15 February 2012

FIDE Presidential Elections

While researching the previous post on The Last, Lost Interzonal, I was reminded how important FIDE elections are for the evolution of top-level chess, particularly the World Championship. Following are summaries and a few links for past elections, normally held every four years.
2010: Ilyumzhinov wins FIDE election by 95 votes to 55 [Chessbase.com; 29 September 2010] • 'The vote took two hours, and the final count was 95 for the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, 55 for the challenger Anatoly Karpov and three abstentions (four years ago Ilyumzhinov beat Bessel Kok by 96-54). The renewed victory was achieved mostly with votes from smaller federations in Asia, Africa and South America, while Karpov's votes came mainly from European countries. Four more years for Kirsan.'

2006: Breaking news: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov reelected [Chessbase.com; 2 June 2006] • 'The election is over. Delegates from more than 150 national chess federations cast their ballots on Friday in Turin, Italy, to elect the president of the International Chess Federation. The result was a clear victory for the incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who collected 96 votes, compared to 54 for his challenger Bessel Kok. First assessment.'

Another Chessbase article, this one written by GM Yasser Seirawan, appeared during the runup to the 2006 election. It summarized the five previous elections: Seirawan on the situation in FIDE [Chessbase.com; 8 February 2006]

In 1994 at the Moscow Olympiad, Florencio Campomanes was reelected in the most dubious FIDE election ever held. You will recall the famous speech of Andrei Makarov, the Russian delegate, threatening Anatoly Karpov with having his legs broken in an open session of the FIDE Congress. The same delegate spoke passionately about his love for democracy and why all delegates must vote for Campomanes. Or else!

By the time of the 1995 FIDE Congress in Paris, attending delegates had become ashamed about the 1994 election and were seeking amends. The revolt was in full swing and Campomanes was asked to step down. Karpov had brought his friend Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to the 1995 FIDE Congress. With the pressure building, Campomanes decided upon a graceful exit and resigned in favour of Ilyumzhinov rather than endure the old heave ho. Campomanes became FIDE's "Honorary Chairman", while Ilyumzhinov replaced him as FIDE President in 1995.

The FIDE Congress in Yerevan 1996 was an Olympiad year where many delegates met. During the non-Olympiad years, fewer delegates come to the FIDE Congress. It was decided to hold a new election or rather to confirm the results of the 1995 Congress. Ilyumzhinov was reelected, unopposed. There was the famous story of Ignatius Leong (Singapore) hiding in the American delegates hotel room fearing for his life.

In Elista 1998, FIDE was back to its normal schedule of elections every four years. A member of the opposition, Bachar Kouatly (France), withdrew and fled Elista, out of fear of physical reprisals. Again, Ilyumzhinov was re-elected, unopposed.

In Bled 2002, Ilyumzhinov was re-elected unopposed when Leong withdrew his ticket at the last moment. Amazingly enough, Ilyumzhinov and his ticket of professional chess politicians have never faced a contested FIDE election. Turin 2006 will be a first.

Before 1994, we rely more on printed material for the record of FIDE elections. In 1990, Campomanes won with 79 votes against Roman Toran, 26 votes, and Rabell Mendez, 9 (Europe Echecs, February 1991, p.28).

The 1986 election came during the year following Campomanes' infamous termination of the 1984-85 Karpov - Kasparov Title Match : Highlights. A raucous affair, it saw Campomanes vs. Lincoln Lucena, who was supported by Kasparov; Lucena withdrew just before the election (Europe Echecs, January 1987, p.10). Informant 42 (p.416) reported only that 'Campomanes was elected unanimously'.

In 1982, Informant 34 (p.358) reported,

FIDE's 53rd Congress in Lucerne elected Mr. Florencio Campomanes (Philippines) as FIDE's new president. In the first ballot a total of 108 votes was cast. The result of the ballot was: Mr. Campomanes 52 votes, Mr. Olafsson (Iceland) 37 votes and Mr. Kazic (Yugoslavia) 19 votes. In the second ballot the same number of votes (108) was cast. The final result was: Mr. Campomanes 65 votes, Mr. Olafsson 43 votes. Mr. Campomanes is the fifth president in the history of FIDE (following in the footsteps of A.Rueb, F. Rogard, Dr. Euwe and F. Olafsson) and the first president from a non-European country.

In 1978, Informant 26 (p.292) reported,

After eight years of office Dr. Max Euwe had decided not to run again. Candidates for the Presidency were GM Svetozar Gligoric (Yugoslavia), GM Fridrik olafsson (Iceland) and Mr. Narciso Rabell Mendez (Puerto Rico). In the elections, held on November 8, Fridrik Olafsson was elected FIDE president.

The first year of election for Rueb, Rogard, and Euwe can be found on Fide.com's FIDE Presidents. As for the results of specific elections before 1978, that will have to wait for another time. I expect to find that all of these elections lacked the controversies typical of the Campomanes - Ilyumzhinov era.

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