Andrew Paulson wrote:
... I'm happy to answer all questions myself, no holds barred.
Andrew's candidacy might appear to some to be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. The offer of a debate à outrance
is therefore to be welcomed. It could be that, as well as hoping to win the election, he wants to disperse the untrusting mist that sometimes envelops the exotic.
Andrew Paulson wrote:
I think that to reduce the FIDE issue to pro-Kirsan or anti-Kirsan is simplistic.
That might well be the case, nonetheless, the erstwhile president of Kalmykia does seem to get his way within FIDE when he wants to. I may be in the minority, but I fail to see the urgency of bonding with him; my two-worded explanation is: Larissa Yudina.
In his election statement, Andrew wrote:
After years of estrangement from and conflict with FIDE which has achieved nothing, the ECF should engage with FIDE and urge upon it a new tone of transparency and collegiality which will improve the commercial prospects of chess worldwide. My experience with FIDE should help us achieve this.
Can one infer that Andrew comes from FIDE with love? We've been told that Kirsan was very irritated when the ECF acted as a vehicle to sue the world body. Certainly, I can live with the ECF not acting in such a manner for the foreseeable future, but, on the other hand, I was hardly upset when we did annoy Ilyumzhinov. Some have argued that it is precisely Ilyumzhinov's baggage that has put off some sponsors, although, I'll concede, that that is simplistic.
I prefer to look at things from a different angle; if Andrew can improve chess administration and funding in England, then I can put up with being less hostile to Ilyumzhinov. After all, we live in the real world. Speaking of which, I am impressed that Andrew can arrange for the Government to accord to chess the status of a sport.
This is sourced from the second paragraph in his election address under the heading Cohesion
. I am with King Canute on this one, the most I'd expect is attempt to persuade the government ...
; even then, I am somewhat doubtful. Lobbying powerful people may well bear fruit; however, I'd be amazed should it take the form of recognition as a sport.
So we turn to the matter of delivery. I'll hazard a guess that Andrew does not exchange New Year (Orthodox or Latin) cards with Mark Glukhovsky the editor of 64
(an influential Russian monthly, the equivalent of New In Chess
; it's sponsored by RZhD - Russian railways). In the topical issue #8 (August, 2013), an editorial bore the pithy title: А БЫЛ ЛИ ПОЛСОН?
, i.e. TELL ME, WAS PAULSON EVER AROUND?
Putting in English one of the editor's pointed observations:
Mark Glukhovsky wrote:
A year ago an expert in the IT industry said to me that the proportion of successful and failed projects for the business man Paulson was 1 to 10. I do not claim to know whether this is a lot or a little. Yet, into which category to place projects linked with chess is not hard to understand.
Quite obviously, I don't know how accurate this assertion is. Furthermore, many of us are aware that it is not only in IT that Robert the Bruce's mantra of if at first you don't succeed; try, try again
can be invaluable. Still, it might be useful should Andrew try to rip out this particular web by arguing back. For instance, how close to the truth is Glukhovsky? Indeed, should Andrew say this is unfair and grotesque, then I have no objection to the quote being excised. Although what he can do about the Russian original is something else.
Some of us recall Artyom Tarasov when he was FIDE Commerce President. He once came bearing gifts. He is now less well known in English chess than Ozymandias, the king of kings, whose works now cause none to despair. Let us hope that history does not repeat itself.
Andrew spent a long time in Russia, he is possibly best known in the West for his association with Alexander Mamut (who now owns Waterstones the booksellers). Thus, I'd certainly defer to his infinitely greater knowledge of many of the ins and outs. But I do have a question, is it possible to run a significant media operation there that is intrinsically antagonistic to the Kremlin? This is without trying to label insiders as siloviki
(politicians with links to the security organs) or anything else.
Speaking of insiders, I was taken aback when Vladimir Mironovich Palikhata, who heads the Moscow Chess Federation, issued an invitation to the Mayor of London to attend the London Grand Prix, a contest that had a restricted audience. I understand that he was a friend of Ilyumzhinov's
. Did Palikhata presume upon his relationship with the FIDE president? It almost appeared as though he were acting as the boss of the London show! The Russian language websites about Palikhata, who was born near Ternopil, are rather racier than anything I've seen in English. A fairly respectable article can be found here
. In brief, it discusses how Palikhata obtained control of a Moscow department store, the methods employed were not those of the staid. I imagine Andrew can confirm he has no connection to Palikhata.