A little distance from our political scene is the thrilling political drama unfolding over the presidency of FIDE (the World Chess Federation).
Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is trying to unseat incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhino. It has become an ugly match.
The Purple Pawn is reporting that Kasparov has been accused of buying votes!
The New York Times uncovered a contract and confirmed that Kasparov has an agreement with Ignatius Leong of Singapore for a payment of $1 million in return for the votes of 11 Asian Chess federations. Leong is current general secretary of FIDE under Ilyumzhinov!
The intrigue of it all.
Half that money is clearly conditioned on delivery of votes but the attorney, Morten Sand, claims that all funds are for the “explicit purpose of chess development and programs” and that “no money can or will be allocated to individuals for personal use.”
Payments under the contract, $250,000 annually for four years, are to be made by the Kasparov Chess Foundation to the ASEAN Chess Academy, an organization aimed at teaching Chess to children but owned by Mr. Leong. Further, the agreement calls for the opening of a FIDE office in Singapore headed by Leong and additional payments (to be negotiated separately) should Leong deliver more than 15 votes.
Shag this partisan stuff, the big money is in Chess.
I forget to mention that Kasparov is a political activist in Russia where he has been railing against official corruption.