Interview with Boris Kutin, ECU President

Boris Kutin about the progress of chess in Europe

Boris Kutin

The European Individual Chess Championship has just ended. It was the strongest event in the history of EICC and also the one with the most participants. What do you think about it?

I am very happy and proud of the Rijeka European Individual championship. It is proof that we do our job very well. And I have to add we are absolutely not alone in this boat. The part of Rijeka organizers is extremely important too. It was very strong and ambitious team led by Damir Vrhovnik. I am very grateful to them. It is important to point out: when players are satisfied, when players have a lot of compliments, this is the goal which we want.

The European School and Senior chess championships are starting with over 400 players in Thessaloniki, what is the key of having chess developing in all age groups?

The Games Festival is another proof of right way of our policy. And there is no coincidence that in this case we have another experienced and ambitious organizers as well: Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou.

ECU started as an organization 25 years ago, feeling underrepresented in FIDE compared to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Practically half of the time you have been president of the organization. How does it stand 1/4 of a century afterwards on the chess scene?

When ECU was founded the main target was to defend Europe, actually some kind of anti Campomanes organization. Today this story is almost forgotten, in FIDE Congress 1986 in Dubai delegates elected Continental President who had (this is estimation,official figures will never be known) less than 20 percent of European votes. So ECU was way of self defense. The story of today is much different. Not to be too modest I can say that we made a big progress. Europe represent at least 75 or 80 percent of World Chess. In other words : European chess needs professional organization in the face of ECU. This is big challenge and today we are advancing in this direction. But professionalism does not mean work for professionals only. Absolutely we have to pay much more attention to amateurs, kids, adults, seniors, chess players of all levels.

ECU elections are coming. Two candidates have hosted receptions announcing their candidacy – Mr. Yazici and Mr. Danailov. Are you going to run for ECU President?

I have announced my candidacy in Novi Sad in frame of our GA. It is not fair to make comments on my opponents. Both are known in chess world and it is good that we have more candidates for ECU president.

Many open tournaments are suffering worldwide from the financial crisis. What is the state of ECU?

It is not easy to organize all our events, but in the last years we are just making all the record after record: participants, number of participating countries, and prize fund. Impressive are thefigures about EICC and EWCC: last year 240.000 (in total), this year 225.000, next year new record (280.000 for sure, very possible 300.000).

How do you feel about Europe hosting the World Chess Championship 2010? Your prediction for the outcome of the match?

For sure the Topalov – Anand match is good for Europe. I know Sofia organizers and absolutely believe that match will be on very high level. But this is just one part. Another is publicity. All we have use such event for big propaganda for our game. Regarding the match outcome, I can say that I expect dramatic match with full of novelties, real cake for professionals and chess lovers.