Who knew the politics of international chess were so fraught with intrigue, big-money donors and allegations of vote-buying? So is it any surprise that Rex Sinquefield is involved?
The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Sinquefield, the retired investor whose return to his native St. Louis in 2005 opened new eras of (a) big-spending in Missouri politics and (b) big-time chess in St. Louis, is deeply involved with Garry Kasparov’s campaign for president of the World Chess Federation.
Mr. Kasparov, a Russian and former chess world champion, is running against longtime incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a Russian oligarch and former president of the little-known Russian Republic of Kalmykia. He believes that chess was invented by extraterrestrials, so he’s got that going for him.
He’s also got a lot of money, which, it is alleged, is how he’s managed to keep his hold on the World Chess Federation. Now, with Mr. Sinquefield’s backing, Mr. Kasparov also has a lot of money.
The first pawn to fall was longtime Ilyumzhinov supporter Ignatius Leong of Singapore. Along with Mr. Sinquefield, Mr. Leong is running for a federation seat on Mr. Kasparov’s ticket.
We wish them luck. Anything that might distract Mr. Sinquefield from Missouri politics should be encouraged.
Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reprinted with permission.