New Delhi: The Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, will also feature the Fide elections this time wherein incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is pitted against the legendary Garry Kasparov.
Termed as the dirtiest ever, the Fide election is drawing more attention than the Olympiad itself as the 19-year regime of Ilyumzhinov and his team comes under a threat for the first time.
A recent article in a popular chess magazine is going viral on social networks. Written by former world championship challenger Nigel Short, the article strongly supports Kasparov’s cause calling the present regime “morally bankrupt”.
It also points to changes in leadership of some countries like Afghanistan because, apparently, they sided with Kasparov.
It also brought out the fact that Ilyumzhinov himself spent more than 2,00,000 Euros of Fide money on his travel last year.
On Ilyumzhinov claiming to have spent more than 70 million of his personal money on chess, Short writes: “A statement as implausible as it is unverifiable”.
Kasparov has been criss-crossing the world last few months promoting his candidature. According to his website, he is ahead in Asia and Africa while Europe also seems to be on his side.
The picture will be clear in a few days’ time, but according to his website, Kasparov has a lead of 18-14 in Africa and 15-8 in Asia with remaining as undecided votes.
Ilyumzhinov has the advantages of all incumbents and his team is leaving no stones unturned. Ali Nihat Yazici, a trusted aid of current Fide and Chess in Schools program chairman, even called Short’s article “paid news” that led to a verbal war with Englishman on Twitter.
Ilyumzhinov also claims the backing of Asia and his site claims that Kasparov will not get more than 14 votes out of 48 from the continent.
Meanwhile, the Indian team, sans five- time world champion Viswanathan Anand, will be spearheaded by Krishnan Sasikiran at the 41st Chess Olympiad, here.
Anand, having last played the event in 2004 in Spain, is giving it a miss again and the experienced P. Harikrishna, too, is not playing this time.
However, the team has an in-form Parimarjan Negi, who had a good show in the just concluded Politiken Cup and B. Adhiban who won the Biel Masters open just a few days back. MR Lalith Babu and SP Sethuraman are the other members of the team.
Seeded 19th among a record participation of 179 countries this time, the Indian team can do better than its billing provided Sasikiran, Negi and Adhiban remain at the top of their game.
The Indian women team will again miss the services of top star Koneru Humpy who has not been a part of the chess Olympiad for some time now. Humpy is getting married just a few days after the Olympiad.
Dronavalli Harika will be the star among the Indian eves that came up with a flourish to finish fourth last time in the biennial event.
Seeded fifth this time, the team comprises Tania Sachdev, Mary Ann Gomes, Eesha Karavade and Padmini Rout. There are 139 teams in women’s competition.