Dato Tan Vs former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes(place DATCC )
(Kirsan and Karpov battling it out)
Article By GM Ian Rogers
The battle for the leadership of the World Chess Federation FIDE)is becoming a distinctly unpleasant affair,with news that supporters of current President Kirsan Iljumzhinov are attempting to sabotage a traditional tournament in South-East Asia. For many years the Malaysian Open has been the strongest open tournament in our region (although in recent years Canberra ’s Doeberl Cup and the Sydney International have developed into worthy rivals).The Malaysian Open attracts strong delegations from China,Vietnam and,especially,the Philippines.This year as part of his re-election world tour,Iljumzhinov promised to give $US100,000 per year to host a memorial tournament for the former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes .The tournament was to rotate around the 10 members of ASEAN,with the first event to be held in Campomanes ’s home country of the Philippines. A new event in SE Asia was welcomed by all until the schedule was announced:the Campomanes Memorial was to be held at the end of this month – a direct clash with the Malaysian Open. With four times the prizemoney,the effect on the Malaysian Open was likely to be severe,but then came news that the top Filipino players – a few of whom had played in almost every Malaysian Open – had been threatened with bans by their federation if they preferred the tournament in Kuala Lumpur. The reason given was that Malaysia was supporting Anatoly Karpov for President, not Iljumzhinov.(The organiser of the Malaysian Open,Hamid Majid,has put himself forward as FIDE secretary on Karpov ’s ticket and the tournament sponsor,Dato Tan Chin Nam,has also supported Karpov ’s campaign.) While Iljumzhinov ’s ‘anything goes ’ tactics have ruled the chess world for 15 years,the most distasteful part of this scenario is that the Filipino tournament is supposed to be a memorial to Campomanes – and the former FIDE chief was one of the biggest supporters of the Malaysian Open,competing there only a few years before he died. Karpov,like many before him, has no answer to Iljumzhinov ’s vote-collecting ways but has now taken the route of legal action, attempting to get Iljumzhinov ’s candidacy declared invalid at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Karpov ’s chances at the CAS seem reasonable – FIDE has lost a number of cases there in the past – but with the vote for FIDE President due in the first days of October,the court decision may come too late to help Karpov.
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