Agon'y'?

Friday, 02.03.2012 04:34

Who is mister Paulson?

FIDE's decision to grant the company “Agon” the rights to hold the World Championship matches, Candidates Tournaments and World Cups for the next few years has been widely discussed. There hasn't been an official announcement of the decision, however, first from the Executive Assistant of FIDE Presdient Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Berik Balgabaev's twitter, and then from FIDE President's interview with Sport Express, it became known that the next Candidates Tournament will take place from October 23rd to November 13th this year in London. The tournament will be sponsored by Azerbaijan (information has been proved by the vice-president of Azerbaijan Chess Federation Mair Mamedov). 

"Andrew Paulson first wrote us approximately eight months ago offering to invest millions of dollars in chess. We were interested in his proposal, FIDE provided a group for the preparation of the contract. It consisted of the FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman, Director of Global Chess Geoffrey Borg. Except Paulson the managers from different countries participated in negotiations. 
The negotiations were carried on in Greece, London, Moscow, Tirana within six months. Earlier this year all members of the FIDE Presidental Board including the World Champions Vishy Anand and Hou Yifan, received the copies of the contract in order to be able to look through it and make corrections".
(Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, from the interview to Sport Express)

However, signing such a contract is in conflict with the procedures International Chess Federation has prescribed for determining the host country for Candidates Tournament. At least the President of Bulgarian Chess Federation Silvio Danailov thinks so.

"if Azerbaijan is ready to cover all organizational expenses just to include its player in the tournament - I'd only welcome it. It's not about who will play in the Candidates Tournament - the question is in the procedure, in the way FIDE acted... I'm talking not as Topalov's manager now, but as an official. There is a law, there are rules and they have to be complied. And there's not any other way!"

(Silvio Danailov, from the interview to Chesspro) 

Let us remind you that by the time of deadline January 31 the official applications for holding the Candidates Tournament have submitted only two countires - Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. Danailov intends to file a lawsuit against FIDE as soon as he'll see the official contract signed between the International Federation and Agon.

However, Danailov's lawyers have already checked Agon Ltd and found out some interesting details about it. It was founded and registed officially on January 12th 2012 - approximately after a month the draft of the contract was prepared. The beneficient owner of the company remains unknown. According to the papers the share holders are two companies, Ogier Nominees (Jersey) Limited and Reigo Nominees (Jersey) Limited. The name of Andrew Paulson doesn't appear anywhere. 

Thus, it turnes out that FIDE signs the contract on holding the Candidates Tournament with just founded company without any activity so far and the owners of which are unknown. 

Andrew Paulson himself, according to our information is rather a closed person and it's quite hard to get in touch with him. You can find some information about him on Wikipedia (which is of course not the most reliable source):

"Andrew Paulson (born 1958, New Haven, Connecticut) is an American entrepreneur working in Russia. He is the son of noted American professor Ronald Paulson.

During his early years he pursued oncology and neurophysiology research at Johns Hopkins Hospital,Yale University and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and he founded The New Theater Company where he produced and directed numerous plays.

He graduated with a BA in French Literature and Literary Criticism from Yale University in 1981, and attended the Yale School of Drama. From 1982-86 he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing; from 1987-93 he lived in Paris, London and Milan, shooting fashion and advertising photography; during this period he co-founded (with Gilles Dusein) the Paris conceptual photography gallery ‘Urbi et Orbi’, and co-founded (with Kurt Novack) a graphic design studio, ‘Pourriture Noble’. From 1993 until 1998, he developed several publishing projects in Moscow (Delovie Lyudi (Russian: Деловые люди) for the French Groupe Hersant, Ponedyelnik (Russian: Понедельник), an independent news/business weekly, and an entertainment listings bi-weekly Vechernyaya Moskva (Russian: Вечерняя Москва)).

Shortly after the Russian financial crisis of August, 1998, Paulson, together with Anton Kudryashov, founded Afisha, an entertainment and listings magazine which became the cultural touchstone of Moscow and St. Petersburg; online, afisha.ru extended its audience throughout Russia and abroad with local partnerships and local content. Afisha is still one of only a very few significant indigenous brands in any sector created in Russia since Perestroika.
Bolshoi Gorod (Russian: Большой Город), a free bi-weekly ”Sunday Magazine Section to a daily newspaper that doesn’t exist”, was launched in Moscow in 2002 and local editions have since appeared around Russia. Afisha MIR, a monthly glossy travel and lifestyle magazine, was launched in 2003. To this day Afisha Publishing House sets the high water mark for independent magazine publishing in Russia; it was sold to Russian media group, ProfMedia in 2005."

On kasparovchess forum the user Vladislav asserts that he knows Paulson:

"The son of professor, adventurer, arrived in Russia in 90's with different projects...
Lively, witty, suspicious, sociable, cheerful, provoker, democratic, likes to do things for show, but at the same time being rich he still drove with his driver on an old Audi. I was on his birthday a couple of times  - the receptions were in his Moscow flat with catering, waiters, etc. Yeah, there are a lot of interesting stories about him.
But in terms of chess - here I have doubts. He doesn't have any personal money for chess, he drains somebody."

Chess-News follows the developments and invites interested parties to the open discussion. 

 photo - Andrew Paulson. source: http://ru.wikipedia.org


  


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