miércoles, 7 de julio de 2010

Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and the Future of Sponsorship

Democracy in Action: Puerto Rico Adelante!

It was a wonderful sight in Puerto Rico last weekend, as people power worked for the future of chess in beautiful Puerto Rico. When the Federation’s leadership balked at an open debate over whom to support for FIDE president, an Extraordinary Assembly was called. As the remarkable videos show, well over 100 members came out to vote! The result was a clear win to support the ticket of Anatoly Karpov, and the Assembly also supported the candidacy of Puerto Rico’s own chess dynamo, Rafael Ortiz Bonilla, for General Secretary on the Continental Americas ticket of Marvin Guevara, along with Francisco Guadalupe, which is supported by the Karpov2010 campaign.

Here’s the vote count in action progress. The voters didn’t fit into the meeting hall so the Assembly had to go outside the building! Our thanks and congratulations to Rafael Ortiz and Federation president Omar Añeses for this heartening display of democracy in action.

Clicking the picture below will take you to a full YouTube page of videos on the proceedings of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Puerto Rican Chess Federation.

Karpov visits Nassau

Minister Desmond Bannister at the opening ceremony
Near the end of June, Anatoly Karpov paid a two-day visit to the city of Nassau, the capital of the island nation of The Bahamas, where they are just beginning to develop a serious chess presence. Karpov’s arrival coincided with the launch of the Sub Zonal 2.3 tournament, the first time it has been hosted in the Bahamas. Representatives of Barbados, Venezuela, Jamaica, and many more regional federations made up the field. In the end, the winner was Jomo Pitterson of Jamaica.
The stresses of organizing this international tournament, and, sadly, of politics, created a strange atmosphere for the arrival of the 12th World Champion. There was no media prepared for his appearance, though meetings with the Ministers of Tourism and Sport were arranged at the last second, and he met Desmond Bannister, Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and Minister of Education, briefly at the opening ceremony of the tournament.
The attendance at the event of Mr. Jorge Vega, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s Continental President, seemed to create an unfortunate tension. Instead of uniting to promote chess and to take advantage of the presence of a former world champion, a negative spirit of competition was instead present. Karpov’s attempts to host an open discussion with the regional federation heads in attendance and the executives of the Bahamian federation about how to advance chess in the Caribbean were actively fought. Even an invitation to have dinner with the world champion was challenged by Mr. Vega. And while we understand the difficult situation these intimidation tactics can create for the representatives, we insist that it is possible to promote chess for the benefit of all and hold a political campaign at the same time. The Bahamian chess community and the entire region were cheated of a unique opportunity.
English GM David Norwood, who resided for some time in The Bahamas, was one of the major sponsors of the Sub Zonal tournament. He expressed his disappointment:
“When I heard that Karpov would be attending the Caribbean Sub-Zonal I was obviously delighted. Whatever one’s politics, I thought this was a fantastic opportunity for Bahamas chess and incredible publicity for the tournament. However, I was horrified to hear that while in Nassau he had been snubbed to the point of rudeness. It’s no way to promote chess and it’s no way to treat one of the game’s greatest players. That will be the last of my money going into Bahamian chess until they decide to put chess before politics.”
GM Norwood also wishes to clarify that he has no connection with the Karpov campaign at all, “nor any interest in chess politics. I just love chess.”
Sports Tourism Director Tyrone Sawyer
We nevertheless wish the best to the entire Bahamian chess community and we look forward to future work in the region. Our special thanks go out to Mr. Errol Tiwari of Guyana, who would not be put off from meeting with Mr. Karpov and sharing his views and ideas. And this while playing in the Sub Zonal at the same time! Also participating was Mr. Octavio Croes of Aruba, who was also escorting two of his young players. We are always looking for new places to host campaign events and we do not forget our friends!
It was a pleasure to speak with the knowledgeable and charming Allan Herbert of Barbados, who is a gentleman and a sincere chess-lover no matter which side of the political fence he finds himself. And we cannot forget to mention a Caribbean legend, FM Philip Corbin of Barbados, who has a well-earned reputation for spectacular attacks that would not shame Mikhail Tal. (He scored a typically devastating win exactly the round Mr. Karpov visited the playing hall.) Here are a few photos from the trip, with more to be sent to the excellent website The Chess Drum of Daaim Shabazz.
Errol Tiwari of Guyana with a special gift of Guyana's finest rum! He's also a popular chess columnist for the Stabroek News.
Bahamian Federation President Kean Smith, Tourism Director Vernice Walkine, and FIDE CACDEC Chairman Allan Herbert
Minister Walkine making the first move with only a little coaching!
Right: Octavio Croes of Aruba is ready for round two.
A friendly atmosphere before battle. On the right is "Caribbean Tal" Philip Corbin, who is about to launch a crushing attack. Standing in the background is Godfrey Major, who was a kind and helpful host together with his wife Lana and their chessplaying daughter, Polina.
Aruba's finest, ready for action!

 2009 Puerto Rico Chess Champion FM Gabriel Berrios, GM Anatholy Karpov and 2010 Puerto Rico Chess Champion Mark Machin

The Future of Commercial Chess Sponsorship

On a related, and more positive sponsorship note, we recently received this letter from the CEO of the large software firm Pegasystems, Mr. Alan Trefler, who discusses the potential of commercial chess sponsorship with a new FIDE administration. Unlike the promises coming from the Ilyumzhinov campaign, which we are used to hearing every four years and never seeing the results, the Karpov2010 campaign has been working hard behind the scenes around the world  to guarantee the reality before making any public announcements.
And so it is now a perfect opportunity to announce a $100,000 sponsorship package over four years to promote chess in Central America. The funding guarantees are in place and our supporters there — in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, and looking to expand — are working to establish the entities to manage our ambitious new projects. Similar projects are coming next to the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and then Africa as soon as the appropriate partnerships and entities are finalized. Localized arrangements in Europe and the Middle East will also be announced. In the next ten days you will hear the details of several more major sponsorship packages, on a region-by-region basis.

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