Interview with Peter Rajcsanyi
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 10:23
You are the candidate for Deputy President in the team led by Ali Nihat Yazici as candidate for the ECU presidency. How did you become involved with the development of chess in Europe?
In the mid-1990s, the Hungarian Chess Federation appointed me as its delegate to the European Chess Union and to FIDE when the previous delegate retired. Soon after my appointment, I came forward with several suggestions regarding the ECU statutes and the financial structure of the organization, especially as regards increasing its income. The Hungarian Chess Federation organized an extraordinary meeting in Budapest where the delegates discussed the proposals of an ad-hoc committee whose chairman I was. Most of those proposals were accepted and that led to the ECU successfully negotiating a financial arrangement with FIDE, achieving a striking improvement in its budgetary situation. Unfortunately, later on the ECU gave up a part of what we had achieved and did not renew the arrangements in the way that the ad-hoc committee had recommended.
Did you push for any other changes?
Not really. I was elected as a member of the FIDE Executive Board and later, in Torino (2006), I was appointed by the FIDE President as Public Relations and Marketing Director. I became less active within the ECU for two reasons:
* my attention was concentrated more on FIDE matters and that naturally diverted me somewhat from European chess affairs;
* also the ECU Board became rather self-centred and lethargic; it seemed to be satisfied with the results that had been achieved, stopped seeking new ideas from the national federations and gradually became less and less interested in further renewal and modernization.
Why did you join Ali Yazici?
During my eight years in FIDE, I got acquainted with many federations, organizers, players, journalists and learned a lot from the chess world. One of the key elements I learned is a kind of slogan, always emphasized by the late Florencio Campomanes: the respect and the power of an international organization like FIDE or the ECU derives from the national federations. For me, it means that the ECU can be successful and strong only if the national federations are successful, and the main task of the ECU is to support those federations to achieve their goals. I looked into the federations, to see how they work, and what they have been able to achieve. I was immediately impressed by the results of the Turkish Chess Federation: chess became a kind of national sport in a country which has been proud of other sports for decades and its chess federation was able to capture the attention of youth (and, logically, the attention and support of the government followed). I shared Ali’s views on several matters, we seemed to be of like mind, we talked a lot with each other, started to respect each other professionally and personally and gradually we became allies. All the members of our team share the same goal: to build the most successful, most independent European sports organization, and provide the services needed by the national chess federations to achieve the same within their countries.
How do you see your chances of winning the election?
We have done everything from our side to put together and to implement a great programme for European chess in a professional manner, importantly with a solid, and growing financial base. We have consulted all the European national federations in order to understand their problems and goals, and we have included them in our programme. We have been looking for good people who can help European chess achieve new heights and naturally we will rely on the support of the national federations which may elect our team even in the first round.
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