The Great Whitewash

July 2, 1998. Larry Parr.


According to a report by Sam Sloan, America's current FIDE delegate Steve Doyle and FIDE-rep-to-be Tim Redman have been dispatched by the USCF to meet with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in Elista. Among the subjects supposedly to be discussed is Khan Kirsan's purported involvement in the murder of opposition journalist Larisa Yudina. According to press reports from Russia, TWO of the three suspects arrested for the murder have close links with the Khan.

If Mr. Sloan's report is accurate, the Messrs. Doyle and Redman are shocking choices to send on this fact finding mission. Both have long histories of supporting FIDE's antics. At the 1985 U.S. Open, when I was serving as Chess Life editor, then USCF President Doyle called me for a pool-side conference. He ordered me to cease criticizing Florencio Campomanes for canceling the first Kasparov-Karpov match. I responded that he himself had delivered a blistering indictment of Mr. Campomanes' action in a speech he delivered to the players at that year's Amateur Team East.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

I will never forget Mr. Doyle's response. He told me that his speech was strictly for public consumption, and American policy was to support Campomanes.

Mr. Redman is still worse. Readers of should consult the January 1988 issue of Chess Life for several articles written by him. Among other outrages, he supported FIDE's infamous persona non grata resolution condemning IM Ricardo Calvo. FIDE was in the mood for an anti-Kasparov witch hunt, and the FIDEistas attacked Calvo for a letter-to-the-editor that appeared in New in Chess. (Mr. Redman also attacked New in Chess as little more than a rag.) A FIDE vice president of the time described the persona non grata move against Mr. Calvo as the first maneuver in a grand combination against Garry Kasparov.

So, then, these are the two men whom the USCF has dispatched to quiz Khan Kirsan about his moral hygiene. Sending these two on a fact-finding mission concerning the Khan would have been like Congress trusting John Mitchell to investigate Watergate or Al Gore to report on Whitewater.

One can imagine the dialogue between the Khan and his two obsequious American FIDEistas:

"Mr. President, you are innocent of any involvement in the Yudina murder. Is that true?"


"Mr. President, you are not a dictator. Is that correct?"


"Thank you, Mr. President, for your frank and full answers to our questions. We're completely satisfied and shall assure American players that all is well in Kalmykia."


In the wider chess community beyond the circles of the Old Guard, sending two long-time FIDEistas on a fact-finding mission to Elista can have no credibility. The failure to balance one of these two men with a strong critic is telling indeed, and one wonders whether our "fact finders" will speak with members of the opposition, including the editor who has assumed the place of the murdered Miss Yudina. Will they speak with representatives of the Russian prosecutor?

If our FIDE lads are not really visiting Elista to find out facts about Khan Kirsan, then why are they going? My guess is that they are checking out rumors that the preparations for the scheduled Olympiad in Elista are a disaster. Secondly, and more importantly, they will be discussing strategy with the Khan over how he can improve his image in the United States. At this juncture, the motion by Ethicist John McCrary to declare Anatoly Karpov the sole world champion is breathing stertorously. I would not rule out a visit by the Khan to the U.S. Open in Hawaii, though such a trip could end in disaster if this violent dictator, who is unaccustomed to free debate, undergoes open and informed questioning.


A mission to Kalmykia by the Messrs. Doyle and Redman is a meaningless expenditure of USCF money. Outside of the FIDE group and its Old Guard apologists, no one will accept a report written by these two men.

The only way to lend this absurd mission credibility is to include a strong, informed critic of Khan Kirsan, who would be free to file a separate report. Delegates and others could then compare the two reports and draw their own conclusions.

-- Larry Parr

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