Ilya Levitov on FIDE: "There's Not Such an Organisation. Their Actions Are Supported Neither By the Idea, Nor By Any Plan"

Время публикации: 04.03.2013 23:55 | Последнее обновление: 05.03.2013 06:49

Ilya Levitov, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Russian Chess Federation, strongly criticised the international chess federation in the recent interview given to Sport-Express :

"Unfortunately, I have not any kind of relations with FIDE. That's because in reality this organisation doesn't exist. Their actions are supported neither by the Idea, nor by any plan. They meet, discuss something and make some decisions, which have no influence on the chess world. FIDE is remembered only when it prepares another mean trick for the chess players.

We are told 600 million people are playing chess worldwide. Kirsan Nikolaevich is working on increasing the number to 1 billion... In the meanwhile in reality the audience of chess as a game is unknown, however, we can make rough calculations. 350 000 people are registered in FIDE rating list. Those are people who have played at least in one tournament counted by FIDE. It's clear that there are people who participate in the competitions, but they aren't registered in the rating list, because they play chess just time after time. I guess the ratio between the first and second kinds of players is 1 to 5. OK, let’s say it is 1 to 10 just out of respect for Kirsan Nikolaevich. Let's say there are ten unregistered players on every registered player in the rating list. So, we will get that chess is played by more than 3 million people. This is the real audience, not the fabricated one. This is the audience we should love and work with. We should create the product for it, thus having a chance of increasing it, attracting new people to chess. No one does that though. You should communicate with the sponsors, offer them new ideas. We, for instance, continue holding the series of tournaments in the renowned museums of the world. The Alekhine Memorial will be opened in Louvre on April 20th. The second half of this tournament will be held in the Russian museum located in St. - Petersburg. This is a new idea and a new approach which is carried out by us together with businessmen Andrey Filatov and Gennady Timchenko. This is a continuation of the project which started by the World Championship Match held in Tretyakov Gallery in May last year.

FIDE's problem is that demanding an oppressive obedience from the players, it doesn't fulfill its own obligations. They constantly change the dates of the tournaments, which makes everyone's life harder! Suddenly they scheduled the world championship to be held in 2013. The matches used to be held in 2006, 2008, 2010 and then in 2013 suddenly! Why did they do that? Make a stable calendar, good or bad, but stable and don't change it for 20 years! That may motivate at least some sponsor... They've also replaced the Candidates matches with the Candidates tournament, because supposedly the matches in Kazan were boring. Who was bored? Carlsen, who denied to play? Carlsen said that the matches were a lottery... Why have they suddenly become a lottery? The chess tradition - the great matches of 60's and 80's. Just remembering them is already breathtaking: Petrosian - Korchnoi, Tal - Spassky, Karpov - Spassky, Kasparov - Korchnoi, the matches of Fischer...              

Predictebility! This is what the governance needs! Continues non-fulfilment of one's own obligations, changing the calendar... It's very hard when you don't know what to expect. When you don't know what to expect you prepare yourself to something negative. Building of a good reputation needs more than one year. FIDE, however, has lost it hopelessly. And there's no way out seen. Actually the chess player doesn't need much. Just simple things: a clear calendar, worthy payment for his work and respect to his profession!  

[...] Kirsan Nikolaevich has sponsored a lot of competitions. But why? His position suggests development and popularisation of chess, not holding the tournaments in Elista. Ilyumzhinov, to his credit, visits hundred countries in a year. He is well known in Azerbaijan, UAE, Mongolia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Libya, Vietname and other distant territories of the world. He is a successful businessman. As we have got to know from mass media recently, he is mediator in transactions worth of millions. But what does that give to chess - the promises to build another Chess academy here or there? Well, build at least one and only afterwards start talking about others."    


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