14 December 2011

2011 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship?

FIDE Congresses are important annual events in the evolution of the World Championship, and the most recent was no exception. I've already reported on the meeting in 82nd FIDE Congress, so now I'll turn my attention to the Executive Board Minutes and Annexes, just as I did for the 2009 FIDE Executive Board and the 2010 FIDE General Assembly.

FIDE Congress, Krakow, Poland
Executive Board
20-21 October 2011

The minutes always kick off with the 'Report of the President'. After mentioning the most recent events in the Women's World Championship, FIDE President Ilyumzhinov turned to the unrestricted version.

In Kazan, on a very high organizational level the Candidates' matches have been organized. Together with the 1st President of Tatarstan, Mr. Mintimer Shaimiev, we participated in the opening and closing ceremonies. I would like to congratulate GM Boris Gelfand from Israel on his brilliant victory.

As you know that we had a tender for the venue for the World Championship match, which will take place next year. There have been two bids, from India and Russia. The Russian bid won, because of two advantage, because it is a neutral venue and the Russian Federation offered practically half a million USD more for the prize fund which means a bigger financial support for FIDE (20% is a sizeable number). I would like to thank the leadership of Tatarstan, and its President M. Shaimiev has been appointed as my Senior Adviser and he helps me a lot in the matters.

The World Cup took place this year in the new building of a Chess Academy. Now Nalchik is hosting another stage of [the Women's] Grand Prix, and the tournaments were organized in Shenzhen and Rostov. All is OK with Women's Grand Prix. But soon we will announce also men's series, after finalizing it. We found sponsors in New York, London, Cheliabinsk, Mashhad and we are looking for the last organizers.

After a short discussion of two lawsuits that have cost FIDE heavily, Ilyumzhinov turned to the 'Modernisation Commission'.

It goes without saying that we should stick to our traditions in the classical World Championship title cycle, traditions going back to 1886. But, at the same time, I cannot help noting that to date the old format is not TV attractive and is not either attractive for general public. [...]

It seems logical to introduce additional World Championships in rapid and blitz chess, with a further determination of absolute champion. Since 1st January 2012 there will be rapid and blitz official rating lists, we are also negotiating with possible sponsors of Grand Prix where top players will be participating.

FIDE will be facing a task of creating a clear and structurised qualification system for these new World Championships with eventual giving up any privileges to World Champions and rating favourites. In order to bring wider groups of middle echelon players, the main principle of new system should be the following motto –- Everyone can win.

During the rest of the meeting, other brief mentions of the World Championship were:

  • registration of the trademark 'FIDE World Chess Championship' with the World Intellectual Property Organization; and
  • contract for the 2013 World Cup, Tromso, Norway, to be signed at the 2012 Istanbul Congress.

A potential glitch with next year's title match...

World Championship match 2012 Anand - Gelfand, we have not signed the contract, the contract was sent to RCF [Russian Chess Federation] and the problem is with the Russians, they were silent for two months. There is a meeting on the 26 November, in Moscow, with the players and RCF. The Federation should sign the contract and they were supposed to send the money. We should press them. Kirsan will help as well. We hope the preparation will be OK. RCF said they received the money.

...was resolved satisfactorily on the date indicated: Contract on the World Chess Championship Match 2012. I've mentioned in the past that FIDE is surprisingly open about contractual difficulties. Here are a few more examples.

Women's World Championship 2012, Khanty-Mansiysk. Mr. Balgabaev has discussed the details of the contract, they are supposed to give the dates.

Women's Grand Prix: Mr. Makropoulos said there was a problem in Rostov with the finances, as no prize fund was received and so FIDE paid the prizes. • Mr. Borg said we are chasing the organiser, because the timing was short, the money was paid to the players, and they are not complaining. We are chasing the government of Rostov. If they do not send us money, we will go for a legal action. • For the cycle, we had an excellent event in Shenzhen and Nalchik, everything was paid in advance. The others are Jermuk, Kazan and Istanbul. All contracts were signed, the money should be sent.

Mr. Makropoulos said that we should avoid such situations when money is not sent. • Mr. Borg said the organisers should be chased by the FIDE office provided there is a contract. It applies to all FIDE events. • Mr. Makropoulos said that Grand Prix is a special event.

Mr Yazici said in the first cycle we made a mistake, and I hope we do not make it for the 2nd time. Closing will be in Istanbul and all organisers of the previous legs should be invited and receive some plaques and the winner of the Grand Prix should also be invited in advance.

On top of other subjects that I've written about in the past deserving a revisit -- CACDEC, the CNC Project, and the Ethics Commission (*) -- two new topics are worth special treatment. The first I've already mentioned in the context of Ilyumzhinov's report: two lawsuits stemming from last year's presidential election. There was a long discussion of the subject during the financial report. The second is a report by the 'Chess in Schools' commission.

In both the lawsuits and the chess-in-schools project, FIDE is butting heads with former World Champion Kasparov, a tenacious opponent. It sometimes seems that nothing in chess is ever accomplished without political bickering.

(*) March 2009: Chess in Africa - What Is CACDEC?, October 2011: No Nose for FIDE News, and May 2010: FIDE Ethics

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