Readers will recall Andrew Paulson's remarkable statement written to justify his campaign for the seupty Presidency of the European Chess Union. It was notable for a series of attacks, of varying degrees of reasonableness, on Nigel Short and a similar series of defences, of varying degrees of unreasonableness, of Zurab Azmaiparashvili. But it also included two serious and important allegations against Silvio Danailov.
If these did not stand out to everybody, this is in part down to Paulson himself, who neither knows a good allegation from a bad one*, nor is a particular master of the art of précis. Nevertheless, they caught other eyes than mine and not long afterwards an interview appeared on Chessdom repeating the allegations.
The interview, a very interesting one too, went through the second of these allegations, the alleged soliciting of a bribe, in some detail, right down to the cuisine in the restaurant on a corner of the Plaza de España in Madrid where Danailov and Paulson had a meeting. (I am familiar with the Plaza de España, but not, alas, the restaurant.) We awaited more information about the first allegation, the prison sentence.
Since then, however, there has been only silence on the matter. Which is particularly odd, since the Chessdom piece was titled "Part 1" and more was promised shortly.
Following weeks? We've had six of them so far.
This is weird, for more reasons than one.
One is, naturally, that you would not normally advertise "Part 1" of an interview and claim that there would be more in the following weeks, unless you were proposing to run at least a "Part 2" in the weeks following.
Another is that there has been, as far as I am aware, no mention of this story in any other part of the chess press. Which ought to be weird, if you try to imagine an election campaign taking place, anywhere, in which a candidate was the subject of such allegations and the media made no mention of it.
You'd assume, I suspect, that the media were owned or controlled by the candidate concerned, or their party or faction. Yet such is not the case. It is just that this is chess, and the chess media do not do their job.
What's odder still is that the chess media do, in fact, report on events in chess politics. Just in recent weeks we have had Nigel Short's long article in New In Chess about Andrew Paulson: and Malcolm Pein's long editorial in CHESS about the same individual. And quite right too. It doesn't matter whether anybody likes, dislikes, agrees or disagrees with the content of either of those pieces: they're both proper pieces about important issues which are worthy of our comment and attention.
But the same is true of the Danailov allegations, isn't it?
There is an old epigram of Humbert Wolfe's:
You cannot hope to bribe or twistIn chess it's more a question of what the man won't do. But other than that, the principle is the same.
Thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to.
This degrades the value of the pieces these magazines do run, since you can see that they are running them for purely factional reasons. It doesn't destroy their vaue, but it does degrade them. And if we're to look at Paulson on Danailov and say well, that's just ammunition in a rather dirty election campaign, then we must surely say the same of Short, or Pein, on Paulson. Musn't we?
Meanwhile, what of Paulson on Danailov? I contacted Chessdom to ask them about it. They replied that they'd been hoping to balance it with Danailov's point of view, but that he was avoiding all questions.
As he is entitled to do, without our drawing adverse conclusions. But it's not a reason for ceasing to pursue the matter.
I'd like to see Part 2 of that interview. I'd like to see other parts of the chess media follow the story. And I'd most of all like to know. Did Danailov solicit a bribe for access to the office of the Mayor of Madrid? Has he done time in prison for theft of military equipment, or anything else?
I don't even necessarily care if he has. Better men than either of us have gone to prison. But it's not exactly irrelevant. Especially not from a man who compares himself to Gandhi. And it shouldn't be hidden with the help of chess publications which will complain all day about ethical violations on the part of Kirsan and his camp but have nothing to say when it's the friends of Garry Kasparov who stand accused.
[* It also doesn't seem to occur to Paulson that the bribery allegation reflects every bit as badly on him as it does on his opponent.]
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