Calvia Meeting Report
November 12, 2004
What happened to USCF’s no-confidence motion?
The US no-confidence motion was a two part motion. The first part was a non-conditional expression of dissatisfaction in FIDE’s leadership and a conditional statement of no-confidence in FIDE President Ilyumzhinov. The condition was that FIDE be paid the money owed to it by Ilyumzhinov. FIDE unilaterally determined that a recent payment by President Ilyumzhinov to FIDE satisfied the condition.
Whether the condition was satisfied is not the point as FIDE had no legal right to remove the USCF motion from the agenda. The USCF motion was submitted well in advance of any deadline and done in conformance with FIDE regulations.
At the start of the Congress, we were told by FIDE that the motion would be brought before the General Assembly.
There were four meetings/discussions relevant to the motion:
On the evening of July 27, in Calvia USCF leaders had a dinner meeting with FIDE leaders, Our motion was discussed with FIDE Deputy President Makropolos, Vice President Morten Sand and Treasurer David Jarrett. Participating from the USCF side were President Marinello, FIDE VP Steve Doyle, USCF FIDE Delegate Bill Kelleher, USCF Zonal President Robert Tanner and USCF EB Members Elizabeth Shaughnessy and me.
The meeting was confrontational and direct. The discussion began with an expression by the USCF of some of the reasons why we are disappointed in FIDE’s leadership. Specifically:
(1) FIDE’s replacement of its Executive Director with a Troika composed of three of its own Board member and providing not only expense money but salary payments to Troika members Morten Sand, Davis Jarrett and Israel Gelfer).
(2) FIDE’s seemingly arbitrary decision to move the FIDE office to Athens without competitive bidding
(3) The World Championship schism.
Deputy President Makropolos responded with a long monologue that appeared to be aimed to divide our side. Makro spoke fast continually making his point with rhetorical questions, allowing no interruptions and ridiculing USCF leaders as seemingly not being of one mind but each having different viewpoints. He claimed he did everything possible to involve USCF leaders in the process.
Makro pointed out that he had put USCF past President Steve Doyle on their PB (Presidential Board) and put me on the Verification Commission explaining that the USCF would not have been able to get Doyle and me elected to those posts without their active support. I was stunned by these misrepresentations and succeeded in interrupting him to point out a couple of distortions. For example, he did not help me get on the Verification Commission but rather did everything possible to keep me off the VC including failure to present my nomination to the Assembly. Only through the intervention of USCF delegate Bill Kelleher and the Congress’s delegates expansion of the committee’s membership from three to four was I elected to the committee.
Doyle asked Makro to support a proposal to eliminate or curtail proxy voting and support a call for an extraordinary 2005 General Assembly request. Makro said he could go for curtailing proxy voting but not for the extraordinary meeting. Over the years there have been abuses in the use of proxies. Countries like Belize have never participated in a Congress, sent a team to an Olympiad or organized an Olympiad event yet their proxy carries the same weight as the votes of Russia, Germany, China, USA etc. Nevertheless, Makro apparently tied his willingness to curtail use of proxies to the USCF withdrawing its request for an extraordinary General Assembly for 2005. Was there a deal struck to tie the two together? Apparently not, but in fairness to Makro, the discussion became so convoluted that I can see how he may have gotten that impression.
The next evening the USCF dinner with the Americas and some additional country reps, primarily from Europe, took place. Using the Americas as the base for the meeting was possible because the Americas were united as they have never been in the 35 years that I have attended FIDE meetings. Our Madame President Beatriz Marinello deserves the credit for this. Her country of birth is Chile; their language and heritage are her’s. At the meeting of the Americas she was warmly greeted by virtually every latin American representative.
About Sixty federation presidents/delegates to FIDE attended the dinner. I invited Makro and David Jarrett as well and as a result I was criticized as some felt this would stifle free discussion among us. Beatriz, Doyle, Arns of Netherlands, GM Joel Lautier, president of the new player’s “union” and the recently deposed FIDE General Secretary Mr. Nourreddine Tabbane (he was advocating the same reforms as us) all voiced that criticism. Joel Lautier left (I believe partially because of this) before the dinner began saying that he had to get back to his team but that he would still like to see us later in the week without Makro (time did not permit and that meeting never took place).
I was the emcee of the dinner meeting and explained that I asked Makro and David Jarrett to attend so that they could hear the complaints direct from all present rather than having them filtered through the USCF delegation. It worked at least to some level. I did not see anyone present holding back what they had to say because of FIDE’s presence. Doyle gave a hard hitting summary that was a prelude to what would come at the final day of the General Assembly (see next paragraph).. Tabbane told me afterwards that despite his earlier reservations I did the right thing by inviting Makro and Jarrett. Nearly every person at the dinner spoke and aired his/her concerns.
The final day of the General Assembly was a disaster. When Makro saw the USCF pushing for both the Proxy curtailment and the extraordinary General Assembly he believed the US had double crossed him and were reneging on a deal of curtail proxies but don’t go for the extraordinary GA. Morten Sand apparently felt the same and when this came up felt his integrity was being challenged, thus begun an exchange with Doyle that got out of control and totally disrupted the meeting. The meeting ended abruptly in virtual chaos leaving no possibility for bringing up our motions or having FIDE get the handbook (that they already wrote) approved for sale.
In summary, those of us pushing for reform had an erratic start, but arenow in the game. We have a relatively strong base of support for whatever direction we decide upon. During our discussion it became clear that one of FIDE leadership’s most vulnerable areas is the inappropriate payments to members of their Presidential Board. Some very good people have allowed themselves, out of apparent blindness, to become party to this abuse. Elected FIDE officials VP Morten Sand, FIDE Treasurer David Jarrett, my Verification Committee Chairman, FIDE Auditor Lakhdar Mazouz, FIDE VP and leading Asian organizer Ignatius Leong, and Israel Gelfer fall into this category. Aside from the substantial Troika salary and expenses Sand, Gelfer and Jarrett receive, members of this group receive payments for contributions to the directory, handbook, participation on appeals committees and running tournaments.
Next steps: Decide whether we go for an Extraordinary Assembly. Do we attempt to change the proxy rule. Tabbane says this is unimportant since GM Kouatly proved in 1995 that the current insiders can be out-proxied. And most important of all, begin putting together a ticket for the 2006 FIDE elections.
For now, that’s all I have to report.