Spiller joins chess presidential election

Howick’s Paul Spiller, right, playing against 15-times Pakistani Champion, International Master Mahmood Lodhi, in the eighth Asian Seniors Chess Championships Waipuna Conference Centre in October last year. Photo Joanne Spiller

Every four years the World Chess Federation (FIDE) holds elections amongst its 189 member countries to determine a president and officials to oversee the running of World Chess.

The next elections will be held on October 3 in the Georgian Black Sea resort Batumi and will be fiercely contested between three candidates.

Local chess organiser Paul Spiller (who is also the vice-president of the NZ Chess Federation and president of the Oceania region) will be Oceania’s first representative in a presidential election, running for the position of vice-president on the ticket of English grandmaster Nigel Short.

The other two tickets are headed by Russian Arkady Dvorkovich, the recent chairman of the organising committee for the FIFA World Cup, and by current FIDE vice-president Georgio Makropoulas.

“The main reason behind the decision to stand is to bring about much-needed reforms and transparency to the running of world chess and also to promote the development of chess in the Oceania region,” said Spiller.

“Oceania is a difficult region to develop because of the geographical isolation and financial difficulties of many Pacific nations.”

Over the last few years, and with the help of the Asian Chess Federation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation, Asia Pacific equipment and other resources have been distributed to help set up Chess in Schools programmes and to help with coaching but there is a lot more to be achieved, he said.

“In the immediate future I am helping with the organisation of the New Zealand Open Championships and inaugural Oceania Youth Championships, both being organised in January in Auckland followed by the Oceania Championships in Guam in February.

Spiller left for Batumi on Tuesday. Before that he was seeking re-election for the presidency of the Oceania Zone which will be contested a few days earlier at the Asian Continental meeting.