Joint Declaration by West African Federations on Presidential Elections

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 22.02.2014, 03:41.

The Presidents of the National Chess Federations of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria have signed a joint declaration which expresses their “concern with the campaign strategy and tactics currently being employed by certain members of the Executive Board of FIDE in the context of the forthcoming elections for the role of President of FIDE.” One of these nations, Nigeria, was visited by the FIDE President this week.

In the coming months, until the FIDE Presidential elections in August in Tromsø, both the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his challenger Garry Kasparov will be fighting for votes in all continents. Western European federations are mostly pro-Kasparov, while Mr Ilyumzhinov is traditionally strong, if not unbeatable, in South America. It will be interesting to see the effect of Mr Ignatius Leong, still FIDE's General Secretary, operating in South East Asia for Mr Kasparov, and whether their leaked agreement will play a role.

At the moment things seem pretty unclear for one particular continent: Africa. With many small federations, also there Mr Ilyumzhinov is expected to gain a majority of votes, but perhaps things may be different this time. At least three federations have expressed their firm support for Mr Kasparov: Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana & Nigeria

Joint Declaration
The Presidents of the National Chess Federations of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria have signed a joint declaration (in PDF here) which expresses their “concern with the campaign strategy and tactics currently being employed by certain members of the Executive Board of FIDE in the context of the forthcoming elections for the role of President of FIDE.” They write: 

Over the course of the last several weeks, we have been approached, like many of our neighboring African chess federations, and requested to either host or participate in “visits to our countries” by Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE since November 1995.”

FIDE's website traditionally reports on the foreign visits of its President. At the time of writing, two of such articles can be found on the homepage: Trip to Togo, and Visit to CameroonAccording to the Presidents of the Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria federations, these trips have a different purpose.

“Almost everywhere, such visits are being officially presented as the occasion to launch “Chess in Schools Programs” in the countries being visited. In actual fact, these visits are being used to exert significant political and financial pressures on the local chess federation Presidents to cast their votes for Mr. Ilyumzhinov, who will be running for his fifth term as FIDE President in the 2014 FIDE elections.”

The three presidents, Adeyemi Olalekan (Nigeria), Essoh Jean Mathieu Claude Essis (Cote d’Ivoire) and George Kweku Arko-Dadzie (Ghana), see the upcoming elections as “[an] opportunity to evaluate and to question the contribution of the current FIDE leadership to the development of chess on our continent as compared with that in other parts of the world”. They conclude:

“In our own evaluation, both individually and collectively, FIDE’s record on these last two fronts is poor. We have assessed the current FIDE leadership’s policy for Africa over the course of the expiring term of office and we believe that this can be summarized by three words: Contempt, Neglect and Inaction.”

Nigeria Visit
The joint letter is dated last Monday, February 17th. On the same day the FIDE website reported on “working meetings” by Mr Ilyumzhinov to Angola and... Nigeria, one of the three federations that signed the critical letter. According to the FIDE report, in Nigeria Mr Ilyumzhinov met with FIDE Zone 4.4 President Mr Sani Muhammed, former President of Nigerian Chess Federation Mr Emmanuel Omuku, and “the leadership of Nigerian CF”.

However, the General Secretary of the Nigerian Chess Federation, Mrs. Bidemi Ganiyu-Opolo, told on the phone that no meeting took place between the Nigerian federation's President, Mr Olalekan, and Mr Ilyumzhinov.

“They told us on Sunday that Mr Ilyumzhinov was around. However, Mr Olalekan was too far away to come and on Monday morning Mr Ilyumzhinov had already left.”

Mrs. Ganiyu-Opolo described the relationship between the Nigerian Chess Federation and the current FIDE leadership as “cold”.

On Twitter one of FIDE's Vice Presidents, Ali Nihat Yazici, reacted to the letter of the three Presidents:

The PDF of the letter does contain the info that it was created by a “Jurgensen Graham Ian”. The Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa website lacks any information about persons involved in the organization, but in their newsletters it is mentioned that Mr Jurgensen is the Director of KCF Africa. It seems likely, and not surprising, that the three Presidents are in close contact with KCF Africa.

Mr Yazici further tweeted:

The FIDE Presidential elections will be held at the next FIDE Congress, during the Chess Olympiad in August in Tromsø, Norway. Over the next six months the two candidates, Mr Kasparov (campaign website here) and Mr Ilyumzhinov (so far only using, to Mr Kasparov's anger), will be living in airplanes more than ever, traveling to continents, speaking to delegates and trying all means available to pursuade them. The recent leaking of contracts and the developments in Africa have made one thing clear: it's a gonna be a very tough fight.

Czytano 4488 razy 10 komentarze
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  • 3 lat temu


    These are the six winning moves by Kasparov. The feeling I have is that they are just written as part of a political campaign. It doesn't explain HOW actually the sponsors will fly into chess. Or in how much time, since it doesn't say: in 5 years we will reach this.

    The program: Six Winning Moves

    1. FIDE will be a transparent organization that serves and supports the national federations. There will be an increase in communication and information shared between FIDE and the federations in order to make the FIDE Secretariat more effective and responsive. There will be constancy in the bidding processes for FIDE events.

    2. The national federations will prosper as FIDE prospers. FIDE should provide for its members instead of being supported by them.
      • Reduce membership fees by 50% immediately.
      • 25% reduction per year of all other fees.
    3. FIDE finances:
      • Increase the FIDE budget by 100% in the next two years via corporate sponsorship.
      • Increase revenues through commercial sponsorship by reorganizing FIDE with a professional marketing approach that will make chess and the FIDE brand attractive to corporate and public sponsors.
    4. Universal rating system and expansion of online services:
      • A universal rating system will include every game of chess played on the planet, from world championship matches to online blitz. It will serve as a portal that unites tens of millions of players and will become an attractive advertising and sponsorship asset.
      • FIDE must provide benefits to the huge base of chessplayers, not just serve the elite. It can do this by offering services to the federations such as online news and training, a social media platform, direct support for organizers and journalists, and assistance with fundraising and finding sponsorship.
    5. Chess in education for children:
      • Develop the next generation of chessplayers around the world by promoting and establishing chess-in-education programs. Having chess be included in the school curriculum builds a strong foundation for the global development of our sport.
      • Create and encourages programs and research on chess in education at every grade level and into adulthood. The many positive benefits of chess, especially for kids and seniors, should be documented and promoted.
      • The experience of the Kasparov Chess Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for chess-in-education programs worldwide, has demonstrated the enthusiasm for these programs at both public and private institutions. This expertise will be at the service of FIDE and the international chess federation will take the lead in bringing chess into every classroom.
    6. Review FIDE regulations to protect the integrity of chess:
      • Collaborate with players and organizers on a common-sense implementation of the zero-tolerance rule that will preserve dignity and professionalism.
      • Take immediate steps to develop, test, and implement strong anti-cheating measures, including severe penalties for violators.
      • Adopt anti-short-draw rules to preserve the integrity of the game and to improve the image of chess as a sport worthy of greater media attention and commercial sponsorship.
  • 3 lat temu


    @isauro2013: Please allow me to respectfully invite you to read the full text of our declaration, just to find out what our concerns and proposals are. Then, if you want to understand what Mr. Kasparov can do to improve Chess in Africa, please check his "Six Winning Moves" action plan on his campaign website. Please also note that we are not at all interested in propaganda, but only in providing the opportunity for all people in our respective African countries to enjoy the benefits of learning and playing Chess.

  • 3 lat temu


    @isauro: Is it bad if you believe that you can make a difference in the world and change things? Maybe that's all what Kasparov trys to accomplish.

  • 3 lat temu


    Ilyumzhinov must go!

  • 3 lat temu


    Obviously,lives are needed here..

  • 3 lat temu


    In our country, the Philippines, strongly support Mr. Kasparov's vision for our dear Chess.Viva Kasparov!

  • 3 lat temu


    Carlsen is a player, not a bureaucrat. The FIDE chess champion is not obligated to 'fix' FIDE. He's also barely past being a snot-nosed little kid, and perhaps it's not appropriate to dump large problems on him before he has the maturity to grapple with them.

  • 3 lat temu


    Apart the propaganda messages just written by Mr. Essoh under, I'd like to understand what Garry Kasparov can do to improve chess in Africa, compared to the other candidate. Because maybe also Mr. Kasparov, who is not Jesus on earth, cannot really change the governments and economic conditions of some African countries.

    In my opinion Kasparov just needs attention. He realized that he cannot change anything in HIS country, so now he is running for FIDE President, when he will get tired of that, he will do something else, just to get the constant attention his Ego needs.

    Meanwhile we have now a better world champion, and ambassador for chess: Carlsen, maybe it is better to help him to build a better chess world.

  • 3 lat temu


    Thanks to for providing a copy of our declaration in PDF format. We believe that most African Chess federations will agree with our assessment of the poor record of FIDE on the issue of Chess development in Africa. What we are telling them now is the same thing Mr. Ronald Regan said to American voters when he run for President against Mr. Jimmy Carter in 1979: If you are better off now than when Mr. Ilyumzhinov became FIDE President, almost 20 years ago, by all means vote for him. But if not, then vote for the alternative vision and project for FIDE management represented by Mr. Kasparov.

  • 3 lat temu

    essoh members may be interested in the email exchange I had with Mr. Ali Niyat Yacizi, following his reaction that our declaration had been written by someone from the KCF. In substance, as a co-author of the declaration, I told him that his unproven statement is insulting and demeaning to us, Africans, just like the campaign strategy and tactics we denounce in our text, and challenged him to attack the substance of our argument and stop waisting our time we the petty side issues he hopes to use as a diversion from the real issues.

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