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First Blatter... now Kirsan?
Apparently Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been suspended as president of FIDE at his own request.

It's a pretty complicated situation but here's my understanding of it (so far...)

FIDE wants to sign contracts to have the 2017 World Championships held in the USA (that's where all the money is these days, and FIDE are not slow to follow the money).

However, Kirsan was recently added to the US sanctions list because of alleged links with Syria. He did play chess aainst Assad once, but then you could say the same about his relationships with Colonel Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and maybe a collection of unidentified 'Aliens').

So he has to stand down to allow the planned WC to go ahead.

Nihat Ali of Turkey (another controversia chess figurehead) seems to have got involved too, claiming that Kirsan has been involved with buying oil from the Islamic State. Of course Russia is making similar claims about the Turks. There is currently a propaganda and media war being waged between them.following the recent shooting down of a Russian warplane.

No doubt Putin himself will soon step in and complicate the situation still further. And I am sure Gary Kasparov, Nigel Short and others will have something to say too.

Is this the beginning of the end for Kirsan? Or in the words of Winston Churchill, could it be the end of the beginning? I don't think so. His deputy will take over meantime and you can be sure that behind the scenes Kirsan will still be pulling the strings. And like Sepp Blatter once was, he is untouchable so long has he has the support of his friends in the third world whi can easily outvote all of the rest.

Whether the US and the Turks going after him will have any effect remains to be seen. And if Putin and his allies back him, he will probably not be on the way out anytime soon.
Happy days Big Grin
"How sad to see, what used to be, a model of decorum and tranquility become like any other sport, a battleground for rival ideologies to slug it out with glee"

If Kirsan has been caught by the same or some similar prohibition against simply having 'links with an enemy' as the US controversially slapped on Bobby Fischer when he turned up to play Spassky in war-torn former Yugoslavia in 1992, I wonder whether the US stance is at all helpful.

Fischer was caught by an arcane move by Congress to resurrect an old law against US citizens consorting (economically) with an enemy. But its application only really led (even if unintended) to his disastrous exile and, in my view, greatly exacerbated his (already clearly longstanding) mental instability and chances of a return to his homeland.

No other country in the world passed such a law. Even the US didn't use it against any other US citizen (if my memory is correct). Spassky, not to speak of a raft of international journalists from all over the world, 'profited' greatly by the 1992 match. What was the point of it all? Fischer's subsequent life fell into total freefall.

If Kirsan has done something actually criminally corrupt in Syria (or elsewhere for that matter), the US should surely simply be handing the evidence over to the appropriate international police authorities for action. It strikes me that the US may in fact simply have taken a step that does little more than suggest that it should be added to Alastair's baleful list of countries and individuals that are primarily propagandising or at best posturing ... primarily for partisan interests.
Apparently the reason Kirsan has been blacklisted by the US is that he is supposed to have acted as an intermediary to facilitate the sale of oil from the Islamic State to Assad's regime in Syria. If that is the case, it is both bizarre and surprising; of course both parties are meant to be enemies; but since the US has applied sanctions against both of them, then there could be some sense in such a mutually beneficial transaction. So if true it would give the US two reasons to apply such sanctions to the person responsible.

So where did this accusation come from? President Erdogan of Turkey has been hinting at this for some time but anything he says should probably be taken with a pinch of salt - he has his own agenda which involves dissing the Russians and Syrians and drumming up patriotic support for his own not universally popular regime at home. Of course, his sometimes NATO ally the US would be only too happy to jump on any such bandwagon, although they may have their own independent intelligence sources.

As predicted, both Kasparov and Short have already made capital out of the situation but they too have their own reasons for doing so. If you want to see their comments on Facebook and Twitter look them up - I'm not repeating them here.

'Gens Una Summus' and all that...

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