During the 84th FIDE Congress in Tallinn, the the current President of FIDE Kirsan Ilymzhinov and the former World Champion Garry Kasparov announced their candidacy for the FIDE Presidential elections 2014. Just several months later the duos running for ECU Presidential elections, Danailov / Sakotic and Azmaiparashvili / Paulson, are clear and the battle is on.
Who is who in the ECU race?
Danailov / Sakotic
Silvio Danailov, President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation and the European Chess Union, is going to run for one more term in office. No changes on his team are announced so far and Danailov will be relying on right hand, Vladimir Sakotic, President of the Montenegro Chess Federation. The duo is backed by the FIDE presidential candidate Garry Kasparov, making it one of the pillars of the FIDE presidential bid.
Silvio Danailov achieved great success by getting the Chess in Schools program endorsed by the European Parliament with the Written Declaration 50/2011. He also opened a travel agency associated with the ECU, as part of the business plan he wanted to introduce in ECU.
In an interview for chess-news.ru Silvio Danailov stated that he “accepts criticism only on one topic”, however, there are certainly multiple questions that he has to answer to before the ECU elections: what happened to the business model of ECU, why PR and marketing activities were absent during the four years, why was the promised budget increase to more than 1 million/year not achieved, etc. All summarized in Silvio Danailov’s own words at his election speech in 2010 (https://www.chessdom.com/news-2010/danailov-ecu)
If I am elected a president, I will concentrate on introducing business models in managing and financing of the union and will back them up with professional PR and marketing activities […] We should animate famous personalities, politicians and media in our struggle to have the European chess union budget significantly higher than the actual one and in any case not less than one million euro per year. […] I have started my campaign with a slogan „I know…“ With these two words I wanted to send you a message that I do not ask you to believe my empty promises.
Azmaiparashvili / Paulson
Zurab Azmaiparashvili announced his candidacy for ECU President at a gala dinner in Warsaw last November. He first hinted the possibility during the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki and later repeated the intention in an interview with Chessdom. Right next to him will be the President of the English Chess Federation Andrew Paulson.
It is interesting to note that Zurab Azmaiparashvili has also been very close to Garry Kasparov. In the 90’s Azmaiparashvili coached Kasparov for several years. Garry was also the guest of honor at Zurab’s 50th birthday anniversary (photo by Chessbase here and here). Just a few years ago the Georgian Chess Federation (together with the ECF) were taking a series of legal actions against FIDE.
Despite previous history, both Azmaiparashvili and Paulson branded themselves as independent political body. Azmaiparashvili noted in his speech, “I am not going to use ECU as a political tool to contest or criticize FIDE. It is not a secret that to a certain extent FIDE elections will probably interfere with our elections too. However, in case of my presidency, I will do my best to cooperate with FIDE regardless of the outcome of its elections.” With an open letter, Andrew Paulson also denied any official support of Kirsan Ilymzhinov.
The program of Azmaiparashvili and Paulson is very ambitious. Zurab’s main promise is based on a 100 000 eur sponsor, a European Grand Prix competition, and bringing back the offices to the center of Europe. More details have been promised to emerge in the coming months.
ECU and FIDE Presidential elections watch at Chessdom
This preview of the Presidential Elections battle for ECU and the preview about the FIDE Elections 2014 mark the beginning of the elections watch at Chessdom.com. Every week you will be getting updates on the important race. In pursuit of an objective and unbiased coverage of the elections, the candidates and their teams will be given the opportunity to express and share their views on the pages of Chessdom.