21 November 2012

2012 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship?

My series on 'Whither the World Championship?' is becoming an annual fixture, last seen on this blog in 2011 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship?, and on my main blog in Out to Ruin FIDE?. The pattern of alternating between the two blogs, depending on subject matter, has already produced four posts on the latest FIDE gathering:-

Now, with the release of the 83rd FIDE General Assembly Minutes and Annexes, we're going to see another post. From the minutes of the 'FIDE Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, General Assembly, 7-9 September 2012', the kickoff topic was the traditional 'Report of the President', FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's annual report. First he reminded everyone about the two World Championships held in the previous 12 months,

During the period after our last Congress, the two top events took place in our chess life: November 2011 in Tirana, the Women’s World Chess Championship took place. Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan has convincingly defended her title in the fight against a challenger from India – Humpy Koneru. Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, ex President of the USSR visited the first official FIDE event in Albania, which gave additional weight to the event. I would like to thank the President of the Albanian Chess Federation Mr. Taci for the successful organization of the match.

This May in one of the most well-known places of the Russian capital – the Tretyakov Gallery – the World Chess Championship Match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand took place, for the prize fund of 2,55 mln USD. It was organized on the highest organization level and attracted huge attention both of chess experts and just chess lovers. During live Internet broadcast people had a chance to see not only all details of the match and hear professional chess commentary, but get acquainted with the history and masterpieces of one of the best museums of the world. At the closing of the match President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with the participants. I would also like to express our enormous gratitude to the Russian Chess Federation management led by Arkady Dvorkovich and to FIDE Vice President Ilya Levitov, the main match sponsor Andrei Filatov for the brilliant realization of the idea to unite sports and arts in the presentation of chess.

Later Ilyumzhinov branched into the qualifying events for the current cycle.

You all remember a beautiful building of the chess centre in Khanty-Mansiysk, the venue of our previous General Assembly. Last September, they hosted the 4th World Chess Cup won by Peter Svidler. I would like to note that we tried the video broadcast of the event, which now takes place in all FIDE official events. We received a proposal from ChessTV company, which is ready to invest and carry out video broadcast of our other tournaments. This company was involved in the Moscow World Championship match, and they are currently working here at the Olympiad. They think that if we both work together, it is possible to create sponsor and advertisement market, to become a serious source of income for the chess events organizers. As for Khanty-Mansiysk, they are going to host the Women’s World Championship in November and next year – World Rapid and Blitz Championships.

I would also like to note a successful organization of the FIDE Grand Prix series, and in ten days we are opening a new series by a London tournament, followed by Tashkent, and next year the Grand Prix tournaments will take place in Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin and Paris. London will also host next year in March the Candidates matches, and the prize fund has already been transferred to the FIDE account. According to the signed contract, the organization of these tournaments is undertaken by Agon. Ankara next week will host the last leg of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix tournaments.

A substantial chunk of time was later spent on Agon. I've already covered this in the post on 'Agon's Paulson' and will only mention that the minutes are nearly a transcript of the events recorded in that video.

Out with the old and in with the new? The segment on the CNC presented a distinct contrast to the promise of the Agon vision. Here are excerpts from 'CNC Project', which preceded the Agon discussion:-

Deputy President G. Makropoulos said that from the beginning of the original contract, CNC had a right to organise events and find sponsorship, and later this part was given to Agon when we signed the contract with them. So the Agreement with CNC has changed.

Mr. D. Levitansky from CNC is here to report to the Assembly. He said that it is a great honour to speak about the internet chess project, with the goal to change the situation of market capitalisation of chess websites. There is a huge demand for chess information and entertainment. There are a lot of links and non-chess portals and traffic is dispersed. They have been exploring marketing research in this situation and found it that it is necessary to join our efforts with Federations and players. They informed the CNC committee and have certain suggestions. They will launch MyFIDE.com project and will introduce new services, to make chess and FIDE financially efficient. They suggest synergy and a high level of support and promotion, to achieve a positive cash flow. [...]

Mr. Yazici said [...] We signed a contract with CNC four years ago, and he was happy to see initiative from them. We knew that according to the contract which ends in 2013, we hope to work with them and we hope that FIDE and CNC accept and we can create cash flow for FIDE. MyFIDE.com is a very nice idea to get many issues under one umbrella and to unite different sources and to get a rating which is feasible for advertisers. With a small blog you are not so interesting for an advertiser, this is promising for the future. He hoped it will not be like last four years, we want to see action as soon as possible. He hoped they will move very fast to start acting.

Mr. Makropoulos said our contract has been published, CNC has a list of rights which they can activate based on a concrete project, following the approval of FIDE. This is a new idea and we would like to see a final project. At the same time, we could present a project to them and if they reject, we could choose another partner to fulfil it.

I expect that any future 'Whither' posts will have little to say about CNC and much to say about Agon. Their London Grand Prix was a definite success and the Tashkent event starts today. The London Candidate matches in March will mark a clean break between the pre-Agon and Agon eras of chess history. The Agon contract is for 11 years into the future. Looking at everything that has happened in the last 11 years, I can't begin to imagine what the chess world will look like in 2023.

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