Friday, 28 September 2012

Chess in the news.

On Page B8 (i.e. the business section) of Wednesday's Daily Telegraph there are some paragraphs about chess. They are reproduced here.

A benevolent reiver.

In my salad days, when I was green, I was captive to a number of stories of the Covenanters (the death of Inchdarny I can still partly recall), fierce men of Presbyterian faith who lived and died for the Solemn League and Covenant. I was also exposed to tales of the borders, particularly about the reivers. Now both are just echoes from history, of whom few had heard. The Covenanters were done for by their divisions and the Battle of Bothwell Brig (1679); the reivers, rather earlier, by Jimmy the Sixth (the wisest fool in Christendom), who imposed order in the oft-wasted borderlands. Some prominent, highly respectable, families in today's Britain claim descent from the reivers.

It is alleged that history repeats itself, thus when Irish Home Rule dominated British politics a century ago, Ulster Protestants broadcast their opposition in 1912 by signing a Solemn League and Covenant.

Have we similarly witnessed a return to the ideals of the reivers? The reivers were ferocious riders, berserkers even, who would engage in cattle rustling and still more nefarious deeds, disdainful of allegiances owed to crown and country, men who cared not a whit for international borders. Some say the American West was like that, maybe they are right. But surely their ways are now just metaphorical?

In today's Russia and Ukraine there are many colourful figures in the world of business. Recently, the Ukraine born Vladimir Mironovich Palikhata, who heads the Moscow Chess Federation, issued an invitation to the Mayor of London to attend the London Grand Prix, a contest that is closed to ordinary members of the public. But who is Palikhata, to invite the Mayor of London to an event in London? Fortunately, it would appear that one of Palikhata's aides has provided an entry on Wikipedia, the first port of call for the ill-informed. Out of sheer laziness I shan't provide that link, I shall just note that it is gratifying that Palikhata was able to provide assistance to the children of needy families in the Republic of Kalmykia when FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a close friend, was also president of that republic. There is a photograph of the two benefactors available here. Other, Russian language, pages of interest are to be found here, here, here and here.

Palikhata's plans for chess are expressed in a Russian language interview here, a further interview he gave shortly after his elevation can be found here. It is ineffably good news that he shares a platform with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (speaking through the microphone on the first photo), whom we must thank for keeping Ilyumzhinov at FIDE. It is wonderful, too, that he has Archimandrite Tikhon, believed to be Russian President Vladimir Putin's spiritual advisor, as a trustee for his charitable foundation. Not for Palikhata is the path of conflict with FIDE, I gather that the First Vice-President of the Moscow chess Federation is Nikita Vladimirovich Kim, who used to work for Ilyumzhinov.

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