El Pais newspaper reports that 12 players in the FIDE World Championship still have not been paid

El Pais newspaper has just become the first major newspaper to report that checks from the FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas have bounced.

The report, by well known chess journalist Leontxo Garcia, is reported on the web site at http://www.elpais.es/p/d/19991017/deportes/jaque.htm.

The report is entitled "La FIDE paga con cheques sin fondos", which means "FIDE paid with checks without funds".
FIDE Executive Director Emmanuel Omuku promises to make good on the bounced checks

It reports that none of the semi-finalists, with the exception of Michael Adams of England, have received their money. This means that Khalifman, Akopian and Nisipeanu have not been paid.

The list of players who have not been paid also includes Shirov, Kramnik, Bauer and Leitao. A total of $600,000 in prizes is owed to the players.

The article said that FIDE Executive Director Emmanuel Omuku was reached by mobile telephone "somewhere in Russia" and that Omuku admitted that 12 players have not yet been paid. The identities of the remaining five unpaid players are unknown.

Those who have seen the bounced checks report that the checks are two-party checks, signed by two persons. However, the signatures are scrawled and illegible. Nevertheless, the Wells Fargo Bank in Las Vegas recognized the signatures and therefore must know who signed them, although the signers have no doubt long since fled the country.

My view and the view of Yasser Seirawan of Inside Chess is that now the USCF must now take a lead role in either kicking Ilyumzhinov out of FIDE or in starting a new organization. Only the USCF can do this. Other chess organization around the world are too weak internally or financially to undertake such a major project.

Unfortunately, the rumor has been spread in the world of chess that the USCF is completely broke and on the verge of bankruptcy. This is not true. The USCF is sitting on a horde of cash of about $1.8 million which detractors prefer to ignore. In addition, the American Chess Foundation located at 353 West 46th Street, New York New York, has even more money and is funded by major corporations including Philip Morris. The American Chess Foundation is about to kick the Manhattan Chess Club out of the two ground floors of the building, which the American Chess Foundation owns, to make room for further expansion.

The USCF easily has the clout to take over FIDE and put it on its feet. Unfortunately, the USCF has internal problems of its own. For one, the Executive Director was just fired and a permanent replacement will probably be a long time in coming.

Sam Sloan

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