MANILA, Philippines – World Chess Federation (FIDE) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has invited National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) secretary general Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino to join his ticket during the FIDE elections scheduled August in Tromso, Norway.
In his second visit to Manila in less than two weeks, Ilyumzhinov made the invitation to Cavite Cong. Tolentino during a dinner meeting with the NCFP board led by president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. last week at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.
Seeking a sixth straight term as FIDE head, Ilyumzhinov formalized the offer in a letter he personally gave to Tolentino, who is also the Southeast Asian zone president of FIDE, before leaving the country last Saturday.
Asian Chess Federation deputy president Casto “Toti” Abundo liaised with the NCFP for the FIDE president.
Abundo, who was a trusted lieutenant of Florencio Campomanes during his term as FIDE president from 1982 to 1995, said Ilyumzhinov’s offer “shows his high regard for the Philippine contribution to worldwide chess development and the value of the country’s support of his candidacy.”
“Considering your activity and good results of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (in world chess)…I have the big pleasure of kindly asking you (Tolentino) to join my ticket as General Secretary at the upcoming elections that will be held in Tromso, Norway in August 2014,” Ilyumzhinov wrote.
“I am confident that our joint efforts and commitment will further promote development of this noble game,” he added.
Ilyumzhinov said he decided to make the offer to the Philippines in recognition of his late mentor and friend Campomanes.
It was Campomanes who handpicked the former president of the Republic of Kalmykia, then only 33, as his successor during the FIDE General Assembly held in Paris, France 19 years ago.
“Campomanes was like a second father to me and I believe that giving a seat in my presidential ticket will maintain his legacy and the great history of Philippine chess,” the FIDE president pointed out.
These sentiments were also contained in another letter Ilyumzhinov addressed to Pichay and the NCFP board.
“The support of the Philippines is very important to me for its historical perspective,” he wrote in asking the NCFP’s full backing of his reelection bid. Ilyumzhinov said he shall announce his ticket in May and asked the NCFP for their declaration by Wednesday, April 30.
For his part, Tolentino said “this invitation by Ilyumzhinov is a great honor for our country and a golden opportunity for promoting Philippine chess. Since the time of Campo (Campomanes’ nickname) we have not had any Filipino in the FIDE Presidential Board.”
As the president of the Southeast Asian zone, Tolentino noted “I believe that my fellow chess officials in the Southeast Asian region would be proud to have someone who can raise their concerns with the FIDE leadership.”