14 November 2018

Accounts Are Being Opened, Life Is Improving

Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation Mark Glukhovsky reports from London

- I can share my initial impressions of the FIDE Presidential Board and the opening of the Carlsen -Caruana match. In a short while, the FIDE website will publish the results of the Board meeting so anyone can examine them. 

The Presidential Board took place on November 8-9. The Board was led by the new FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. One of the most important tasks of the meeting was to decide on a budget for 2019. In accordance with his electoral promises, Arkady Dvorkovich announced that the 2019 budget would be more than 5 million euros. This was naturally accepted. 

A number of key managerial decisions were made. First of all, the Board confirmed the appointment of Viorel Bologan to the position of FIDE CEO. Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky became the Director General of FIDE. Furthermore, the FIDE President received some powers that he had previously demanded. Most commissions also saw their heads appointed and substantial changes took place almost everywhere. The only Russian to head a commission right now is Ilya Gorodetsky. He will preside over the Online Commission.

Furthermore, the Board discussed the cycle of women’s world championship. It was decided that it should be organised in line with the men’s cycle. The winner of the knockout championship in Khanty-Mansiysk will become the Women’s World Champion and the other semi-finalists will qualify for to the Women’s Candidates Tournament. 

FIDE Treasurer Zhu Chen gave a speech about the current economic situation in the organisation. If I can sum it up shortly, accounts are being opened and life is improving. 

Most of the increased budget will be spent on developing chess in undeveloped countries: the pioneers of this will be Trinidad and Tobago from the Americas, San Marino from Europe, Mongolia from Asia and Swaziland from Africa. Each signed sponsorship contracts. The Federations will receive 20 thousand dollars per year to develop chess and they will have to answer for the money in accordance with strict auditing rules to explain their results. 

After the Council finished everyone went to watch the opening of the Carlsen - Caruana match, which took place in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The opening was attended by renowned Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson, who was also a guest at the 2016 match in NY. I found out from Nigel Short’s Twitter that Professor Richard Dawkins, whom I consider to be one of the smartest men alive today, was also present at the opening. The Darwin of the 21st Century! For me, his appearance is the main event of the day. Dawkins is known for promoting science and fighting religion. Meanwhile, Nigel humorously took a photo with him and attached a caption of “God bless us!”

The opening was fairly grand. Speeches were given by sponsors and the new FIDE President. The match itself is taking place in the College where there is no much room. London is a chess city and I think many more could have attended the match. Organisation is fairly similar to the contest two years ago. There is a dark hall where spectators can watch the players behind the glass. There is a studio where Judit Polgar and Anna Rudolf are working, but few can see them in person. There are also a few halls with shops and a café. 

The opening and the first day saw a predominance of the Russian speech. I am here for the first time and I can see why they call it Londongrad.  

Photo credits: FIDE Press Service, World Chess, Fiona Steil-Anthoni, and Mark Glukhovsky