ALLEGATIONS of corruption are not new in the world of international chess, but it’s rare to see documented proof.
That is what the New York Times appeared to provide last week when it published a translated footnote to an audit of the Turkish Chess Federation. You would think the Times would have greater fish to fry, with the WikiLeaks documents and other investigations, but this footnote provided its own interesting insight into how chess politics are played.
The footnote talked about how Turkey was able to secure the right to host the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Turkey needed to convince delegates of FIDE, the international chess federation, to vote for its bid at the organization’s general council meeting in Dresden, Germany two years ago.
The auditor, showing great diligence in accounting for all the expenses, notes that more than 177,000 Turkish lira (in excess of $100,000) were allocated for rent, souvenirs, lobbying activities as well as accommodations, transportation and food expenses for some FIDE delegates “to vote for our country.”
Turkey denies the allegations, but FIDE appears to be taking them seriously and is investigating. Ironically, the head of the Turkish federation has in the past accused FIDE’s president of vote-buying and corruption. So have many other FIDE opponents over the years.
Even the U.S. has not been immune to similar suggestions. Two years ago, grandmaster Susan Polgar accused a number of American officials of bribery and corruption.
In any system where delegates are wooed to support competing candidates and tournament bids there will be a danger of corrupt practices. The Olympic Games have seen a number of similar scandals, and there have even been some investigative journalistic reports of vote brokers offering to drum up delegate support for substantial commissions.
To retain the integrity of the Olympiad it will be important for both FIDE and the Turkish federation to investigate the facts quickly, and provide transparent answers to the questions raised by the audit.
— — —
Aaron Green is the new Manitoba junior champion.
“In a pivotal match in the fourth round, Aaron won over last year’s champion, Paolo Araullo, in a well-fought contest that ended with Paolo resigning with less than 30 seconds on his clock to Aaron’s two minutes,” reports Blair Rutter of the Manitoba Chess Association. “Aaron went on to score a draw in the final round against Igal Raihman to end the tournament with 4.5 points in the five-round match.”
Leor Wasserman finished second with 4 points and Igal was third. Alexander Iomdina placed first in the lower half with three points, followed by Theo Wolchock, Henry Li and Brent Murphy with two.
— — —
This week’s problem: Mate in 3 (Loyd). Solution to last problem: White mates with 1.Ne4.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 4, 2010 $sourceSection0