How The Main Stream Media Views Chess

GM Kevin Spraggett

continues to lament the fact that the “Main Street Media” does not give the Royal Game decent coverage.

“With two World Championships going on as well as a number of elite tournaments, you would think that there would be a good chance of getting some pretty decent chess coverage in MSM.

Think again. MSM is generally wary of chess and more often than not reports on it only if someone was murdered, kidnapped by aliens or when the MSM can put a useable spin on it.”
http://www.spraggettonchess.com/friday-coffee-21/

The question that should be asked is, “Why should the MSM give any coverage to Chess?” As I have written previously the general public tuned out and turned off Chess when World Human Chess Champion Garry Kasparov


Kasparov showing the blues after losing to Deep Blue

took a dive when losing to the IBM computer program known as Deep Blue. After that debacle of one small step for man and one giant leap for machine all of the news made by the Chess world continued to be negative. The president of the world Chess organization FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,


Vladimir Putin with minion Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

was a one man wrecking crew of negative publicity for Chess for DECADES. The fact that Chess garners any publicity at all from the MSM is remarkable.

You do not get any more main stream than the media giant known as the New York Times. From todaze article:

Checkmate or Stalemate? Carlsen and Caruana Draw Again

By Victor Mather

Nov. 19, 2018

“Like tick-tack-toe, five-day cricket matches and Italian soccer in the 1980s, chess has a lot of draws. But the two grandmasters currently battling for the world title in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, may be taking it a little too far.

Eight of the 12 games in their world championship match are over. And every one of them, including Monday’s Game 8, has ended in a draw.”

That was how the article began. This is how it ends:

“Ah, yes, the tiebreaker. Monday’s draw leaves four games to go in this year’s match. If no one wins any of them, the players will begin an arduous run of tiebreakers on Nov. 28 in the hopes that someone will actually win a game.

First, the players will face off in four games with a rapid time limit of only 25 minutes per player.

Four more draws? They will next play up to 10 more games at the blinding pace of only five minutes per player — so-called blitz games.

Still drawing? It’s time for an Armageddon game. In it, Carlsen and Caruana would play a single game: Whoever draws white — and goes first — will get five minutes, while black will get four.

If this game, too, is a draw, then the organizers will simply throw up their hands and declare black the winner of the match.

Really.”

Listen up, Chess pooh-bahs! This writer concurs with what I have written for many years. He is laughing at Chess because he knows what a JOKE is the way a CHAMPIONSHIP has been and continues to be determined. REALLY!

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Dvorkovich Is Putin’s Poisoned Pawn

Why have the nefarious Russians been allowed to control FIDE for decades? The iron fisted ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin, once said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin also poisons former Russian citizens in countries such as England. Most of the people poisoned have died. It as become fact that Putin interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was the main reason We The People now have a corrupt fool sitting in the White House.

Is Putin a king maker for the World Chess Federation?

Paul Waldie Europe correspondent
London
Published September 18, 2018
Updated September 22, 2018


Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian, right, and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich attend a government meeting in Voronezh, Russia, Oct. 13, 2017.

Mikhail Klimentyev/The Associated Press

The genteel and cerebral game of chess is being rocked by a battle for control of the World Chess Federation that’s become rougher than a wrestling cage match and features allegations of vote buying by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The organization, known by its French acronym FIDE, is hardly a household name but it’s one of the largest sports bodies in the world with 188 member federations. It’s been under a cloud in recent years because of the erratic leadership of Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who served as FIDE president for 23 years before being forced out this summer. Mr. Ilyumzhinov was best known for telling reporters that chess was invented by extraterrestrials and that he’d twice been abducted by aliens (he even toured their spaceship in a yellow spacesuit). His downfall came after he was put on a U.S. sanctions list because of his close association with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His departure has cleared the way for new leadership at FIDE and sparked a war between two contenders: Arkady Dvorkovich, 46, a former Russian deputy prime minister who recently headed the country’s organizing committee for soccer’s 2018 World Cup; and Georgios Makropoulos, a 64-year old grandmaster from Greece who has been on FIDE’s executive committee for more than 30 years and spent the past 22 years as deputy president. Delegates from the member federations will vote for a new president and executive on Oct. 3 and the campaigning has been fierce.

Mr. Makropoulos’s side accuses Mr. Dvorkovich of being a puppet of Mr. Putin and the Greek has demanded that FIDE’s ethics commission kick the Russian out of the race because of vote buying. They allege Russian embassies have been lobbying chess federations around the world to back Mr. Dvorkovich in return for “sponsorship packages.” And they claim Mr. Putin recently pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get Israel’s chess federation to switch its vote to Mr. Dvorkovich. In return, Mr. Putin allegedly promised Russia’s support for Israel to host the next world chess championships.

“It’s a simple contest between the Soviet state, which wishes to control chess, and the long-time officials … who wish to retain the sport’s independence and take it forward and rebuild its reputation, which has been trashed over the last 23 years,” said Malcolm Pein, a British chess journalist and accomplished player who’s running for deputy president on Mr. Makropoulos’s slate. Pointing to Russia’s recent history of doping in other sports, he added: “Russia has been humiliated in world sport and Putin really wants to be able to say; ‘Well at least we still have one of the most important sports, chess, under our control.’ ”

Mr. Dvorkovich denies the allegations and claims they are a desperate attempt by Mr. Makropoulos to salvage his failing campaign. He has also filed a complaint to the FIDE ethics commission alleging the Greek has doled out FIDE money to chess federations in return for their support. “I love chess – and I have done a lot throughout the years to promote it – in Russia and internationally,” he said in an e-mail. While he has acknowledged that Mr. Putin supports his campaign, he added: “There is no political pressure – and honestly I don’t think Russia is in the position to press 100 plus countries to support me. However, I do have such a broad support. And of course, I am supported by my country, but nobody instructs me what to do and how to proceed.”

The race comes at a pivotal time for FIDE. Chess has been growing in popularity globally and the current world champion, 27-year old Magnus Carlsen, is among a wave of young players who are transforming the game’s image. Many in the sport say FIDE has been unable to capitalize on the resurgence because of Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s eccentric leadership and his trouble with the U.S. government, which has crippled the organization’s finances and made it difficult for FIDE to even open a bank account. Mr. Putin has also been keen to maintain Russia’s prominent role in FIDE. The game is immensely popular in Russia and the country still produces most of the world’s top players, boasting 249 grandmasters, more than twice as many as any other nation.

Both Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Dvorkovich have big plans for FIDE. Mr. Makropoulos wants to expand the game online, attract corporate sponsors and get chess into the Olympics. Mr. Dvorkovich is also promising to partner with global corporations in addition to developing an online platform and aligning FIDE with FIFA, the world governing body for soccer.

While the race remains too close to call, Mr. Dvorkovich is picking up support. He recently won the endorsement of the Association of Chess Professionals, which represents more than 1,200 players, officials and arbiters, who are akin to referees. And he has the backing of Nigel Short, a British grandmaster who is also running for president but announced last week that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich.

Canada’s chess federation is supporting Mr. Makropoulos, but Canadian president Vladimir Drkulec said he’d be happy to see Mr. Dvorkovich win. “Either one of them will be a better president than what we’ve had recently,” Mr. Drkulec said from his home in Windsor, Ont. “I think that chess is entering on an adventure here.”
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-is-putin-a-king-maker-for-chess-federation/

I lost all respect for IM Malcolm Pein when he compared GM Nigel Short to Donald Trump in an interview on The Perpetual Chess Podcast (https://www.perpetualchesspod.com/), while going on to say he had earned as much stature in Chess as Nigel, a man who played a match with Garry Kasparov for the Chess Championship of the World! International Master Pein will not live long enough to come near the stature of Grandmaster Nigel Short.

When Nigel announced that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich, I lost all respect for Mr. Short.

It is obvious that no matter who wins, Chess will lose.

Police Report Filed in Batumi
Oct 1, 2018

On September 30, 2018, Georgios Makropoulos’ team filed a police report in Batumi regarding a case of alleged violence against his team.

http://www.chessdom.com/police-report-filed-in-batumi/

Arkady Dvorkovich’s Dirty Laundry In The News

Dvorkovich in the news

by kevinspraggettonchess · Published July 15, 2018 · Updated July 16, 2018

Accuses Makro of Corruption and Nepotism

http://www.spraggettonchess.com/dvorkovich-in-the-news/

Arkady Dvorkovich in the pre-sanctions list of the US Treasury: New problems for FIDE?

Jul 26, 2018

After the inclusion of its former president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the sanctions list of the US Treasury, the banking problems of FIDE seem to never end.

According to our sources, this week one more European financial institution, LHV Bank with branches in London and Tallinn, refused to open an account for FIDE although it is now public knowledge that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is not running.

Facing the reality of Ilyumzhinov not getting re-elected after the infamous Glen Stark scandal, Russia replaced him with another candidate: the former Russian deputy prime minister Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich.

The problem is that Russia’s new candidate is also included in a pre-sanctions list of the US Treasury for, among others, alleged “human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and ongoing military operations in eastern Ukraine” by Russia: http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/30/politics/full-us-list-of-russian-oligarchs-with-putin-ties-intl/index.html , a risk factor that might have influenced the decision of LHV Bank to reject FIDE as a customer, at least until the elections in October are over.
http://www.chessdom.com/arkady-dvorkovich-in-the-pre-sanctions-list-of-the-us-treasury-new-problems-for-fide/

Dvorkovich: “Hopefully, we will be able to avoid a dirty campaign”

by Georgios Souleidis 7/27/2018

https://en.chessbase.com/post/fide-election-interview-with-arkady-dvorkovich

Charles Krauthammer: Leaving Life, and Chess, with No Regrets

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

by Adam Bernstein June 21

Charles Krauthammer,

a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68.

The cause was cancer of the small intestine, said his son, Daniel Krauthammer. He declined to provide further information.

“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking,” Dr. Krauthammer wrote in a June 8 farewell note. “I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny. I leave this life with no regrets.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/charles-krauthammer-pulitzer-prize-winning-columnist-and-intellectual-provocateur-dies-at-68/2018/06/21/b71ee41a-759e-11e8-b4b7-308400242c2e_story.html?utm_term=.60d25502de35

Charles was a conservative thinker who loved Chess. Decades ago, after learning of his love for the Royal game I began to read his column on a regular basis, something mentioned at a small gathering of Chess players, some of whom were Republicans, one of whom asked why I read Krauthammer. “Because he plays Chess,” was the reply. He seemed unable to grasp the fact that I read a conservative columnist until one legendary Georgia player spoke up, saying, “On some issues Bacon is to the left of Jane Fonda, but on others he is to the right of Attila the Hun!” Uproarious laughter ensued…I mentioned reading George Will because he had written several books on Baseball. “Sometimes I agree with him, and sometimes I don’t,” I said, “But I take what he has to say in consideration, just as with Krauthammer.”

Chess: It’s like alcohol. It’s a drug. I have to control it, or it could overwhelm me. I have a regular Monday night game at my home, and I do play a little online.
Charles Krauthammer (http://www.azquotes.com/quote/163123)

The Pariah Chess Club

By Charles Krauthammer December 27, 2002

I once met a physicist who as a child had been something of a chess prodigy. He loved the game and loved the role. He took particular delight in the mortification older players felt upon losing to a kid in short pants.

“Still play?” I asked.

“Nope.”

“What happened?”

“Quit when I was 21.”

“Why?”

“Lost to a kid in short pants.”

The Pariah Chess Club, where I play every Monday night, admits no one in short pants. Even our youngest member, in his twenties, wears trousers. The rest of us are more grizzled veterans numbering about a dozen, mostly journalists and writers, with three lawyers, an academic and a diplomat for ballast. We’ve been meeting at my house for almost a decade for our weekly fix.

Oh, yes, the club’s name. Of the four founding members, two were social scientists who, at the time we started playing, had just written books that had made their college lecture tours rather physically hazardous. I too sported a respectable enemies list (it was the heady Clinton years). And we figured that the fourth member, a music critic and perfectly well-liked, could be grandfathered in as a pariah because of his association with the three of us.

Pariah status has not been required of subsequent members, though it is encouraged. Being a chess player already makes you suspect enough in polite society, and not without reason. Any endeavor that has given the world Paul Morphy, the first American champion, who spent the last 17-odd years of his life wandering the streets of New Orleans, and Bobby Fischer, the last American champion, now descended John Nash-like into raving paranoia, cannot be expected to be a boon to one’s social status.

Our friends think us odd. They can understand poker night or bridge night. They’re not sure about chess. When I tell friends that three of us once drove from Washington to New York to see Garry Kasparov play a game, it elicits a look as uncomprehending as if we had driven 200 miles for an egg-eating contest.

True, we chess players can claim Benjamin Franklin as one of our own. He spent much of his time as ambassador to France playing chess at the Cafe de la Regence, where he fended off complaints that he was not being seen enough at the opera by explaining, “I call this my opera.” But for every Franklin, there is an Alexander Alekhine, who in 1935 was stopped trying to cross the Polish-German frontier without any papers. He offered this declaration instead: “I am Alekhine, chess champion of the world. This is my cat. Her name is Chess. I need no passport.” He was arrested.

Or Aron Nimzovich, author of perhaps the greatest book on chess theory ever written, who, upon being defeated in a game, threw the pieces to the floor and jumped on the table screaming, “Why must I lose to this idiot?”

I know the feeling, but at our club, when you lose with a blunder that instantly illuminates the virtues of assisted suicide, we have a cure. Rack ’em up again. Like pool. A new game, right away. We play fast, very fast, so that memories can be erased and defeats immediately avenged.

I try to explain to friends that we do not sit in overstuffed chairs smoking pipes in five-hour games. We play like the vagrants in the park — at high speed with clocks ticking so that thinking more than 10 or 20 seconds can be a fatal extravagance. In speed (“blitz”) chess, you’ve got five or 10 minutes to play your entire game. Some Mondays we get in a dozen games each. No time to recriminate, let alone ruminate.

And we have amenities. It’s a wood-paneled library, chess books only. The bulletin board has the latest news from around the world, this month a London newspaper article with a picture of a doe-eyed brunette languishing over a board, under the headline “Kournikova of Chess Makes Her Move.” The mini-jukebox plays k.d. lang and Mahler. (We like lush. We had Roy Orbison one night, till our lone Iowan begged for mercy.) “Monday Night Football” in the background, no sound. Barbecue chips. Sourdough pretzels. Sushi when we’re feeling extravagant. And in a unique concession to good health, Nantucket Nectar. I’m partial to orange mango.

No alcohol, though. Not even a beer. It’s not a prohibition. You can have a swig if you want, but no one ever does. The reason is not ascetic but aesthetic. Chess is a beautiful game, and though amateurs playing fast can occasionally make it sing, we know there are riffs — magical symphonic combinations — that we either entirely miss or muck up halfway through. Fruit juice keeps the ugliness to a minimum.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/2002/12/27/the-pariah-chess-club/ebf8806d-eb6b-43b6-9615-766d3e5605ef/?utm_term=.a39c79610415


Charles Krauthammer playing chess with Natan Sharansky at Krauthammer’s office in an undated photo. (FAMILY PHOTO)

Charles was as comfortable with Presidents as he was with Chess players.


Charles Krauthammer with President Ronald Reagan in an undated photo.


Charles Krauthammer with President Jimmy Carter in an undated photo. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE KRAUTHAMMER FAMILY)


Charles Krauthammer with President George W. Bush in 2008. (COURTESY OF THE KRAUTHAMMER FAMILY)

When Chess Becomes Class Warfare

By Charles Krauthammer March 1, 1985

Capitalism’s vice is that it turns everything — even, say, a woman’s first historic run for the White House — into cash. Communism’s vice is that it turns everything — even, say, chess — into politics.

Chess? You may have trouble seeing chess as politics. Americans think chess is a game. The “Great Soviet Encyclopedia,” in one of its few correct entries, defines chess as “an art appearing in the form of a game.” And like all art under socialism, it is to be turned into an instrument of the state.

You think I exaggerate. If I quoted you Nikolai Krylenko, commissar of justice, in 1932 — “We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess. . . . We must organize shock-brigades of chess players, and begin the immediate realization of a Five Year Plan for chess” — you’d say I was dredging the history books for Stalinist lunacies. So I bring you fresh evidence of communism’s penchant for politicizing everything, for controlling everything it politicizes, and for letting nothing — shame least of all — jeopardize that control. I bring you L’affaire Karpov, a tempest for a teapot.

The story is this. On Sept. 10, 1984, the world chess championship begins in Moscow. Both players are Soviet citizens: champion Anatoly Karpov and challenger Gary Kasparov. To win, one must win six games. Draws don’t count. After nine games Karpov is ahead 4-0. An astonishing lead.

Kasparov then launches the most relentless war of attrition in the history of championship chess. He deliberately forces draw after draw, at one point 17 in a row, to one purpose: to exhaust the older and frailer champion.

On Nov. 24, Karpov does win a fifth game, but he will not win again. On Dec. 12, Kasparov wins his first. The score is 5-1. Then 14 more draws.

Then something extraordinary happens. Karpov, known for his metronomic logic and unshakable composure, loses game 47, playing “as though in a daze,” writes chess master Robert Byrne. Game 48: Karpov loses again. The score is 5-3.

By now, says another expert, Karpov “looks like Chernenko.” Chernenko looks bad, but Karpov is 33. He has lost 22 pounds and did not have very many to start with. He is close to collapse. He is about to fall — as Nabokov’s fictional champion, Luzhin, fell — into what Nabokov called “the abysmal depths of chess.” Kasparov is on the brink of the greatest chess comeback ever.

And on the brink both will stay. Six days later, on Feb. 15, the president of the International Chess Federation, under enormous pressure from Soviet authorities, shows up in Moscow and declares the match a draw — and over. Karpov is saved by the bell, except that here the referee rang it in the middle of a round and at an eight count.

Why? One can understand the Party wanting Karpov to win in 1978 and 1981, when the challenger was Victor Korchnoi — defector, Jew, all around troublemaker, Trotsky at the chessboard. But Kasparov is not Korchnoi. He is a good Soviet citizen, a party member, and not known for any politics. He is, however, half Armenian, half Jewish. Until age 12, his name was Gary Weinstein. He is no dissident, but he is young (21) and independent. Above all, he is not reliable.

Karpov, a man who needed to be named only once, is. Conqueror of Korchnoi (twice), receiver of the Order of Lenin, ethnically pure (Russian) and politically pliant (a leader of the Soviet Peace Committee), he is the new Soviet man. And he receives the attention fitting so rare a political commodity: he says he was told of the match’s cancellation over the phone in his car. Cellular service is not widely available in the Soviet Union.

Now, this is the third time that Soviet authorities have tried to undermine Kasparov’s shot at the championsh. In 1983 they stopped him from traveling to his quarterfinal match in Pasadena, Calif. The official reason (later pressed into service for the Olympics) was “lack of security.” Only a sportsmanlike opponent and accommodating chess officials (they rescheduled the match without penalty) saved Kasparov from defaulting in the candidates’ round and losing his chance to challenge Karpov.

But challenge he did. The finals were held in the prestigious Hall of Columns in the House of Unions. That is, until Kasparov’s rally in the 47th game. Soviet authorities then suddenly moved the match to the Hotel Sport outside the city center. “Like moving from Carnegie Hall to a gin mill in Poughkeepsie,” says Larry Parr, editor of Chess Life magazine.

I interpreted the move to mean that Chernenko was about to die, since the Hall of Columns is where Soviet leaders (like Dmitri Ustinov) lie in state. Silly me. I was insufficiently cynical about Soviet behavior. The reason for the move was not to bury Chernenko (he continues to be propped up like a Potemkin villain), but to save Karpov. The move took eight days — eight otherwise illegal days of rest for Karpov.

It didn’t help. Karpov was too far gone. Kasparov destroyed him the very next day in the 48th game. Soviet officials then made sure it was the last.

Now do you believe me?

A month ago I would not have believed it myself. (Kasparov still does not believe it.) Fix the biggest chess match in the world? Steal the championship from one Soviet citizen for a marginal propaganda gain? In broad daylight?

Still, we must be careful. Unfortunate episodes like these tend to fuel native American paranoia about how far the Soviets will go in relentless pursuit of even the most speculative political advantage. We must resist such facile reactions. Next thing you know someone will claim that the KGB got the Bulgarians to hire a Turk to shoot the pope to pacify Poland.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1985/03/01/when-chess-becomes-class-warfare/51584d63-ede9-49bf-9b3f-40b7ea91e606/?utm_term=.ee5b4244d2fe

TYRANNY OF CHESS

By Charles Krauthammer October 16, 1998

Not all chess players are crazy. I’m willing to venture that. But not much more. Eccentricity does reign in our precincts. In my 20s, I used to hang out at the Boston Chess Club. The front of the club was a bookstore in which you’d mill around, choose a partner, put your money down with the manager and go to the back room — 20 or so boards set up in utter barrenness — for some action. (At five bucks an hour it was cheaper than a bordello, but the principle seemed disturbingly similar to me.)

I remember one back room encounter quite vividly. The stranger and I sat down to the board together. I held out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Charles.” He pushed his white king’s pawn and said, “I’m white,” fixing me with a glare that said, “Don’t you dare intrude into my space with names.” It was dead silence from then on.

A psychiatrist colleague of mine came by to fetch me a few hours later. He surveyed the clientele — intense, disheveled, autistic — and declared, “I could run a group in here.”

Don’t get me wrong. Most chess players are sane. In fact, a group of the saner ones, mostly journalists and writers, meets at my house every Monday night for speed chess. (You make all your moves in under nine minutes total, or you lose.) But all sane chess players know its dangers. Chess is an addiction. Like alcohol, it must be taken in moderation. Overindulgence can lead to a rapid downward spiral.

Vladimir Nabokov (a gifted creator of chess problems and a fine player, by the way) wrote a novel based on the premise of the psychic peril of too close an encounter with “the full horror and abysmal depths” of chess, as he called its closed, looking-glass world. (Nabokov’s chess champion hero, naturally, goes bonkers.)

Chess players, says former U.S. champion Larry Christiansen, inhabit a “subterranean, surreal world. It is not the real world, not even close.” So what happens when a creature of that nether world seizes political power?

Impossible, you say: Sure, there have been dictators — Lenin, for example — who played serious chess, but there has never been a real chess player who became a dictator.

And no wonder, considering the alarming number of great players who were so certifiably nuts they’d have trouble tying their shoelaces, let alone running a country. Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, claimed to have played against God, given Him an extra pawn, and won. Bobby Fischer had the fillings in his teeth removed to stop the radio transmissions.

Well, in some Godforsaken corner of the Russian empire, Kalmykia on the Caspian, where the sheep outnumber people 2 to 1, the impossible has happened. A chess fanatic has seized power. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, former boy chess champion, current president of the International Chess Federation, was elected president of Kalmykia two years ago on the promise of a cell phone for every sheepherder and $100 for every voter in his destitute republic.

Naturally, nothing came of these promises. But once elected, he seized all the instruments of power including the police, the schools and the media.

Result? Ilyumzhinov calls it the world’s first “chess state.” God help us. Compulsory chess classes in all schools. Prime-time chess on TV. And in the midst of crushing poverty, a just erected “Chess City,” a surreal Potemkin village topped by a five-story glass-pavilioned chess palace where Ilyumzhinov has just staged an international chess tournament.

This scene (drolly described by Andrew Higgins in the Wall Street Journal) would be Groucho running Fredonia if it weren’t for the little matter of the opposition journalist recently murdered after being lured to a meeting where she was promised evidence of Ilyumzhinov’s corruption. (Ilyumzhinov denies involvement. Perhaps it depends on how you define the word “involve.”) Kalmykia is beginning to look less like Woody Allen’s “Bananas” than Nurse Ratched’s “Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Ilyumzhinov rides around in his Rolls-Royces, presiding over a state that specializes in corruption and tax evasion. The Washington Post reports that he paved the road from the airport to the capital and painted every building along the way, but only the side that faces the road. So now the world knows what chess players have known all along: A passion for chess, like a drug addiction or a criminal record, should be automatic disqualification for any serious public activity. Column writing excepted, of course.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1998/10/16/tyranny-of-chess/8854cca6-ca40-4e90-bfa1-d9d90c5f4d6c/?utm_term=.d46f29d730b4

https://en.chessbase.com/post/krauthammer-on-che-just-how-dangerous-is-it-

Charles Krauthammer: Chess is not an Olympic sport. But it should be

https://www.weeklystandard.com/be-afraid/article/9802

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2018/02/07/the-brute-force-of-deep-blue-and-deep-learning/#3dfc9ad49e35

Nigel Short For FIDE President

It was with pleasure I read the exciting news when GM Nigel Short

announced he would be running for POFIDE on the Chessdom website.

Nigel Short announces candidacy for FIDE President 2018-2022

May 7, 2018

“The English Grandmaster Nigel Short has announced his candidacy for FIDE President at the upcoming elections during the Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. Nigel Short chose a Norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten, to break the news. In an interview he says that he “believes the chess world deserves a better alternative”. The full details of Nigel Short’s campaign will be announced by the end of May.

This candidacy comes amid huge battle between Makropoulos and Ilyumzhinov,

the other two candidates for FIDE President.”
http://www.chessdom.com/nigel-short-announces-candidacy-for-fide-president-2018-2022/

FIDE needs change, drastic change, which is acknowledged by those paying attention to what has happened to the Chess World while Kirsan has been piloting the Starship with his team.

Unfortunately Kirsan’s starship FIDE has gone into a nosedive. As is said, “The ground is coming up fast.” Simply put, the Chess world cannot survive another term of Kirsan the ET.

Ilyumzhinov speaks about the proven secret to eternal youth

“On 8 May, in an interview to the National News Service, the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said that chess lessons not only increase life expectancy but also help to ensure healthy old age.

“As the president of FIDE, I would like to say that chess has a beneficial effect on the psyche and on the moral and physical state of a person. People aged 50 and over are strongly encouraged to play chess or at least practice it for half an hour. Chess is the only way to prevent aging memory loss.” (http://kirsan.today/en/analytics/item/2310-ilyumzhinov-speaks-about-the-proven-secret-to-eternal-youth.html)

This is but one example of the strange things Kirsan the ET has said while piloting the starship Chess. Certainly there are many other ways “…to prevent aging memory loss.”

The other candidate, Georgios Makropoulous,

has been Kirsan’s deputy for about two decades. One reads Makro has been “running things” while Kirsan visits despotic dictators and travels the universe with his out of this world “friends.”

Makro is a bureaucrat (An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure) who knows where the bodies are buried.

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”― Albert Einstein

It is folly to believe Makro will somehow avert the coming crash landing of the Starship Chess.

Before writing I researched Georgios Makropoulous. This is the headline from one of the articles dated 2013:

Georgios Makropoulos: “Ilyumzhinov Is the Biggest Guarantee at This Moment In FIDE”

“At least we have Kirsan as our guarantee. Kirsan is the biggest guarantee at this moment in FIDE, if something is wrong. He is always there asking if we have some problems.”

“Are you also asking about my personal weaknesses? That’s an interesting question… I am very loyal to my friends and I think that is not always very good for FIDE.” (http://chess-news.ru/en/node/13774)

What else do you need to know about Makro?

The peripatetic Nigel has long written a column for the best Chess magazine in the world, New In Chess, concerning his adventures while traveling the world. Mr. Short has been a roving ambassador for Chess all of his adult life, and his writing has been fascinating.

The Dutch World Chess Champion Machgielis Euwe

was president of FIDE from 1970-1978, and Grandmaster Fridrik Olafsson

of Iceland was POFIDE from 1978-1982. Compared to those taking the helm after their departure they did an outstanding job of piloting the ship of Chess. FIDE needs a leader who actually plays Chess. When was the last time you noticed either Kirsan the ET or Makro the functionary actually play the Royal game? I was unable to locate any articles or videos with Makro playing Chess, but it was easy to locate Kirsan the Et playing the Royal game. Here Kirsan is in all his glory:

In the article, FIDE Money Transferred To Fiduciary Accounts, by Peter Doggers, May 14, 2018, one reads:

“On May 4, FIDE transferred its money to two fiduciary accounts after the Swiss bank UBS had closed its account at the start of the month. This was revealed by FIDE’s treasurer on Sunday.

It took the World Chess Federation two weeks, but finally the national chess federations and everyone else have been informed about the whereabouts of FIDE’s money. And still, questions remain.

It all started in February, when FIDE treasurer Adrian Siegel shared with the world that FIDE’s bank, UBS in Switzerland, threatened to close their bank account because of president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s presence on the sanctions list of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

UBS agreed to postpone the deadline to April 30, but no longer. And indeed, the account was closed, and FIDE has been without a bank account since.

Active as ever on social media, GM Nigel Short has been focusing on this money issue since he announced his candidacy for the FIDE presidential elections. On Twitter he asked the same questions as in our previous report, wondering whether FIDE’s money was now “in a mattress” or “sent to Qatar”—the latter, because the Qatar Chess Federation’s president Khalifa Mohammed Al-Hitmi had offered FIDE to use his accounts.

The @FIDE_chess administration, headed by Makropoulos, transferred millions out of the @UBS account, before it was closed on April 30th. Where is the money now? If they have opened a new account in FIDE’s name, why are they not telling us? Or is it, perhaps, in a mattress?
— Nigel Short ( @nigelshortchess) May 8, 2018

Question to @FIDE_chess: can you confirm that the FIDE millions have been transferred to Qatar, as suggested by Makropoulos here? https://t.co/5kMUFoYWl3 If so, are they in a FIDE account? If not, can you kindly explain why you are not committing a criminal offence? #Governance
— Nigel Short ( @nigelshortchess) May 9, 2018

There’s a slight issue with that, because Short is not in Athens and won’t be for another month. He is the top seed in a tournament in Kolkata, India which starts today, and he will be away from home for over a month. In a tweet, he asked for scans of the documents.

In the spirit of complete transparency, I have asked @FIDE_chess Treasurer to send me scans of the relevant financial and legal documents as I will not be back in Athens, to examine them myself, for over one month.
— Nigel Short ( @nigelshortchess) May 14, 2018

Questions remain, such as whether the two trust companies in Switzerland and Hong Kong are reliable, and whether the recent actions of FIDE officials have followed the correct procedures. A more general question is whether FIDE could have avoided the loss of its UBS account, and the legal costs connected to this.

“I am afraid that we have to pay an essential five-digit amount for the lawyers since the really had to struggle with UBS which initially have even frozen our money,” said Siegel.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/fide-money-transferred-to-fiduciary-accounts)

Imagine that…Nigel is participating in a CHESS TOURNAMENT! That is who he is and what he does, and has done most, if not all, of his life.

Medical students must take the Hippocratic Oath. One of the promises within that oath is “first, do no harm.” Under the leadership of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Georgios Makropoulous Chess has been irrefutably harmed. GM Nigel Short has devoted his life to Chess. He has enhanced the Royal game for many decades. Chess needs, requires, new leadership. I do not know if anyone can save Chess. I do know that without change, drastic change, Chess will not survive in the marketplace of ideas. The Kremlin

has thrown its support to Kirsan and the ETs. This is the same Kremlin that subverted and perverted the last Presidential election in the United States of America.

Chess needs a new “face.” The POFIDE is the face of Chess. Nigel Short will be a positive “face” and spokesman. I believe Nigel Short is the best man for the task.

Kevin Spraggett’s Whipping Post

Georgios Makropoulos,

acting-FIDE president, sent a letter to GM Kevin Spraggett

which appeared on Kevin’s website today (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/2018-fide-election-campaign/).

“Dear Kevin,

The reason for my present letter is your recent posts on your website about the upcoming FIDE elections and I would like to have my reply published as well.

I believe that your website was one of the most objective during the previous election campaign of 2014. But, unfortunately, I am afraid that this year you have turned your website, most probably unintentionally, to a propaganda outlet of Kirsan.”

I have been flummoxed as to why Kevin would support Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,

known to most of the world as the man who took a trip around the universe as a guest of Aliens, or ET’s, if you prefer.

Like a politician, Makropoulous included a caveat when he wrote, “…most probably unintentionally.” I have read the same thing Makro has read and what Kevin wrote was intentional. I cannot understand how anyone could read Kevin’s blog and feel it was anything but intentional.

In his post of May 7, Stranger things have happened! Remember Trump?, Spraggett writes, “Monty Python is alive and well…” He then wrote: “Here comes Nigel Short onto the world stage! I love the British sense of humour…” Underneath he posted this picture:

http://www.spraggettonchess.com/stranger-things-have-happened/

That is not funny, it is an INSULT!

Spraggett’s post of May 11 continued with, 2018 FIDE Carnival Begins! Again Kevin insults Nigel Short

again by using the previous picture:

Kevin writes, “I have read what a lot of commentators on the social media have written on the subject of a 3-horse race. I think that not one has stated the obvious: Nigel Short is Kasparov’s proxy.”

Kevin gives absolutely nothing to back up his claim that Nigel is “Kasparov’s proxy.” This is not only insulting, but libelous. There is more: “Kasparov can be a jerk (at times), but we all forgive him. The same will not likely be said concerning Nigel.”
http://www.spraggettonchess.com/friday-coffee-part-ii/

Kasparov beat Nigel in a match for the World Chess Championship so he is forgiven for being a “jerk” but the man who lost will not be forgiven for being a “jerk?”

Until reading Kevin’s blog I was unaware there was a Main Stream Chess Media, which he puts into the “right-wing” category. In this post Kevin continues tying the Chess “MSM” to the whipping post:

“Good morning, Monday! It is the middle of the month already…where does the time go? You can tell it is approaching the middle of the year when the number of tournaments (teams and individual) are such that it is (almost) impossible to follow them all. Not that some well known sites care less…

Have you also noticed how FEW tournaments are followed by the more popular chess-news blogs? The ‘msm-chess’ sites , in the english language , that I am referring to include Chess.Com, ChessBase, ChessDom, Susan Polgar’s DailyChessNews, and one or two others. If you visit these sites during the week, you will have noticed that they cover virtually the same few tournaments.

Worse still, the political views expressed on these sites all have the same right-ish bias. (Don’t take me literally, please.) I don’t have a problem with this, but it does get boring to see the world as either black/white or as a hammer/nail type of model.”
http://www.spraggettonchess.com/monday-coffee-32/

Kevin also criticizes the regular, so-called, Main Stream Media:

“One of my favourite topics on this blog is how MSM (main stream media) more often than not goes out of its way to give chess a bad name. Any ugly story that might otherwise go unnoticed soon becomes headlines if the main character involved ever played a game of chess. The narrative immediately changes from ‘a random crime was committed’ to ‘one more chess player goes crazy’.

Witness the Women’s World Championship being played this week. Does MSM report on it? No way! But this past week has seen a higher than average number of articles in MSM linking chess to sex crimes and even murder. Here are just three examples. Of course there are more!” (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/friday-coffee-chess-and-potpourri/)

Kevin shows pictures of three recent incidents in which the word “chess” is given.

Man who taught children chess sentenced to 12 years in prison for downloading child pornography

If the word “chess” had been “golf,” or “piano,” do you think he would have put it on his blog? How many “teachers” are there in the whole country? Something like this occurs almost every day yet Kevin thinks the “MSM” “goes out of its way to give chess a bad name.” The MSM reports the news.

The second one:

‘Chess ace’ accused of murdering professor is perp-walked

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1685338/Video-Chess-ace-accused-murdering-professor-perp-walked.html

Change ‘Chess’ above to “billiards.” Do you think that would have been included on Kevin’s blog?

The last one:

Minor girl accuses chess coach of molestation

https://udaipurtimes.com/minor-girl-accuses-chess-coach-of-molestation/

By now I’m sure you get my drift…

Kevin poses a question:

“Witness the Women’s World Championship being played this week. Does MSM report on it? No way!”

There is a reason the “MSM” does not report on the Women’s World Championship but Kevin segues into “…MSM linking chess to sex crimes…” without doing anything other than to slam the “MSM” for NOT covering the WoCC. Give me a reason why it should be reported on the “MSM” Kevin! Think of it from the perspective of the person who decides how much space is to be devoted to anything. He would ask himself, “How many people know about the WoCC? How many people care if there is a WoCC?” After pausing he could think, “We do not cover the men’s WCC. Why would we cover the WoCC?”

The lack of coverage of Chess by the “MSM” is an indication of how society values the Royal game. In the minds of the general public things changed dramatically after Kasparov lost to Deep Blue. I cannot count the times someone who learns about my involvement with the game has said something along the lines of, “I thought people stopped playing after thr Russian lost to that machine.”

Wake up and smell the coffee, Kevin! The “MSM” needs a reason to utilize valuable space with a Chess story. If, for example, a female player managed to win a candidates tournament and challenge the World Champ how much space would be devoted to the match?

Then there is the problem of continued cheating, and cheating allegations, in Chess.:

GM Solozhenkin Suspended For Making Cheating Accusations; Fellow GMs Protest

PeterDoggers
Apr 13, 2018, 2:01 AM

“The FIDE ethics commission has suspended GM Evgeniy Solozhenkin for making unsubstantiated allegations of cheating, published in different articles on the internet. A group of grandmasters has written an open letter in support of Solozhenkin.

It’s an incident that shocked the Russian chess scene, and even months later, things haven’t calmed down. A 13-year-old girl, whose rating had reached that of IM level, was accused of cheating by a well-known Russian coach during the World Youth U14 last September in Uruguay.”

(https://www.chess.com/news/view/gm-solozhenkin-suspended-for-cheating-accusations-fellow-gms-protest)

The Chess world must face, and come to terms with, the fact that there are more stories concerning Chess cheating than about playing Chess.

A blind man can see that the Chess world is in crisis. If you do not think the fortunes of something can change in a short period of time, look at NASCAR. All one needs do is read the headlines:

NASCAR Is In Trouble And Nobody Wants To Talk About It

https://beyondtheflag.com/2016/04/19/nascar-trouble-nobody-wants-talk/

That was two years ago. This was before the 2018 season:

NASCAR Wobbles Into 2018 Low On Gas, And Badly Needing A Spark

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davecaldwell/2017/12/18/nascar-wobbles-into-2018-low-on-gas-and-badly-needing-a-spark/#18a133da6a62

This is today:

Can NASCAR’s biggest problems be repaired? Petty, Gordon and other legends weigh in

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nascar-auto-racing/thatsracin/article207551864.html#storylink=cpy

One of the major problems is the folks who run NASCAR changed the traditional format of a race which alienated the most ardent racing enthusiasts. Knowing this caused me to cogitate on the changes that have been made to how Chess is played. The time for thinking has continued to diminish. For some reason those making decisions have decided to transform Chess into a much faster game. Chess is not Backgammon.

Chess is a wonderful tool with which to teach a child how to think. Why should Chess be taken seriously when the point of the game is to THINK, and time to do so is increasingly limited? What purpose does it serve to teach a child how to play Chess when there is not enough time to think?

Ask yourself, “Why should the “MSM” take the Royal game seriously when the collective Chess World does not take it seriously? How can anyone in their right mind believe yet another Kirsan term will change the downward trajectory on which the Royal game founders? How can anyone in their right mind think the “MSM” will take the news that Kirsan the ET will continue running the Royal game into the ground? Does the Chess world want Kirsan the ET, who has been ridiculed, pilloried, and sanctioned, continuing as the face of Chess?

Is The Most Powerful Man In Chess A Lunatic?

What people who do not play Chess think of the Royal game matters. If people consider those who are in control of the game suspect, the Royal game is suspect. For decades the top man at FIDE, the governing body of World Chess, has been ridiculed by the press. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the President of FIDE, and the man who has made Chess a punch line to some kind of sick joke about Chess.

The following article at the Deadspin website is yet another in a long line of articles (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/chess-with-qaddafi-and-aliens) (https://www.rferl.org/a/chess-ilyumzhinov-denies-resignation-russia/28393841.html) disparaging the FIDE President, and by inference, the Royal game.

The Most Powerful Man In Chess Is Maybe A Lunatic

By Patrick Redford 3/30/17

The sports world is replete with notably wacky commissioners and leaders, and for all the wild shit that the Sepp Blatters and Oleg Tinkovs of the world get up to, the World Chess Federation’s president probably has them all beat. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

has been the top dog at FIDE since 1995, and for most of that time he was also president of Kalmykia, a majority-Buddhist, semi-autonomous Russian republic in the Caucasus Mountains near Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan.

Ilyumzhinov is also a world-class kook who believes that chess was invented by aliens, and has repeatedly claimed that he was abducted by aliens in 1997 and taken to visit a distant star.


Ilyumzhinov has sensationally claimed he was taken on a trip through space (Getty)

The way he sees it, aliens will inevitably come back to Earth and “take us away” as punishment for “bad behavior.”

That he’s remained atop FIDE for as long as he has despite unnervingly detailed accounts of his supposed alien abduction is one thing, but the fact that he’s held onto power despite some shady associations is more surprising. In 2006, Ilyumzhinov boasted about his friendship with Saddam Hussein and has claimed that history will exonerate him. A few months before Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi

was tortured and killed by rebel forces 2011, Ilyumzhinov flew to Tripoli to play a game of chess with Gaddafi and his son. When leaders condemned Ilyumzhinov for smiling for photo ops and hanging out with a repressive dictator, he insisted that chess could play a role in the peace process.

Two years ago, the United States announced sanctions against Ilyumzhinov for “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria.” Ilyumzhinov, who visited Bashar al-Assad

in 2012, claims that the only involvement he had in Syria was when he delivered chess sets in 2012 and tried to lobby Assad to incorporate chess into the country’s primary school curriculum. (Chess lessons are compulsory in Kalmykia.)

Ilyumzhinov is a longtime friend and ally of Vladimir Putin,

although the Russian state replaced him as president of Kalmykia in 2010. When Ilyumzhinov was re-elected FIDE president in 2014, Putin personally congratulated him. The longtime chess leader is a businessman who made his millions in the wave of privatization following the collapse of the USSR, though like so many others who became fabulously wealthy during this period, it’s unclear exactly how he got so rich.

Grandmasters and chess federation officials have accused Ilyumzhinov of using his role as FIDE president to promote Russian foreign policy, and Ilyumzhinov has been a vocal supporter of Putin’s military annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and advances into Ukraine. The Panama Papers revealed that Ilyumzhinov controlled a network of secret shell business centered in the British Virgin Islands that controlled TV rights and commercial rights of official FIDE events.

FIDE has been trying to get Ilyumzhinov out of the paint for a long time. Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov

tried to oust him in 2014 with the support of several Western chess federations, but Ilyumzhinov prevailed, perhaps thanks to him paying off a bloc of minor chess federations. After the sanctions were announced in 2015, Ilyumzhinov announced that he’d be stepping away from all legal, financial, and business operations at FIDE, although he remained president.

This week, it appeared that Ilyumzhinov would finally be resigning from his post. FIDE released a statement on Monday announcing that Ilyumzhinov had resigned at a board meeting in Greece over the weekend after getting into an argument over the U.S. sanctions. However, Ilyumzhinov quickly denied that he would be leaving and decried the announcement as fake. FIDE executive director Nigel Freeman pointed out that Ilyumzhinov ended the meeting by repeating “I resign” three times then storming out.

Ilyumzhinov has since claimed that he offered to step down during an “emotional” conversation with board members, but that it was not a formal offer of resignation. He says that FIDE put out their initial statement in an attempt to push him out and chalks up his confusing remarks to his shaky English skills. The Kremlin voiced its support for Ilyumzhinov to stay in office, and it appears that Ilyumzhinov will hold onto some form of power for the time being, no matter how many aliens and dictators he cozies up to.

https://deadspin.com/the-most-powerful-man-in-chess-is-maybe-a-lunatic-1793846998

Brain Damage
Pink Floyd
Produced by Pink Floyd
Album Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii

[Verse 1: Roger Waters]
The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paperboy brings more

[Chorus 1]
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

[Verse 2]
The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You rearrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

[Chorus 2]
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

[Outro]
I can’t think of anything to say except
Hahahahahahaha!
I think it’s marvellous!
Hahaha..

https://genius.com/Pink-floyd-brain-damage-lyrics