The following letter was written by Mr. Nick Faulks to Chess Today (www.ChessToday.net), the first Daily Chess Newspaper on the net. It was published on issue CT-190 (3531) dated Friday, 9 July 2010. For those of you who have never read Chess Today, check it out. It is great and I personally read it almost every day.

Dear Alex (GM Alex Baburin),

Given that GM Karpov’s campaign is being run by an American lawyer, it comes as no great surprise that they are taking the litigious route – including, of course, the requisite expressions of deep sadness that they have been left with no alternative. This will nonetheless cause great disappointment to those around the world who cannot understand why it is so difficult to put forward a coherent opposition to the group which has run the chess world somewhat controversially for the past fifteen years.

The Karpov team’s procedural assault on their opponents is presumably excused by the argument that the FIDE incumbents would use the same methods (although their own “attack dog” lawyers have generally proved notable only for their lack of teeth), but surely the point is that we were promised something different.

Ilyumzhinov’s team are all well known, and I assume nobody doubts that, if a majority of delegates vote for them, they should be permitted to serve. Karpov’s team is less well known, but there is no reason to deny them the opportunity to make their challenge. Let the debate begin, and not before time!

Both sides, as well as most of the chess press, attach immense importance to the support which may or may not be received from the Russian federation. This is misguided, since nearly all of the outside world regards Russia’s political infighting as no more than an entertaining irrelevance. It is strange that the one issue upon which the sides appear to be agreed is that chess should be more Russocentric, and perhaps they should both be reminded that this is not necessarily a vote winner.

So far, the most disappointing element of this fight is the treatment of Beartriz Marinello. First, the USCF attempted to derail her inclusion in the Ilyumzhinov team, presumably because they feared she would add credibility to a group they opposed. This was a mean and pathetic act – so no surprise there, at least. Now Karpov’s lawyers have her in their sights. What are they afraid of?

It’s hardly as though the Kirsan era has an impeccable record, so when are we going to hear an explanation of what they could do better than the incumbents? At the moment, we seem destined for the same stillborn campaign of four years ago, with a few vague and unsubstantiated accusations but little more.

For me, the 2010 campaign to date was summed up by Kasparov, when he wrote that FIDE was obviously corrupt, since its treasurer lives in Bermuda. For full disclosure, I also live in Bermuda, so he no doubt holds a similarly low opinion of me.

Privately, I might wonder about the credentials of anyone who has flourished financially in Moscow over the past twenty years, but I would not make this the centrepiece of a political campaign. Message to Karpov and Kasparov – if you have anything constructive to say, now would not be a bad time to say it.

Best wishes,
Nick Faulks

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