Yet another look at FIDE and Russia

MAY 19 ― Looking at the FIDE (World Chess Federation) website, you might think that the organisation is all about Russia!

For example, as I write this column, of the five headline items on the front page, no less than three are about Russia. Of the remaining 10 news items, five are about Russia.

Well, it is true that world chess today is mainly supported by Russia together with ex-Soviet republics, and some oil rich Arab states but when an international sports organisation starts to sound like official state propaganda, there is reason for the rest of the “free” chess world to be concerned.

This year alone, the first of the Women's Grand Prix was held in Teheran, Iran, and the second in Batumi, Georgia with the third to be held in Chengdu, China, while the Women's World Championship Match was in Lviv, Ukraine and the Candidates Tournament in Moscow, Russia.

The 42nd World Chess Olympiad will be in Baku, Azerbaijan, the World Junior Championships in Bhuvaneshwar, India, the World Youth Championships split between Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia and Batumi, Georgia, and the Word Rapids & Blitz Championships in Qatar.

I am glad that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov now has his own website so some of his excesses are no longer on the FIDE one.

Yes, he still has an unnecessarily and often embarrassingly large presence still and now he seems to be joined by Russian Chess Federation President Andrey Filatov and the Russian Chess Federation to not only promote themselves but to both declare their displeasure as well as to threaten legal action that is all too often just talk.

Maybe I don't understand how things work but surely if a publication has defamed you, you would either take up the matter with the said party or possibly sue in order to get full and proper satisfaction.

Instead we have the FIDE website publish on its front page this statement by the Russian Chess Federation on behalf of its president and he is said to be exploring his next move while warning others not to disseminate the indicated “misleading information.”

One of the strangest claims by FIDE in recent months is that the World Chess Championship Match between defending champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway and the challenger Sergey Karjakin from Russia will be held in New York City.

It all started with a press release by Agon, the company which owns the rights to the FIDE World Chess Championship, which was surprisingly picked up by many of the international chess press. They should have known better given the lack of details as to both sponsor and venue.

Months later, and with less than six months to go, it is becoming clear that while this match would likely take place, it will certainly not be in New York or for that matter, in any part of the USA.

To those familar with Ilyumzhinov's claims and promises, his most recent statement on his website signals the start of his, FIDE and Agon's exit from the claim that the championship will be held in New York.

Read for yourself the full interview:

I for one won't be booking my flight to New York anytime soon but certainly will be looking at how to get to Sochi, Khanty-Manisyk or Moscow in November!

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.