Statement of Stéphane Escafre
International Arbiter September 1st 2018
Arbiters witness the state of FIDE
While traveling the world for years, I was able to observe the state of the chess planet. Through the eyes of the international arbiter I am, I have noticed many dysfunctions. An arbiter sees everything, he knows the stage and the backstage.
The first observation I draw from my experience is the great disparity of situations: I have the chance to live in Europe where most of the international competitions are organized. I should rejoice selfishly, but I am sad, because it means that the majority of the world is deprived of these events.
Whole areas are abandoned by current FIDE leaders. The continent most unjustly neglected being obviously Africa. Many federations (and we are talking about countries with tens of millions of inhabitants) have neither international arbiters nor FIDE arbiters (first level). How do you want to organize events worthy of the name in these conditions? And when I mention the absence of referees, this is only one of the symptoms, most of the time there are no coaches or trainers of chess teachers either.
The arbiters have technical and organizational skills essential to the progression of Chess. This added value makes arbiters a growth factor today, alas, under-exploited. I know the dedication and willingness of my colleagues: they will be the first to accompany and often initiate this new momentum. Through education, FIDE must fight against dependence, and promote the autonomy of those federations!
Where are the aids that can make African federations actresses of their own development? This situation is intolerable. We could attack the federations themselves by accusing them of doing nothing. But given the number of neglected countries, responsibility must be sought at a higher level. And since this lack of will for development is spread to several continents (Africa, South America, South-East Asia, Oceania), the responsibility is international.
Some FIDE leaders make federations believe that they are helping them, especially in the months before to the elections. I say they "make believe" because these aids, due to federations, are presented as extraordinary gifts. These people take advantage of their position to appoint “friends”, pay for travel ... but do not finance any development or effective formation.
It's a shame! At best we see seminars organizations or nominations given on the basis of political considerations. The current system cannot generate development. The majority of federations are victims of FIDE's negligence. Africa is visited by people from far away and wide who make gifts, make promises, but simply maintain the North-South imbalance.
I do not blame FIDE commissions. They are not the ones who vote budgets, open lines of expenditure, finance (or rather refuse to finance) development actions. The responsibility is at the level of the Presidential Board. It is the highest of the pyramid that must be changed.
We are fortunate to have a candidate who has the experience of the sports, political and financial world, with a presidential ticket that wants to redistribute the cards.
The members of Arkady Dvorkovich's ticket cannot be accused of personal ambition, they are Chess ambassadors respected in their country.
More important: Mr Dvorkovich is ready to work with all continents. You will not find in his communication support for one candidate over another for the continental elections. This particularity of not imposing a continental choice shows that everyone can work with everyone. At the end of the elections, there will be no fratricidal battle.
It is time to end a system that maintains disparities between federations. I encourage my fellow arbiters and the presidents of the federations to support the project of Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich. He has the skills, the experience and the will to develop Chess on all continents.
International Arbiter, A category
Member of the FIDE Rules Commission
Anti-Cheating Officer in Batumi European Championship 2018
Chess book writer
Statement in PDF