14 March 2009

Forthcoming FIDE History?

At the risk of losing many of the millions upon millions of people who follow this blog, I'll add one more post to the mini-series I started with FIDE: 'Many Discussions on the Way Forward' and Chess in Africa - Today's Concerns, based on excerpts from the 79th FIDE General Assembly Minutes and Annexes. This last post on the 79th General Assembly is an excerpt from 'Annex 40: Report of the PR and Marketing Director'. For various reasons that I won't go into here, the entire document is worth reading for anyone interested in chess promotion, but the last section is particularly interesting to amateur chess historians like me.

3. FIDE History: In 2009, FIDE will have the 95th [should be 85th] anniversary of its establishment and in 2010, we will have new elections in the Congress. These are good opportunities to come forward with a book of FIDE History written and edited by the PR Director and published by one of the leading publishing houses in the world.

FIDE is probably the only international sport association that does not have a book of its history. However, it can be very important for contributing to the reputation of the organization, to increase its pride in the eyes of the audience and the chess players, etc. It is not an easy task to write FIDE history. Even those who had been involved in doing a part of FIDE history like e.g. Hon. President Florencio Campomanes, have been struggling with the task for years.

One of the problems is that the historic documentation is incomplete and spread in different places (the Hague, Elista, Moscow, some national federations, Athens, etc.), have not been collected or are written in the newspapers of the time of the different events like Congresses, etc. Thus, we write not only a synopsis for the book but we have to set up a small group of researchers (university students, journalists) who go into the libraries and dig out the past, make interviews-discussions with those who have been involved in FIDE matters and may know a lot of those (J. Averbah, B. Spassky, A. Filipowicz, F. Campomanes, etc.).

In my judgement, the FIDE History book would be a real sensation on the market and the budget needed for it can be reduced if the book is published by an international book house which can cover the author royalty and the distribution.

The project will be presented to the Presidential Board for approval as a separate item for the PR and Marketing Directorate.

Peter Rajcsanyi
Public Relations and Marketing Director

While collecting information about the World Championship, the Women's World Championship, and the Zonals, I've spent a fair amount of time studying FIDE's public documents, mainly at The Hague, and I agree that it's not a trivial exercise. It would be great to see FIDE follow through with this project, even if not in the ambitious timeframe mentioned by Rajcsanyi.

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