Kramnik: "The Sanctions Imposed on Ilyumzhinov Might Have Been Kasparov's Revenge"

Tuesday, 09.02.2016 04:58

"I understand this sounds as a kind of conspiracy theory but I'm not alone to think so"

– In an interview to a Russian newspaper Sport-Express, Vladimir Kramnik communicates his opinion on the sanctions the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

"This is very sad, - the former World Champion says. - Whatever opinions people might have about Ilyumzhinov, I am sure that exactly those accusations are far-fetched. It looks more like a revenge for the 2014 FIDE elections which Kasparov lost to Ilyumzhinov by a wide margin. Kasparov had a colossal support by the USA during the elections, including the financial side of the matter. Perhaps the people who were backing him have good contacts in the U.S. Department of State. Thus, they decided to combine business with pleasure as they got their revenge for the failed elections and also attempted to hamper conclusion of a major contract..."

The contract meant by Kramnik is the one of the World Championship match announced to take place in the USA in 2016. The initial announcement had been made right after the finish of the previous match in Sochi, while later, in October 2015, Ilyumzhinov declared the matter to be "all decided". After the latter statement by FIDE President, however, no big news about the match has come to light.

At the same time, RCF President Andrey Filatov has recently expressed his doubts about the USA as the 2016 World Championship host, even though his words were promptly refuted by Ilya Merenzon, the director of Agon company which possesses all the rights to organize the match. "The Match will take place in the U.S. on November 9 – November 30, 2016, The negotiations with host cities are in the final stage and Agon together with FIDE will announce the host city this month [January 2016 - CN]", the Agon official press release ran.

January is over - it's already February 9th - but there is no new information from Agon about the match yet.

"This all began last November when FIDE was intending to conclude a major contract of the next World Championship match, - Kramnik goes on. - A couple of months ago, I had a private conversation with a big American businessman who had been one of the initiators of this enterprise. He confirmed to me that the sponsors were ready to support the match - and perhaps even further major chess events in the USA. Then, the sanctions came just a few days before the conclusion. This is quite suspicious, isn't it? I'd like to emphasize that it's my personal opinion, and I understand that many people might see it as a kind of "conspiracy theory', but please believe me - I'm by far not the only one who thinks so.

Besides, what do the accusations have to do with sanctions? If Ilyumzhinov was really involved in trading oil with ISIL, this is a crime. Kirsan Nikolaevich has claimed his readiness to defend himself in an American court, but no one has brought a lawsiut against him. I assume no criminal case will begin because that requires clear evidence. To summarize: if you have clear accusations then go to court, if you don't have it - there must be no sanctions".

Kramnik hardly believes that Ilyumzhinov is intending to resign as FIDE President, and assumes that delegating his authority to Makropoulos was just a "tactical rearrangement". That said, Kramnik refutes the gossip about himself as a possible candidate for FIDE presidency: "Hypothetically, it might occur in future, but surely not now. I'm currently a professional player ranked #2 in the world, and besides, no one has invited me there".


  


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