Ousting Fide Chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Arguments/Opinions Vary. Have Your Say 

The counter argument, also posted in another article on The Chess Drum, says many countries actually violate the sanctity of the vote because they do not fulfill the criteria of being a chess nation. This chess argument is ongoing! Email your chess opinions to



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