Every year I look forward to the minutes of FIDE's annual pow-wow, where the delegates of the national federations get together to discuss and debate the issues facing the chess world. The documents give me the opportunity to study and understand the mechanisms that drive the world's most important chess organization. The package was released this week in 85th FIDE Congress: General Assembly Minutes and Annexes, with minutes titled 'FIDE Congress; Tromso, Norway; General Assembly; 11-14 August 2014'.
On opening the file containing the annexes, I was disappointed to find only 14 documents, compared to the 76 that were in the corresponding 2013 package. My first thought was 'FIDE is hiding something this year', but this would be out of character for a group that has generally gone out of its way to communicate with its members. My second thought was 'Something went wrong during the meeting', so I started to read the minutes hoping to discover the details. And there it was: the agenda had been hopelessly derailed.
The agenda, announced end-June (see 85th FIDE Congress: General Assembly Agenda and Annexes), was divided into four parts:-
- Section A: Elections.
- Section B: Administrative matters.
- Section C: Commissions.
- Section D: FIDE Meetings, Tournaments and Matches.
On the first day, after a heated exchange involving the two presidential candidates during the discussion of the 'Financial Report' -- Kasparov: 'If elected I will give $10.000.000' (or something like that), Ilyumzhinov: 'I will give $20.000.000' -- the meeting steered into its main attraction, 'Section A: Elections'. Since I've already commented on that in FIDE Election: Four More Years (spoiler alert: Ilyumzhinov won), let's pick up the minutes some time later:-
The meeting was then adjourned for the Continental elections during which time the nominees for elected Vice-Presidents, Constitutional Commission, Ethics Commission and Verification Commission were to present their nominations to the FIDE Secretariat.
The General Assembly was resumed on the 12th of August.
Mr. Georgios Makropoulos said: One of the Continents yesterday did not organize its assembly, so because of our Statues and Regulations to proceed with the rest of the elections we will have to await the results of this Continent. So the elections will be tomorrow. Now we have two possibilities here. One is that we continue with our Agenda and we deal with the other points of the Agenda. The second is we should break and continue the Assembly tomorrow. [...] We are not going to make decisions and we suspend the session afterwards and we come tomorrow.
There were no objections. The meeting was suspended.
The third day was spent on the remaining elections and other appointments. One of the most important was, 'Mr. Nigel Freeman was re-appointed as FIDE Executive Director for a term of four years.' Then came the fourth and last day.
The session of 14th of the August. Mr. Nigel Freeman chaired the meeting.
Mr. Israel Gelfer remarked that next time we should start the Agenda from the bottom, because after elections delegates do not show up at the meetings. [...]
In the afternoon, after the break a roll call was made to see if the quorum existed. No quorum.
Mr. Herman Hamers said because there is no quorum, it means that we can’t make any decisions. [...]
As there was no quorum the rest of the Agenda could not be approved.
No quorum, no agenda, no decisions, no annexes, nothing for me to write about. What to do? Let's have a home movie showing highlights from the first day of the General Assembly. It starts with Kasparov presenting himself as the Croatian delegate and ends (I think) with the results of the presidential election having been announced.
FIDE President Elections (9:02) 'Tromso, 11.08.2014'
What's happening at 1:30 into the clip? According to the minutes,
Cote d’Ivoire [Ivory Coast] delegate Mr. Essoh Jean Mathieu Claude Essis tried to usurp the floor, but FIDE Treasurer proceeded to present his financial report.
After that, Kasparov launches into the '$10.000.000' offer, followed by Ilyumzhinov's offer(s). As for the continent that 'did not organize its assembly', it was Africa. After witnessing the performance of the Ivory Coast delegate during the General Assembly, it's easy to imagine what happened at the continental level.