Interview with FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos – Part Two

About Global Chess and match Kamsky-Topalov

Part one of the interview with Mr. Georgios Makropoulos, where he talked about Women’s World Chess Championship and future Grand Prix

Q: There were some changes in the structure of Global Chess during this summer. Can you tell us what exactly happened?

A: At some point, Mr. David Kaplan, friend of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, entered the world of chess and as a rich man he was interested to invest money in chess. We met him several times, he also attended FIDE Presidential Board and Executive Board, and it appears that he was seriously interested to invest. Next, there were meetings with Bessel Kok, Geoffrey Borg and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and the agreement was reached – Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Ilyumzhinov are now shareholders in Global Chess. I know that David Kaplan is already active in preparation of several projects. As long as all these proposals are coming to FIDE through Global Chess, we don’t have problems. The problem would occur only if Mr. Kaplan wants to push projects outside of Global Chess.

Of course, I have to say that it is unpleasant situation to start a co-operation with Global Chess, when we knew that Bessel Kok is Chairman and Geoffrey Borg is Executive Director, and then suddenly some changes are being made. But if this means that more money will be invested in different chess projects, then perhaps it all turns out well. So the question is if really Mr. Kaplan is ready to invest serious money. If he is, then FIDE is going to benefit, together with chess federations and players.

Negotiations with Anand and Kramnik were much easier

Q: And the question that most of us are interested in. Will match Kamsky-Topalov take place as planned?

A: You know that we have a sponsor. At least he claims that he wants to be a sponsor for this match to take place in Ukraine. He was supposed to send the money to FIDE many months ago. For the last few weeks we are hearing “tomorrow, tomorrow, the money is going to be transfered”. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who knows the sponsor, they are friends, is aware of the serious situation and that is why he personally guaranteed the prize fund. So even if the sponsor does not proceed with deposing the prize fund to FIDE bank account, because this is the key point, then Mr.Ilyumzhinov will find the solution.

Our problem, at the moment, is that as long as money is not on the FIDE bank account, we cannot even go to Ukraine and speak with the potential organizer. We cannot sign the final undertaking with the players before we know where are they going to play. On the other hand, up to this point, we could have had already discussed several details concerning this match.

In fact, to tell the truth, the side of Gata Kamsky is not very helpful. I invited the players to discuss technical details that do not depend on the playing venue. But the Kamsky team is waiting to see who is the organizer and where the match is going to take place and only then they want to arrange the details. In my opinion, this is not fair. One example, just to illustrate, I asked if there should be private rooms for the players or not. If the match takes place in Sofia, then no, if it is in Ukraine then we will have them. In my opinion, this should be solved irrespective of the organizers. Are there private rooms or not? There are many similar details that do not depend on where the match will actually take place. We should agree now on the private rooms, what kind of control, what kind of let’s say “anti-cheating” measures will be taken.

I have to say that negotiations with Anand and Kramnik, regarding their own match, were much easier than the situation that we are facing now.

Q: But the time is running out?

A: The time is running out. I think in the next few days, one or two weeks the most, we should know what is going on. I have time, by the end of September, to visit Ukraine and discuss the preparation, if we really have an organizer there. And once we know the specific city where the match is going to take place, then I can proceed negotiations with the players.

Thank you Mr. Makropoulos for accepting the interview