USCF MUST BACK THE FRENCH
The following email was sent on August
10 by ChessNews.org editor Bill Goichberg to the USCF Executive Board, with
copies to the Executive Director and chair of the FIDE Affairs Committee.
It was intended as a private communication, but someone sent it to Larry Parr
who posted it on the internet, so I present it here as well.
Our ally France has courageously dared to form a reform slate to challenge the
corrupt reign of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the coming FIDE election. It will
be a scandal if USCF fails to stand up for what is right, and instead supports a
brutal dictator who has publicly declared his contempt for
"unnecessary" democracy, and whose henchmen murdered the only
significant Kalmyk opposition journalist.
USCF is morally obligated to fight the good fight to reform FIDE, and not cave
in to a dictator in the hope of obtaining favors, as our Delegate seems to
suggest. Of course, this killer is likely to reward us for backing him,
but if we do so we are no better morally than all those little third world
countries who vote that way because their representatives were paid off.
Of course, the French ticket appears to be a big underdog, but so did the
American colonies against the British forces of King George. (And so did
Gandhi, and Mandela, and those oppressed by Soviet tyranny, and southern blacks
marching against segregation in the 60s, and US women demanding the right to
vote in the 19th century, etc.)
We must not listen to those who say, in effect, that we should back the King
against the Revolution because it is in our interest and the King is sure to
prevail and will reward us for supporting him. This would be the ultimate
in both immorality and shortsightedness.
Does anyone think I am exaggerating? Please, in that case, go to a few
search engines and type in "Larisa Yudina," the courageous
journalist who was murdered by Kirsan's regime. Please take the time to
read the various news reports about this killing and related issues.
For example, following is what "Human Rights Watch World Report" had
to say in 1999:
to information from the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF), at least nine
journalists were murdered in the first eight months of 1998. Six of them may
have been killed for investigating and exposing criminal structures and
corruption in government and banks; in most of these cases, police were quick to
announce that they were a result of family arguments. Through July, the GDF
registered at least sixty-six attacks on journalists, editors, and newspapers in
regions throughout Russia, including Kaliningrad, Kirov, Saransk, Bashkortostan,
and Rostov; this represented a sharp rise since 1997. In by far the most
convincing case of government collusion in the death of a journalist, on June 7,
Larisa Yudina, editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Sovietskaya Kalmykia
Segodnya [Soviet Kalmykia Today] was found stabbed to death by a pond in the
Kalmyk capital, Elista. She had last been seen heading out to meet a man who had
promised to give her documents about misappropriation of funds by the Kalmyk
Republic’s president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Kalmyk authorities had previously
threatened Yudina with closure of her newspaper. By November, the Procurator
General in Moscow (which, under pressure from parliament and the media,
immediately took charge of the investigation) had arrested four suspects. The
Kalmyk authorities reverted to Soviet practices in early March when they placed
Lidia Dordzhieva, head of the humanitarian organization “Heart to Heart,” in
a psychiatric hospital after she had led a hunger strike of disabled people and
mothers of large families to protest government allowance arrears. Doctors
diagnosed her as healthy, she was released after about a week, and later granted
Many other reports by respected journalists reached similar conclusions.
Please consult the search engines, read these reports, and decide for yourself
whether Kirsan is the type of person that USCF and world chess should be
Oh yes, the argument will be made that we must back the Ilyumzhinov ticket in
order to support Steve Doyle. We should just tell Steve that we're sorry,
we must oppose the head of his ticket, and he shouldn't take it personally.
A Doyle candidacy on an unopposed ticket is not the same thing as his candidacy
on one challenged by reformers.
USCF's choice is between having some influence with a murderer who disgraces
chess by his association with it, and joining a fight for what is right which
may have some chance this year, and has a much better chance to prevail
eventually. As long as the United States, the most powerful nation in the
world, is afraid to fight the good fight, as long as we line up together with
the little third world nations that were bribed by Campomanes and are now bribed
by his ally Ilyumzhinov, the struggle for an ethical and progressive FIDE will