News & Reports Aug 11, 2014 | 12:43 PMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

Goody bag showdown

Ilyumzhinov's USB stick on a Kasparov campaign leaflet

The acrimonious FIDE election, with incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov facing former world champion Garry Kasparov for the presidency, has begun this morning. While both sides have had various election promotions in Tromsø, including newspapers, parties, speeches, and magicians, one of the interesting aspects of the campaign duel at the ground level is the Olympiad goody bag. Earlier in the event, after picking up his squad's allotment, USA Open team captain John Donaldson shared the contents of the Kirsan bag vs. the Kasparov bag with the Olympiad news team.

by GM Jonathan Tisdall

The assorted grab bag of gifts has become an Ilyumzhinov tradition over the years. The experienced US captain assessed the contest as fairly balanced, with likely a higher investment from the Kasparov camp.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov goody bag (canvas)

  • FIDE USB memory stick
  • pen
  • travel alarm clock
  • a T-shirt
  • booklet about KI (not the comic book about KI from earlier years)
  • a calendar featuring the current FIDE President 

Garry Kasparov goody bag (cloth)

  • a T-shirt
  • one volume of My Great Predecessors in English or Spanish

Both sides had their own T-shirts, but Kasparov's stylised image definitely seemed to become more omnipresent among the players | photo: David Llada

As Donaldson pointed out, by varied selection of the Kasparov book a team could acquire the entire set of volumes via goody bag, making this quite an attractive gift. On the other hand, the Ilyumzhinov bag included an assortment of useful items, and the memory stick is a practical nod to changing times.

Players can have Kirsan Ilyumzhinov staring at them all year round

Even non-players found it hard to avoid receiving small gifts when they entered the Expo area:

Today the more serious task of voting for the FIDE presidency begins.

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