Russian campaign divides BCF
The FIDE elections are just around the corner, and already the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) are feeling the heat.
As part of the World Chess Federation (WCF) Botswana will have an opportunity to vote for their preferred President candidate in August.
The election will take place at this year’s 41st Chess Olympiads in Tromso, Norway and have pitted a fierce battle between the incumbent President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and aspirant Gary Kasparov.
The heated campaign between the two Russian gentlemen has since divided the BCF into two factions.
One faction has petitioned the executive in an attempt to push for a special general meeting where they intend to pass a motion of no confidence on the executive.
According to Voice Sport investigation, the group is in support of Kasparov while the executive that has been mandated to make a decision on behalf of the federation has openly sided with Ilyumzhinov.
The group comprises of former executive members and chess players. Surprisingly, the BCF Vice President Technical has also signed the petition.
Should the executive committee be toppled the petitioners will co-opt a candidate whom they are sure will vote Kasparov.
“From 1982, the President of the Federation has been the one casting the vote on behalf of the federation.
This same group tabled a motion of no confidence recently at the Annual General Meeting but was defeated.
They have re-surfaced again,” said a source who preferred anonymity.
“They failed because everyone is happy with the current executive’s performance which has seen numbers of youth participating in the sport improve immensely within a year.”
“Embarrassing is the VP technical who has decided to petition himself, as he makes part of the executive”, revealed a source.
This publication is also aware of a meeting which took place on the 2nd of July facilitated by the acting Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Vincent Seretse following allegations from Kasparov camp that the BCF executive was not giving them a platform to campaign.
Present also at the meeting was the BCF President Tshenolo Maruatona and Afrika Msimang from South Africa, who will become the FIDE Vice President should Kasparov win.
Contacted for comment on the issue BCF President confirmed the 2nd of July meeting, saying they left to meet with the Kasparov team.
“Though we did not refuse to meet them in the first place, following the Wednesday meeting we met with Kasparov on Saturday and he campaigned in front of my executive committee”.
“Yes I am aware of the group that is trying to pass a motion of no confidence and their petition, maybe it’s because we have openly nominated Ilyumzhinov and because of my busy schedule my Vice President Administration will be the one casting the vote on behalf of the BCF”, revealed Maruatona who added that he does not want to see chess suffer.
Though Maruatona refused to shed light on Kasparov’s campaign strategies, Voice Sport is reliably informed that Kasparov promised to sponsor Botswana team to the coming Olympiads and also take the youth team to the World Youth Championships in September, as well as buy chess sets and clocks for the federation.