INTERVIEW BY BESSEL KOK,
CANDIDATE FOR FIDE PRESIDENT
Tuesday, 13th December 2005
1. Greetings Mr. Kok. As a
start, please tell us what
were your motives to join the race for Presidency of FIDE.
For the following reasons:
decreasing lack of success that FIDE has had to attract
public interest and corporate sponsors to the Chess World.
work again on a golden opportunity to reunify the Chess
World after my efforts in Prague.
frustration of several hard working FIDE delegates with the
slow pace in the changes that FIDE needs to become a modern
that I am semi-retired and have more time.
What will be your first
step if you get elected?
To create a structure,
based on meritocracy, which allows professional
experienced people to work on worldwide corporate
Why are you the best
Because I have more than 20 years experience
in the World of Chess,
an excellent relationship with the leading Grandmasters, I
organized major tournaments and can combine all of this with
vast business experience.
You already have the
support of famous Grandmasters like
Yasser Seirawan, Jan Timman and Judith Polgar. Do you expect
more of them to take your side? What can you "offer" to the
World's top players?
Yes, You will see over the next few months
through our website
and press releases, our full campaign support unfolding.
Can you tell us something about your
ACP (Association of Chess Professionals)?
The ACP was a courageous
initiative. It is different from the GMA which
had built its own professional chess cycle to justify its
role at the time.
(The GMA World Cup had GM Lubos Kavalek as its’ Director).
ACP was lacking funds to do the same and whilst it has
successfully organised a
number of events, its role has been different and aimed at
trying to get the FIDE
administration to communicate with top players. I respect
what they achieved.
Now a few questions which
are of the biggest interest for WorldChessNetwork members.
One of your key objectives is "To achieve consistent,
long-term success in the game through player development at
every level, with particular focus on chess in schools".
What is the best way to support and promote scholastic
chess? How can you help National Federations to enlarge
their players base?
The best way to promote
scholastic chess is to combine two unique tools
we have available today in the world of chess :
- Grandmasters and
- The Internet and chess training programs
I strongly believe that a
commercially sponsored Chess in School program with
Grandmasters or professional trainers as tutors, and managed
by a competent
Project Director, is a serious opportunity. It allows
to have a post-career activity, gives schools a new
educational tool, and allows
the national sponsor to have his brand name linked to a
brain game without violence.
One can see the massive success that my associate, Ali Nihat
Yazici has achieved in
such a short time in Turkey through hard work and
"To actively support
the continued development of chess through the internet
as a broadcast medium
and instructional platform".
We already have the situation
that thousands of people are following live
internet broadcasts of the major events.
Recent the US Chess League was played
over the online server. Do you think it
would be possible to play real
tournaments with long time controls over the internet?
What would be the
reaction of sponsors?
I tried to launch a
Worldwide Internet competition several years ago and was
not successful. Although I had found sponsors, the critical
mass was not big
enough to fully satisfy them. Further more, the cheating
problem had not yet
been totally resolved. However we were probably a bit early
and with the new
technology today in place on several chess servers, I do
believe this type of
Chess could rapidly develop.
As bandwidth capacity
continues to increase and become more affordable all
over the world, we will have a mega revolution in the
opportunities that internet
will offer us. The team has a large number of ideas and the
enthusiasm is certainly not lacking!
I think that sponsors
would still be very interested in long time controls
since there are so much value adding ideas one could have
through the internet.
What have we gained with a faster time control which brings
an average game
down to around four hours ? Has this made the game more
attractive to sponsors ?
The level of the game has declined; we have more errors and
draws in the World Cup simply to play a rapid tie-break.
What do you think about
the current World Championship Cycle?
Should the format be changed?
To be honest, after the
Prague agreement was not implemented, I feared
the worst would happen in the chess world. However, taking
account, the formula in San Luis was not bad. This
tournament formula for a
World Title is not new. John Nunn, who I respect a lot
something similar earlier this year, and even Botvinnik once
it to me, since he always fondly remembered his World
Championship title in 1948.
Still my proposal would be
to encourage the creation of a WCC Advisory Council,
made up of GMs and other professional organisers, who would
work out proposals
for an acceptable format to be approved by a future FIDE
This working method was
adopted also in the GMA and resulted in
successful cycle and tournament rules being implemented.
This is much in
line also with the practices of professional associations
such as the ATP.
Chess fans are arguing who
is the current World Chess Champion.
Can you unify the Title?
Let me make one thing
clear. FIDE, and especially the FIDE president, has
a clear responsibility to act as a facilitator to unify,
once and for all, the world
chess title and to give it back its undisputed credibility.
In Prague I took the
initiative together with members of my present team to
facilitate the unification process.
The Prague agreement, if really supported by the present
FIDE presidency and bureau, could have easily led to the
unification of the World title, which is so essential for
the good of chess.
However matches between
Kasparov and two different FIDE champions,
which could have lead to a unification match with Kramnik,
been undermined or cancelled. Even a match between Topalov
is clearly, to say the least, not a priority for the present
I will do everything I can
within my power and capabilities to get us back on track.
I am very confident that I will succeed to give the chess
world one championship
title and thus one sole champion thus reinstating its unique
position, its credibility
and thereby also the media attention and respect it fully
deserves. In order to do that,
I will listen again to all parties concerned and act taking
into account the present situation,
but keeping in mind in the broad positive spirit of the
agreement reached in Prague 4 years ago.
So, in summary I believe
that FIDE should act as a body that serves the sport
not dominates it. We should listen, decide and implement.
implement and then listen afterwards to the complaints!