At the recent Chess Olympics in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, a motion by Saudi Arabia to oust Iraq failed. Sanctions were suspended on players who went to South Africa to compete.
In another sign of a changing world, the Soviet Union team signed a petition to let Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania compete.But teams from these Baltic nations were turned back by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) pending approval from the Soviet Union.
And what a blow! In a landslide victory, Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines was voted a third term as president!
"Campo owns the shop - he's stronger than ever before - FIDE is his personal fiefdom. It was a fantastic exercise of political power and skill," said Fan Adams, a saddened U.S. delegate who had urged Campomanes to step down to mend the rift with the Grandmasters Association founded by world champion Gary Kasparov, former champion Anatoly Karpov and other top grandmasters.
Predictably, the Grandmasters Association immediately reacted by announcing plans to organize the next world championship qualifying cycle as well as the lucrative title match in 1993.
"At long last," notes a former U.S. champion and grandmaster Larry Evans, "the world's top players wrested control of their own destiny after FIDE missed a deadline to begin a series of candidates matches in Indonesia."
"I predict Campomanes will remain president for life," former "Chess Life" editor Larry Parr said. "In my view, when he's through looting the organization, it will be a bankrupt corpse."
FIDE ("Federation International Des Echecs") was founded in Paris in 1924 and has been responsible for governing all aspects of international chess competition and for drafting the rules for such play.
FIDE organized the first Chess Olympiad within three years of its founding, and since 1948 has had total control over the conduct of the World Championship matches.
It awards various titles, the most important of which are international grandmaster and international master.
Campomanes has been a controversial president almost since he took office. He stopped the world title match between Karpov and Kasparov when it appeared Karpov had tired (undoubtedly, but so had Kasparov) and Kasparov had won two consecutive games.
It was and still is generally held by many in the know, that the cancellation of match by Campomanes came from the pressure of the Soviet Chess Association that wanted Karpov to keep his world title.
When it came time for the second term of Campomanes, it was charged and never officially denied that Campomanes had supplied the expenses for the third world delegates to attend and vote for him. He said that these delegates could not afford to attend the election meeting if they were not financially provided for, but that he wasn't buying their votes. So?!
FIDE was organized with 97 nation members. Now it has 130 nation members.
This Olympiad, as previously reported here, Russia scored 39 of 56 possible points to win the gold medal even without Kasparov and Karpov, who were locked in a grim duel for the title in Lyon, France.
The United States improved on its fourth-place showing in 1988 by taking the silver from England on tie-break at 35 1/2. Czechoslovakia surprised with 34 1/2 despite failing to land in the top 10 last time.
In a separate field of 66 teams at the women's championship, Hungary edged the Soviet Union on tie-break as the three amazing Polgar sisters each won gold medals for best individual scores. China was third.
One woman, Sweden's Pia Cramling, played on the men's team. And for the first time, smoking was banned.
- TOURNAMENT - The Utah State High School Championship match will be held at Weber State University in Ogden March 22-23. For complete details write: Douglas Duncan, 2577 Bonneville Terrace Drive, Ogden, UT 84403.
- CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SOLVERS! - Ardean Watts, Kay Lundstrom, Ashley Ann Graves, David Moody, Hal Harmon, Hal Knight, Edwin O. Smith, Alison Hermance, Stanley Hunt, Richard Schow, Robert W. Lee, Camrie Copier, Russell Anderson, Jack Crandall, Ramon E. Bassett, Eugene Wagstaff, Gordon Green, Raeburn Kennard, Nathan Kennard, Aaron T. Kennard, William DeVroom, Ted Pathakis and Sharon Steimle.