Gata Kamsky wants
to run for FIDE President. It’s good to see Gata getting serious about chess
again. I wish Gata would jump back into competitive chess. Gata, a little
shy of 30 years of age, is still young enough to make a serious run at the
chess world championship, should one ever occur again. He retired from
competitive chess soon after losing to Anatoly Karpov in the FIDE version
of the World Championship in 1996.
Gata was only 21 at the time of his
retirement. His best all time world ranking was number 3. This is a great
achievement for someone so young. Gata did stage a brief comeback during
the FIDE Knockout Championship in 1999, but he did not get far.
Kasparov era slowly grinding to an end and current World Champion
Vladimir Kramnik not dominating the chess world, I think the world
championship field is wide open. I think Gata could get himself back into
world championship shape in the next three years and seriously challenge
for the world championship. If
Gata wants to be FIDE President, He should finish law school, pass his bar,
and practice law for several years before running for FIDE President.
In his book called "Selected Games", Botvinnik had some interesting ideas
about the qualifications
of a FIDE President. Botvinnik felt the
FIDE President should:
Be able to establish contacts
Speak several languages
Appeal to the ladies
Be greater than average height.
Obey the FIDE slogan “chess is above politics”
Be the one who intends to solve problems to the benefit of chess
Be capable of being above any egoistic national interests
Know that the most important thing a FIDE President does is to
stage matches for the World Championship. World Championship matches are
of competitive and creative importance. World Championship matches must
occur ever three years. If one does not occur, it will have a detrimental
affect on the development of chess.
I am not sure about being
above average height, but I guess is can’t hurt. Maybe chess needs
another top player to take the helm of FIDE.
FIDE did very well under the leadership of former World
Champion Max Euwe. Euwe
certainly put chess first. He saved two world championship matches. His
major accomplishment was resisting Soviet pressure to cancel the Spassky
vs. Fischer world championship match in 1972. Euwe helped Victor Kortchnoi after
his defection from the Soviet Union in 1976. Euwe defended Kortchnoi right
to challenge Karpov for the 1978 World Championship.
Fridrik Olafsson took over for Euwe in 1978. Olafsson was a top
player in the late 50’s.
He even defeated Bobby Fischer in a game. Olafsson
tried to pressure the Soviet Union to free Victor Kortchnoi’s family
prior to the 1981 world championship match. Victor’s son had been jailed
and beaten for refusing to join the Soviet military. Victor’s son did
not want to fight the war in Afghanistan. Olafsson’s attempts to level
the playing field failed. However Kortchnoi family was finally allowed to
emigrate from the Soviet Union in 1984.
The last two Fide Presidents Florencio Campomanes and Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov were not top players. During their years of leading FIDE the
world championship split in 1993 and the chess world has remained divided.
FIDE has lost focus and has made failed attempts at getting chess
recognized as an Olympic sport. The FIDE Knockout World Championship process has turned
into a blitz-crazed
crapshoot. The last two FIDE Presidents have failed to
realize that a properly
run world championship process gets worldwide media coverage and introduces
a lot of new fans to this great game.