Canberra Times Chess Column for September 3

After relying on the Australian Chess Federation to rescue the World Chess
Federation FIDE from its excessive promises to SOCOG about a chess
exhibition at the Sydney Olympics, FIDE has stunned the Australian body by
proposing new membership regulations which would see the ACF excluded from
Speaking in Tehran last week, FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov announced
his intention to accept as members of FIDE only those chess federations
which were recognised by their National Olympic Committee.
"I propose for the Presidential Board and General Assembly that we should
reconsider all national federations that are members of FIDE," said
Ilyjumzhinov. "We should inform all federations of the proposal and we
should task them to bring NOC recognition... Amendments should be made to
our statutes. Even if we become fewer, we shall be confident that these
federations are in full accord with the NOC. This will accelerate the
acceptance of chess as an Olympic sport."
FIDE used the Olympics as a reason for excluding the Philippines Chess
Federation from FIDE, recognising instead the new, POC recognised, National
Chess Federation of the Philippines. (The fact that former FIDE President
Florencio Campomanes had had a falling out with the PCF and supported the
new organisation may have been of more relevance in FIDE's decision.)
The new rules would be a disaster for Australian chess since the chances
for recognition by the Australian Olympic Committee are remote; as a rule,
Australia's sports administrators strenuously oppose any moves towards
recognition of non-physical sports.
The ACF has made a vigorous protest to FIDE, without response to date.
The next chance to make Australia's case for remaining in the world body
will come at the Sydney Olympics when Iljumzhinov and his entourage arrive
to watch Viswanathan Anand and Alexey Shirov play exhibition games. (That
is the current plan, although Shirov is reported to be reconsidering his
participation on the grounds that FIDE is refusing him to pay him an
FIDE is already in Australia's debt with regard to the exhibition, a fact
shown by FIDE's appointment of the two exhibition organisers as arbiters at
the Istanbul Olympiad.
However the chances that ACF President Graeme Gardiner can convince
Iljumzhinov that his idea is misguided are not good.  Iljumzhinov appears
to have his eye on an appointment to the IOC and any measure which might
help him achieve that goal is unlikely to be abandoned by FIDE, a body in
which Iljumzhinov's word is usually law.

Belconnen Community Centre Cup
Leading final scores:
1eq. Wright, Rout 5.5;
3eq. Ramakrishna, S.Oliver, Bragin, Riggs 4.5.

2000 Charity Cup
Leading final scores:
1. Rafizadeh 6.5;
2. Doel 6;
3. Wright 5.5.