Gata running for FIDE President 4/7/2004

   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.

   With the 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:

  1)      BE charming

2)      Be able to establish contacts

3)      Speak several languages

4)      Appeal to the ladies

5)      Be greater than average height.

6)      Obey the FIDE slogan “chess is above politics”

7)      Be the one who intends to solve problems to the benefit of chess

8)      Be capable of being above any egoistic national interests

9)      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.