The following email was sent on August 10 by 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.

Subj: The FIDE election 
Date: 08/10/2002 1:58:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Chesstour
To:,, BobChess,,, denker270,
CC: ChessSafari, Chessdon

Dear Board:

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:


According 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 asylum abroad.

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 associated with.

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 be hopeless.

Bill Goichberg homepage