Karpov's votes came mainly from European countries.Well, stone me. How surprised are we supposed to be? I mean, given that Karpov and his chums couldn't have made it much more clear that only Europe matters if they'd actually made it their campaign slogan.
So, the least trustworthy gang in contemporary chess were able to defeat the second- least trustworthy. I suppose that in some kind of parallel chess universe - and not one in which the game has been devised by aliens - it would be possibly to reflect thoughtfully on the reasons for the defeat, notably that the mistakes of the Bessel Kok campaign were treated as if they were virtues.
But that universe would not be very parallel to this one. Loud were the shouts of anguish and louder still the cries of incomprehension, which were not all that surprising given the widespread absence of critical thought that had accompanied coverage of the defeated campaign on its way to its inevitable defeat. And sure, if your candidate is perfect and your campaign the best that can be imagined, what other reasons for defeat can there be, other than skulduggery and injustice?
Loudest still, perhaps have been the shouts for secession from FIDE, from more than one party, in the days after the defeat. I have seen something like this coming for some time (hence my remarks, in the piece linked to above, regarding Kasparov's sudden closeness to Carlsen) and they are the logic of the rhetoric of Karpov's supporters. If what matters in chess is only the top players and the European countries, why not break away? Kirsan would provide the perfect excuse. No more costly Olympiads, no more tiresome pretence that we care about chess development beyond its European (and no doubt North American) frontiers, no more catering for Harry Golombek's polar bears and penguins. Though not all penguins would be excluded.
It would be a stupid and a venal move, something which, in itself, is unlikely to deny it a hearing. One imagines that the election of comedy-villain Silvio Danailov as ECU President may militate against Europe speaking with a single mind, which is something at least to be grateful for. Though then again if he were to be in favour he would no doubt be presented in a completely different light in the Oceania-has-always-been-at-war-with-Eurasia style of which Anatoly Karpov was the most recent beneficiary. We'll know when he starts appearing on platforms with Garry Kasparov. Or Nigel Short.
Of course it isn't easy to beat a crook and a buffoon in an election, otherwise Italy would have a different leader to the one it's got. But it would disgust me if people were seriously to entertain the idea of a breakaway from FIDE in which we divided the world into a mostly European elite on one hand and an Asian, African and South American under-people on the other. There is nothing about that which appeals to me: and the genuine motivation behind it wouldn't be a concern for democracy or good governance, but a desire to corner the market in high-profile and profitable chess events. The truth is that for some people at least, it's a business feud. The questions of ethics are a sideshow.
Who would that chess world be all about? If Simpson's-in-the-Strand is any guide, it would be about hedge fund managers, tax exiles, celebs, chancers, cronies and Carol Vorderman. To be honest I'd just as rather take my chances with Kirsan. And I would much rather take my chances with Kirsan if the alternative involved fracturing the world of chess again and delivering this half of it into the hands of the charmless bunch who stood against him. Because there are cronies and bastards on both sides of the fence. Looking at some of Karpov's loudest British supporters, that much is obvious.
There is, I suppose, another way. When Mark Crowther writes:
players need to start being active in their own national associations and replacing the FIDE delegates that voted for IlyumzhinovI can't, I don't think, claim he means exactly what I would mean by it. But I would mean having something to say to the people who were being asked to replace the people who are Kirsan's placemen. And by definition, these would be very largely people outside Europe and North America. And again by definition, this would mean finding out what they wanted and needed from chess. But what, in fact, people have normally been saying about people outside Europe and North America is that these people have no value. They don't count.
That would be a better idea. Better than Barry Martin and Carol Vorderman. It would be good. Of course it would be good. Of course, because it would be good, it isn't going to happen. That's a parallel universe. That's not the world of chess.