Wilkinson bids for FIDE VP
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Ian Wilkinson, president of the Jamaica Chess Federation, is hoping to make history with his bid to become the country's first vice-president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), where he is slated as a running mate to former World Champion Garry Kasparov at the organisation's presidential elections today in Tromso, Norway.
"Mr Kasparov is of the view I bring charisma, dedication, energy, and passion to the game. He thinks I have a role to play in the development of chess worldwide," Wilkinson said.
His track record includes years of involvement with the game since 1999. Two years later, Wilkinson joined Jamaica's chess council and has served as president since 2003.
He notes that team Kasparov remains optimistic despite the challenges ahead.
"We have a chance, but it is difficult to say what will happen. We have already identified appropriate individuals to fill key positions, plus major sponsors are lined up to put serious money into chess," the candidate said.
It would appear that Jamaica is set for big things in the sport.
"We will launch the Jamaica Chess Hall of Fame at a major banquet set for The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in September 2016," Wilson noted. "Jamaica will host more international events, and we will establish Caribbean individual and team championships."
Wilkinson added that chess would be expanded islandwide; parish associations would be established; and significant injection of funding would also be made. He said that other game-changing developments would come on the local circuit if team Kasparov succeeds.
"We will improve the image of chess, offer financial assistance, coaching/training seminars, and put more equipment in Jamaica."
Wilkinson said one of their immediate goals is to stabilise the World Championship cycle and get significant corporate sponsorship to assist developing countries administratively.
Daren Wisdom, president of the Magnificent Chess Club, expressed support for Team Kasparov.
"We expect if and when he succeeds, Jamaica will receive more grants, funding, training, and opportunities for local players," Wisdom said. "We are in line to make a mark on the world stage now more than ever if President Wilkinson is elected vice-president of FIDE."