A Fide Primer

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Larry Parr

Jul 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/28/98

Three important FIDE issues will be settled at the U.S. Open in
Hawaii. The first is whether to boycott the Elista Olympiad in protest
against human rights outrages committed by FIDE President Kirsan "the
Khan" Ilyumzhinov. The second is who the United States ought to support
for FIDE president. The third is what concrete initiatives for change
ought our FIDE "team" to undertake at the FIDE Congress in September.


The debate over whether to boycott the Elista Olympiad will
probably be framed as a question of professional freedom versus
political interference in the lives of our grandmasters. That is
a valid part of the story, but there is a good deal more.

First, conceding that our players should be free to play where they
wish, do they have a claim on the money of dues-paying USCF members who
strenuously object to the Federation financing trips to Khan Kirsan's
Kalmykia? Ought the Federation to undertake a private fund-raising
effort to pay expenses for the United States team? If that fails, why
can't the USCF denominate a team and tell our professionals that they
will be playing for the "honor" of representing the good ol USofA?

Secondly, ought the professionals who decide to attend the Olympiad
be regarded as honorable sportsmen or as semi-hoods who are knowingly
dealing in goods stolen by the Khan from the Kalmykian people?

Thirdly, if it is political interference to deny professionals the
opportunity to play in an Olympiad, is it also political interference to
finance their participation by using the money of dues-paying members
who object to sending a team?

Fourthly, is it true that the Khan would have confiscated child
support allowances for other projects if he had not chosen chess? If
so, then does failing to send a team make any difference whatsoever to
the Kalmykian people? On the other hand, does sending a team allow the
Khan's state-controlled press to claim legitimacy by pointing to our
presence as apparent American approbation for his regime?


Our FIDE "team" will tell the Policy Board and Delegates that the
United States has no choice except to support the Khan for reelection or to
abstain from voting. The argument will be that the Khan has no opponent
(his speciality is to run unopposed in elections) and that we could
endanger our precious FIDE vice presidential post by failing to smile
benevolently on the Khan.

The counter-argument will be that if the United States finds the
Khan acceptable as FIDE president then we no longer have the right to
protest against future outrages. Many questions arise. If the Khan is
acceptable, then what is unacceptable? Is there anything that FIDE can
do that will rouse the United States to action? ANYTHING?

Those persons favoring a proactive FIDE policy will argue that we
are selling ourselves and international chess down the river for a
mess -- and a small mess at that -- of pottage. They argue that the
United States has to start somewhere at some time.

One idea would be for the USCF to cast a loud public vote for
Canada's ailing Phil Haley, one of the half dozen or so men in FIDE who
have conducted themselves honorably over the years.


Our FIDE "team" will argue that the United States, in spite of
their inspired "team" leadership for some 15 years, can do very little.
We ought to keep our share of the FIDE vice presidency and work
devotedly on bylaw revisions. It will be the umpteenth revision.

Critics say that the time has come for the United States to rid
ourselves of the albatross of our FIDE "team" of Tim-Don-Arnie-Carol and
bring in new men to do the job. This job will include undertaking
vigorous diplomatic spadework to form a rule-of-law caucus within FIDE.

The common estimate is that there are between 30 and 50 countries
prepared to follow an American lead. The purpose of the caucus will be
to push for totally decisive radical reforms or, within a year or so, to
begin the process of founding a new world chess federation.

If the caucus initiative depends on the eventual response of other
countries, a second initiative depends only on the courage of our Policy
Board and its appointed international representatives. I refer to
sending an American delegation to Elista with the express purpose of
bringing the dictatorship of Khan Kirsan to a timely end.

What is to be done?

No American should shake hands with the Khan or conduct even
pourparlers with the man. Quickly, the word will spread around Elista
that the Americans do not regard the Khan as a legitimate president of
FIDE and, by extension, as a legitimate leader of Kalmykia. Further,
our representatives should meet publicly with the democrats opposing the
Khan in his own country.

It is true that the USCF lacks the power to elect a city councilman
in Elista. It is equally true that to imagine otherwise is to indulge
in folie de grandeur. Finally, it is indisputably true that the only
persons who can bring change to Kalmykia are the Kalmykians themselves.

Having said that, the influence of official American
organizations of all kinds in the post Cold War world is immense. In
the case of the Khan, our potential influence is great because HE IS

If we Americans upstage his act, the Khan will be undermined
fundamentally. That's the way the politics of legitimacy work. That's

why Khrushchev and Bulganin disgorged Vienna in exchange for the famous
photographs of them with Eisenhower at the Geneva Summit of 1955.
That's why Ronald Reagan's much-derided "evil empire" comment caused an
upheaval in the Soviet Union. The USCF is not the U.S. government, but
neither is Kalmykia the Soviet Union.

My view is that when the Khan sees his legitimacy being UNDERMINED
by chess, he will bail out of FIDE.

I mentioned courage. If our FIDE delegation opposes the Khan on
his home turf, it must expect trouble. It would be difficult for the
Khan to arrange for several Americans to disappear, but he will employ
other devices. One such -- a time tested trick of dictators -- is to
"summon" members of our team"for disorienting talks at 4 a.m. in the
morning. Another trick is to arrange social occasions in which it
will prove difficult to snub him. (Photographers will be nearby to snap
pictures "disproving" what will be by then widespread rumors that the
Khan does not have the support of the Americans. These photos will then
be run in newspapers to convince disaffected Kalmykians that opposition
to the Khan is futile.)

Finally, the United States should make an unconditional demand for
complete financial transparency in FIDE. The origin of every dollar
coming to FIDE must be absolutely clear. There must be strict and open
accounting of every dollar spent. These demands must be non-negotiable.

If the demands are not met, then the United States should undertake
immediate efforts to form a new world chess organization.

Campomanes discredited FIDE as the guardian of the world
championship. The Khan will discredit the game of chess itself if we
content ourselves with what our FIDE team calls inspired "committee work."


Based on past performances, our FIDE "team" will lick the Khan's
boots. The Khan exerts an undeniable power chic on some of our chess
politicians. The murder of journalist Larisa Yudina and the sight of
well-muscled goons patrolling the streets of Elista are pulse-pounding
stuff. The Khan is exciting, virile and feral. New FIDE representative
Tim Redman seems completely unequipped to deal with such a man.

Expect, then, a Soviet-style blackout in Chess Life of the Yudina
murder. Expect a blackout in Chess Life of the major Human Rights
Appeal that recently appeared. Expect instead photographs of our FIDE
"team" schmoozing with the new dictator of world chess. There may even
be a photo of our "team" eating caviar and drinking champagne.

Remember, though, whence comes the money to pay for the caviar and
champagne. Some of it, quite literally, comes from forced exactions of
allowances meant to feed children.

Larry Parr

Larry Parr

Jul 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/29/98
THE MYTH OF FIDE REFORM In our debate in The Chess Journalist, U.S. FIDE representative Tim Redman spoke glowingly about ongoing reform efforts within FIDE. "At the moment when we have the greatest opportunity to reform FIDE from within," he wrote, "it is premature to talk of a breakaway, with its attendant risks." The light at the end of a 15-year-long tunnel of lawlessness and corruption can finally be glimpsed. This writer has learned about the results of the meeting this past April in Lausanne, Switzerland, that included E. Steven Doyle, who was then acting in the capacity of our FIDE representative. The much vaunted reforms, which were the subject of the meeting, change nothing of substance. The FIDE president will still remain the 600-pound spider at the center of our chess web. His presidential board will remain intact, and the procedures for running the General Assembly remain unchanged. The major innovation is the creation of continental assemblies that will elect a continental president and four representatives to the Central Committee, which will remain intact. The continental assemblies will meet on a yearly basis, and the idea is to devolve powers from the central FIDE apparatus to these regional groupings of nations. In the suggested changes, which are being drafted by Mr. Doyle, the executive council will be eliminated. There is also a provision to establish a permanent Constitutional Committee that will monitor before and during FIDE Congresses those issues relating to voting procedures, statutes, level of required majorities, etc. Mr. Redman's much vaunted reforms are sad jokes. There are no provisions to force devolution of authority to the continental assemblies, and there are no enforcement powers accorded to the Constitutional Committee. There are no provisions calling for open financial reporting, no provisions for establishing a watchdog body over the president and no provisions for setting up a security council of the leading chess nations. The bottom line is that under these so-called reforms, lawless flouting of established rules can continue unabated without penalty. FIDE countries that fail to pay dues will continue to cast votes for those who pay their air tickets to FIDE congresses and Olympiads. Proxy voting remains! DEAFENING SILENCE The Old Guard has fallen deafeningly silent on issues such as Doylegate, OMOV and FIDE. Not one of their spokesmen has been able to sustain arguments for the status quo. The defense of Mr. Doyle finally came down to Old Guardists testifying as character witnesses. No one could deny the man's astonishing derelictions in reporting income from the USCF concession at the National Scholastics. No one could argue the point that he kept no receipts, not even carbons of credit card transactions. As of this writing, there is no available proof that Mr. Doyle ever sent monies to the USCF, and there is no proof that the amount of cash raised was not, say, double the amount in the cashiers check. No matter, never mind. The Delegates lack the stomach to raise untidy issues such as these. As for OMOV, the single prolonged argument against simple membership democracy was offered by Bruce Draney, who concocted an absurd scenario in which a Goichberg-like candidate might spend six or even seven-figure money to win election to the USCF Policy Board. Mr. Draney's idea was that some chessic mad man would establish a nationwide network of phonesters who would make thousands of telephone calls to USCF voters. When mr. Draney found that he could not sustain this preposterous fantasy, he lapsed into sullen silence. He now engages in happy debates on less contentious subjects. No matter, never mind. The Delegates dont care about who wins the argument. They only care about keeping their power. The silence of the Old Guard regarding Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his dictatorship in FIDE and Kalmykia is hilarious. There is no attempt to offer arguments defending our acquiescence in murder and lawlessness. Only Bill Goichberg has said a word about the Human Rights Appeal. Why? Because many of the more pitiful members of the Old Guard find Khan Kirsan to be exciting and vital. The admixture of murder, white slavery, drug running, tyranny and chess is heady stuff. When compared with the relative rule of law under Fridrik Olafsson (Mr. Redman still defends our vote for Campomanes in 1982 instead of supporting GM Olafsson) and Max Euwe, the Khan offers dynamism and, to recall the title of a book by Edward Lasker, chess for fun AND for blood. No matter never mind. The Delegates lack the courage to speak peep about the betrayal of American values and this countrie's interests by our FIDE "team." They will do absolutely nothing. How can I be so certain? When Campomanes robbed the FIDE treasury upon his retirement, he took an amount of money about equal to what the United States has paid in FIDE dues since 1982. In a very real sense, he was stealing USCF money for which our officers and Delegates have a fiduciary responsibility to the membership. Moreover, Campomane made no attempt to hide his theft. By openly looting the treasury, Campomanes was telling us that he had no fear of our reaction. He knew that we chess people are chinless chess crapfaces; he knew that we are fifth-raters and deserve fifth-rate crooks such as he; he knew that some of us would even enjoy the reaming that he gave us; and he knew that people who bend over forward are unlikely to telephone the police to report financial rape. How right he was! Larry Parr

Larry Parr

Jul 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/29/98
<<I have spent some time trying to think of who would be a good person to send to Elista.>> -- Sam Sloan. I can think of at least two grandmasters to represent the USA in FIDE who have courage, honor and credibility: Larry Evans and Robert Byrne. Alas, pProbably neither one would desire to serve. Of course, the policy board would never consider either one for the post. Too much courage. Too much honor. Too much credibility. By the way, there's a good two-page story (Ahhh! Bobby Fischer!) in the August 1998 Chess Life by Cecil Rosner, a Canadian, about the Capablanca Memorial Tournament and the Cuban boycott. Excerpts: "In 1964, Cuba invited Larry Evans to play in the Third Capablanca Memorial. An inquiry to the State Department about his plans went unanswered, so Evans headed for Havana. "I was invited to play and I accepted," says the veteran U.S. grandmaster. "I believe that politics shouldn't interfere with chess." The U.S. government thought otherwise. For years afterwards, FBI agents investigated Evans, contacting friends and associates in a vain attempt to sniff out some Communist sympathies. The full extent of the cold war hysteria wasn't evident until Evans eventually obtained the 50-page dossier the FBI had compiled on him, heavily censored to protect the integrity of the dubious investigation it had conducted into a chessplayer who merely wanted to play in a world-class event. "Larry Evans makes no apologies for travelling to Havana, and says his opinion on playing chess in Cuba today is no different than it was in 1964. "FIDE's charter says there should be no political interference in chess. Chess is a universal language. "It's a position Cuban chess officials must have emphasized to FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who attended the last few rounds of this year's Capablanca Memorial. And for young Cuban chess fans, the equation is even simpler. They dream of a time the embargo will end, the economy will improve, and chess will resume its place of honor as a major cultural pursuit in the homeland of Capablanca." Larry Parr

Larry Parr

Jul 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/29/98
<<Larry Evans makes no apologies for travelling to Havana, and says his opinion on playing chess in Cuba today is no different than it was in 1964. "FIDE's charter says there should be no political interference in chess. Chess is a universal language. <<I was wondering what point you were trying to make. I was under the impression (possibly wrong) that you didn't want the USCF to send a team (on political grounds). But you recommend Evans who appears to hold the opposite view (at least wrg to Cuba). Are you recommending Evans even though he wouldn't agree with your position or do you think that his position has changed (and then this old info is not very useful). -- Tom M Martinak 1. The point I'm trying to make is that with Robert Byrne or Larry Evans representing us in FIDE we could trust them to do the right thing on behalf of America and come back and tell us the truth about what happened. We would get some honest reporting and straight talk. Unlike Don Schultz, Steven Doyle, Arnold Denker, Carol Jarecki or Tim Redman, we would at last have an American representative in FIDE instead of a FIDE representlative in America. Can you imagine either Evans or Byrne leading the charge against Ricardo Calvo for something that he wrote which was perfectly true in New In Chess -- as our FIDE team did? 2. I never advocated a boycott. It's up to the delegates to decide whether USCF dues money should be used to support a team going to Elista or whether the players should raise their own financing. 3. GM Evans and I see eye to eye on most things. Our biggest disagreement is on abortion. (He's for it. I'm not.) 4. FIDE has repeatedly violated its own charter about not letting politics interfere with chess, most notably by kicking out South Africa and by banning Israel from the 1986 Olympiad in Dubai. Larry Parr


Jul 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/30/98
Please move this domestic political discussion to the chess politics
newsgroup. The rest of us aren't remotely interested in this.

On Wed, 29 Jul 1998 19:37:28 -0400, Larry Parr
<75227...@CompuServe.COM> wrote:

> <<Larry Evans makes no apologies for travelling to Havana,
> and says his opinion on playing chess in Cuba today is no
> different than it was in 1964. "FIDE's charter says there
> should be no political interference in chess. Chess is a
> universal language.


Sam Sloan

Jul 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/30/98
Most of us are not really interested in the opinions of Mr.

When I read anything about chess, one of the first things I do is look
up the rating of the author (assuming that I do not know it already.)

As far as I can determine, Mr. Pleasenospam has a rating of zero.

Therefore, his opinions are entitled to zero respect.



Jul 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/30/98
sl...@ishipress.com (Sam Sloan) wrote:

>When I read anything about chess, one of the first things I do is look
>up the rating of the author (assuming that I do not know it already.)
>As far as I can determine, Mr. Pleasenospam has a rating of zero.
>Therefore, his opinions are entitled to zero respect.

The vast majority of chessplayers are untitled (e.g. class level or
[*gasp*] unrated). By your reasoning, these people are unworthy of

Do you still wonder why you lost the election?

-- Steve Lopez


Phil Innes

Jul 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/30/98
Sam Sloan wrote:
Most of us are not really interested in the opinions of Mr.
Pleasenospam. When I read anything about chess, one of the first things

I do is look up the rating of the author (assuming that I do not know it
already.) Therefore, his opinions are entitled to zero respect.

That's a bit astonishing Sam, even against an anon. He has
made some interesting points here, and would be taken more
seriously if he had a name.

I would say that his opinions are entitled to the respect that
he pays us in sharing his name, and also upon his wit, wisdom

Besides (aside) there is someone I am paying a great deal of
respect to just now, without asking their rating. Based,
almost entirely, upon their interesting qualities.

And, after all, often the most considerable people of any
group, are those with the least to say. Phil

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