Leaked Contract Between Kasparov and Leong: Transparency vs. Ethics

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 25-01-14 02:53.

Earlier this week a draft of a contract between Garry Kasparov and Ignatius Leong was leaked to chess media which raises ethical questions but also calls for more transparency in chess politics. Kasparov and Leong made a deal in August 2013 for the Asian region: Leong would help getting Kasparov "10+1" votes in return for large sums of money. Meanwhile, the Kasparov team has put the final version of the contract on its campaign website, stressing the importance of transparency.

Exactly one week ago an email from a "Bill Warth" was sent to several chess journalists which had "THE HUGE DEAL BETWEEN KASPAROV AND LEONG" in the subject field. Attached was a PDF document (for download here) which seemed to be a contract between Kasparov and Leong:

Through this Agreement the Parties join together in order to achieve their goal of having a real change in FIDE and the Chess World. “GK has declared his intention to run for the office of FIDE President and IL has agreed to take the position as General Secretary in the Kasparov Team. IL shall assist GK and his team at all possible levels in the preparation, planning and execution of the election campaign.”

Here are key points of the agreement:

  • IL will actively work in the election campaign in close cooperation with GK and his team. He will be responsible for delivering 10 + 1 vote from his region, with the effort to deliver 15 votes (not counting China).
  • IL will receive a total amount of $ 500 000 to be paid in agreed tranches between the signing of this Agreement and 1 month before the opening of the FIDE General Assembly in August 2014.
  • After the election of GK as FIDE President and IL as FIDE General Secretary in August 2014, FIDE will establish a new FIDE office in Singapore headed by IL. The main function of this office will be to administer and overlook all the FIDE Commissions and their work. For this work IL shall receive an agreed upon stipend.
  • GK has agreed to open an Academy in Singapore (Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia) in cooperation with ACA. The anticipated opening will take place in November 2013. ACA will organize this event and secure 5 + 1 endorsements (signed proxies) for GKs candidacy for FIDE Presidency.
  • The Parties have agreed to sign a separate agreement between KCF Asia and ACA. As part of this Agreement, KCF Asia will allocate $ 250 000 for each of the four (4) years commencing in 2013. KCF Asia will allocate these funds in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The first instalment, in the amount of $250 000, will be made by November 10, 2013. The second instalment, in the amount of $250 000, will occur by July 10, 2014.
  • Installments for 2015 and 2016 will be agreed upon at a later date by the Parties and are contingent upon the outcome of the 2014 FIDE elections. Should GK not be elected President of FIDE in the 2014 elections, KCF Asia is under no obligation to allocate funds to ACA for the years of 2015 and 2016, and may not be held liable for any unallocated funds for the 2015 and 2016 years.

The body of the email of this Mr Warth (who did not reply to an email) summarizes the contract, and strongly criticized the deal between Kasparov and Leong: “The national federations become a merchandise...”, “it is clear that Ignatius Leong is shamelessly using a shareholders for-profit company (ACA) to profit from an election deal within FIDE.”, “It is shameful that people from national chess federations of Asia are traded for hundreds thousands of dollars by Ignatius Leong and Garry Kasparov.”

Andrew Paulson
Interestingly, a day later the same email and PDF document was also sent to chess journalists by Andrew Paulson, the new President of the English Chess Federation and owner of AGON, which still holds the rights to organize FIDE events. Paulson, who has expressed interest in running for FIDE President himself but hasn't announced anything officially, commented:

“It has been rumoured that this document was going to be released for some time and it has finally today found its way to the internet. I don't know the exact provenance other than it is supposedly the work of Morton Sand (we'll see in the coming days if this is disputed) of the Norwegian Chess Federation who is the legal advisor to Garry Kasparov's FIDE Presidential Campaign. The overheated English prose of the commentator (in green) summarizes how much Kasparov will pay Ignatius Leong for delivering votes of the federations in his region into Kasparov's camp. In the past, one can assume that Leong did exactly the same thing for Kirsan; now Kasparov outbid Kirsan and bought him away. The compensation is a blend of guaranteed fees and success fees. It is important to note that although this document is not signed, the precondition for the terms outlined (Leong's defection to Kasparov's camp) was effected in the weeks immediately following its drafting. This document is only shocking for those who thought that Garry was in some way better than Kirsan ... and for those who feel that using the Kasparov Chess Foundation as a paying agent for buying votes is improper.”

Contract leaked
The Kasparov team initially refrained to comment, but on Monday the Norwegian lawyer Morten Sand, who is also part of the organizing committee of the Tromsø Olympiad, came with a statement (in Word here). Sand, who was the one who had drafted the contract, started by suggesting that the contract was leaked by someone who had access to Ignatius Leong's email account:

“I was asked to draft an Agreement between Garry and Ignatius based on information given to me regarding their future cooperation. On the opening day of the 2013 FIDE World Cup in Tromsø [10 August 2013 - PD], Ignatius and I understood that high FIDE officials possibly had access to the draft Agreement now circulated. I sent it to Ignatius in July, using his FIDE email account. The only way to get possession of this draft is through the administrator of the mail account in FIDE. There can only be political reasons for why this is now made public in such a way.”

On Thursday an ‘announcement’ appeared on the FIDE website written by FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman, which addresses this issue:

“After the article of the New York Times, concerning ethical questions regarding the contract between Gary Kasparov and Ignatius Leong, it came to our attention a statement by Morten Sand, the lawyer assisting Garry Kasparov's campaign, that a leaked contract between Gary Kasparov and Ignatius Leong was possible "through the administrator of the mail account in FIDE".

The above statement of Morten Sand is entirely false.

It is obvious that there is an attempt to drive the discussion away from the substance of this issue, i.e. whether such contracts are ethical or not. For the leaking of confidential documents, Garry Kasparov's team should perhaps look amongst themselves.”

On Twitter Mig Greengard, spokesperson for Garry Kasparov, reacted to this statement:


Ilyumzhinov: Ignatius, please resign
Meanwhile, FIDE President Kirsan Ilymuzhinov also came with a statement on the FIDE website on Thursday. Mentioning a report by the New York Times posted on Tuesday about the leaked contract, Ilyumzhinov asks Leong to resign:

“After the recent article of New York Times concerning your contract with Garry Kasparov, and the fact that Morten Sand has confirmed its authenticity, there is a serious ethical issue for FIDE and your position as General Secretary, which is damaging the image of our organisation.

In order to avoid further damage, I am asking you to resign from the position of FIDE General Secretary.”

Ilyumzhinov still supported Leong in Tallinn, Estonia at the Executive Board meeting in October 2013. A day after Kasparov announced his team, a number of FIDE Board Members asked for Leong's resignation, but back then Ilyumzhinov didn't see a reason why he couldn't continue working for him.

No personal money
Back to Morten Sand's statement of Monday, which also emphasized that there was no personal money involved:

“The final version of the Agreement was later signed on September 5th. By the time of the signing, the Parties had agreed that all financial support was given with the explicit purpose of chess development and programs. No money was going to individuals. On October 31st  the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) made an Agreement with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia Pacific (KCFAP), listing how and for what purpose any transferred money could distributed and spent.

By examining these documents, it is clear that no money can or will be allocated to individuals for personal use.” [Bold by Sand - PD]

Documents published
Six days after the draft was leaked, the Kasparov team posted the final version (here in PDFon its campaign website along with a separate document (here in PDF) that describes an agreement between the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the newly founded Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia Pacific to grant $500,000 for “promoting and encouraging the study and play of chess in East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region, as a means of intellectual development.”

There are some differences between the leaked (stolen?) draft and the final contract between Kasparov and Leong. The latter's responsibility to “deliver” 10+1 votes from his region is still there, but the following sentence was added:

“Support from each of these above mentioned federations must materialize in the form of a written and signed statement and/or irrevocable Proxy, before the last tranche of payment takes place.”

The final contract still mentions that “IL will receive a total amount of $ 500 000 to be paid in agreed tranches between the signing of this Agreement and 1 month before the opening of the FIDE General Assembly in August 2014” but adds “as described in 4.1”, which makes it clear that the amount is not intended for Leong personally, but that it entails the agreement between the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the newly founded Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia Pacific.

The final contract also includes:

“If IL has the opportunity to deliver more federations in addition to the agreed 15, on terms as stated above, the Parties will negotiate the financial terms separately and in good faith.”

Asked why it took six days to come with the original contract, Mig Greengard sent this statement:

A campaign and, more specifically, a non-profit organization like KCF, has responsibility to its board, donors, and the signatory organizations. That is, before you make public an agreement presumed private you must notify the relevant parties on both sides. This isn’t only a courtesy, it’s an obligation, both ethical and in some places, legal.

As for rushing out a documents and statements by Morten or Garry or anyone this week, the campaign isn’t going to disrupt its many activities to meet every slander and trick from Ilyumzhinov’s gang or we’d never get anything done. We’ve seen all this garbage before, 19 years of it to be exact. The Kasparov Team wants to promote chess, promote the campaign, and stick to our positive agenda of bringing sponsorship and reform to the chess world. Spending our time responding to hysterical accusations is exactly what Kirsan’s gang hopes we for. We will continue to speak directly with the federations and answer any questions they may have, of course.

We know the old saying, “never wrestle with a pig because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.” It’s time to get out of the mud and organize and unite to bring new ideas, new players, and new revenue into chess. It’s time to stop taking from the federations and start listening to them and helping them. If Ilyumzhinov’s FIDE spent half the time it spends on these games to stay in power on promoting chess instead, FIDE and the chess world wouldn’t be in such a mess.

By posting the contracts online, the Kasparov team advocates transparency. The accompanying text on the campaign website, by Morten Sand, reads: 

“This is an historic day, as for the first time in 20 years of FIDE elections a campaign team is following the principle of transparency by making public two contracts.”

Nonetheless, for many the deal between Kasparov and Leong will raise ethical concerns. At a press conference in Wijk aan Zee, Kasparov will answer questions today.

Meanwhile, it's not easy to learn more about Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's campaign budget and funds. Nigel Freeman, who is both FIDE's Executive Director Treasurer, said he is “not involved in the campaign”. Berik Balgabaev, who is Ilyumzhinov's personal assistant, did not respond to inquiries.

16332 x gelezen 47 reacties
5 stemmen


  • 14 maanden geleden


    Umm, Sand sent the email with PDF of draft contract to leong@fide.com ?? That's almost as bad as Marzolo using the FFE VP's phone in the Feller cheating.

  • 23 maanden geleden


    It amuses me that the Russian GOrynich describes the "I was abducted by aliens" Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, as "successful". Successful at getting away with public irrationality (and making billions along the way) while claiming to represent all chess players. How ironic that such irrationality is the one thing a chess player can't afford in order to be successful at chess. But there is Kirsan, murdering dissenters, while reminding us of the fairness of his actions, bereft of all but the most tortured plausible deniability. We have irrational truth denying American too. One, a long time, and powerful member of congress, named James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) consistently declares climate change as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people". See? Americans and Russians are equally peopled by those who would find rationality in whatever suits their own personal interests. OBTW, Inhofe is the single largest recipient of corporate money from the energy sector in all of American politics. Maybe I could accept Kirsan if we could jettison the soulless, lying corporate lackeys, Inhofe, Clarence Thomas, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Antonin Scalia. Truth is truth, and you can't change it no matter how much you believe in your imaginary friends. No matter how much money you think it would take to make it all better.

  • 3 jaar geleden



    As having Russian flag, I am definitely much more into it, regardless of how you consider it, whether it is being more informed or more pre-biased. :)

    First, every populist in a world suggests to build "much better world without bullshit right now", it is like a universal formula of populism, and the difference from a realism is usually in a lack of description of by what means this world is to be build, with what price tag on, and who of the currently living is going to be allowed to live in this heaven.

    Kasparov is a classic example - he is a notorous critic, always very unhappy of how things are being done and who is doing them. But after him spending a decade in politics, noone has a slightest idea of how his perfect world looks like and what does it take to get there. It seems, there is no possible reality and no real people that would completely satisfy him as they are. Kasparov is not even a populist (as he rarely speaks about better world), but he is the least practical variation of it - negativist, the person, who bases his politics on polluting the reality.

    Expectedly, the overall result of such a political approach is quite poor. Despite a great respect, earned by being an amazing chessplayer, Kasparov stimulated the repulsion not just by average Russian "Joe-the-plumers", but even by his colleagues on opposition. It is hard to name a politically significant person in Russia who could truly say "I am proud to be with Kasparov", as no one wants to get pieces of the dirt, Kasparov has collected, to get stuck on their political suits.

    For me, it is sad, as I love that part of Kasparov's personality that represents independent thinker and charismatic person, but as politician he is... done. He marginalized himself so far that there is noone around him anymore.

    It is also sad for a chess federation, as I would love to have a feasible alternative to Ilumzinov. But Ilumzinov is a person of deals, agreements and compromises, and Kasparov - not.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    at G0rynich

    Since you have the Russian flag, and maybe you are more informed than the common public here in chess.com

    Kasparov said that he left chess for improving the life in Russia, and replacing the corruption and other bad things, with a new society, where his children would be happy to live.

    It seems to me, that all his efforts were useless, and that now he is returning to chess, because he totally failed politically. Could you comment on that?

  • 3 jaar geleden



    Illyumzhinov is a murderer. Kasparov is many things, but not that"

    I love that this is our main criteria now - whom do we call "a murderer" and whom do we not. Needless to say, there are no "proven" murders on Ilyumzhinov, and there are not really many "dark pages" is his past, as compared to many other Russian businessmen. There was one controversial story with "opposing journalist getting murdered", but as usual in Russia, it is more a belief of oppisition rather than a fact.

    As about Kasparov, he is a notorous supporter of a "Revolution against the tyranny" in Russia, and, as you know, there are no Revolutions without blood. MASSIVE BLOOD. We can see that well on Ukrainian example.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Illyumzhinov is a murderer. Kasparov is many things, but not that. That's all you need to know. Let's get rid of this tyrant, Illyumzhinov.

  • 3 jaar geleden



    @isauro: you are spot on mate


    He is spot on, corruption is terrible and Kasparov isn't intending on winning without it alltogether.

    Because he can't.

    But what is his (or your) viable alternative to suffering Kirsan at the head of FIDE? The idea of making chess.com head of the chess world is about as credible as replacing commercial aviation with teleportation cells.

    This is why I think isaro is being a cynic. Intelligent enough to see the world is an apple with rotten patches, but not wise enough to advocate anything but starvation. We all have to eat and the world has to (and will) go round.

    Now it would be easy to say I'm promoting corruption, but I'm not. I'm merely saying we should fight it while moving forward. And we should also be realistic - it's never going to dissapear just like that, progress will be gradual (and in general, depends on more than just who is or isn't the head of FIDE). 

    But as far as FIDE is concerned, right now, moving forward means (in my view) Kasparov. Isaro's insistence that similarities between Kasparov's and Kirsan's methods make them equal in all respects is illogical and disproven by history, where many men and women who gained power in equal ways behaved completely different when they got to that position.

    Since this is a binary issue (it's either Kirsan or Kasparov), I'm also very curious on why you prefer Kirsan over Kasparov. Because you have to choose either one, or abstain.

    And abstention "because they're all equally rotten", well that's where the 'cynical' comes in.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I thought I saw a video attached to the article yesterday, but it was too late to watch it then.  Where has it gone by now?

  • 3 jaar geleden


    @isauro: you are spot on mate

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Well, isauro, I'm not failing to see that the buying of votes is a problem. But you're only looking at it from one side.

    The real problem is that each country on earth (regardless of size) has an equal vote, and that many national federations are poor and easy to bribe. This is the reason Kirsan has been able to stay in power, obviously.

    If you'd ask these countries if they would prefer Chess.com to be the new FIDE over the organization that's bribing them.. I think you'd catch my drift.

    While I don't aprove of buying votes, It's also very clear to me that Kasparov can not win this election by virtue of being a more sensible/better candidate. If that had been the case, Karpov would have been FIDE president by now.

    It's also clear that, no matter what money Kasparov puts on the table, he is not personally able to outbid Kirsan, who is a billionaire. If he wouldn't be Kasparov, I think there'd be simply no chance for him to win, because he needs the PR factor. It's also this factor that would make him a much much better head of FIDE than the alien-abducted monarch Kirsan.

    A new FIDE isn't going to solve our problems, we have seen that firsthand with the PCA (which, yes, was headed by kasparov and which he dubbed the greatest mistake of his career). Now before you pounce on this like a leopard that's had too much coffee, I know this is a failure involving Kasparov. But at least he had the backing of the genuine world champions then, and he tried doing it without playing ball in the FIDE Game of Bribery. And it was terrible.

    In my view, there is a huge difference between Kirsan buying votes and Kasparov buying votes. It's in the words 'Kirsan' and 'Kasparov'.

    While it is repulsive that it has to be this way, I'm willing to accept the reality. The thought of remaining stuck with Kirsan depresses me like no other.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Whatever, but Ilyumzhinov must go!

  • 3 jaar geleden


    "I was always saying - I love Kasparov as a chessplayer... But God save us from Kasparov-politician"

    Yeahhhhhh! exactly!!

  • 3 jaar geleden



    I would vote for you if you give me 50K, but guess what, you are not giving me that money why? (BTW, also my bank refused to give me that money without having something in return... it seems a pattern)

    Instead of parading out beautiful word like cynical, why you don't explain what is the difference between Kirsan paying for getting votes, and Kasparov paying for getting votes.

    Because honestly I don't see the difference.

    Now instead of cynical, learn the word "hypocrite" it surely fits Kasparov.

    But feel free to provide a "real" explanation of why Kasparov is taking out of his pocket half a million dollar to bribe voters, and make it look good.

    Then there is a problem, that you fail to see, if Kasparov, to make progress within FIDE, and make changes, needs everytime to pay 50K for every vote, I doubt something will be changed. Instead the idea here is different. Kasparov pays, if he gets elected he gets the money back, the other who are electing him will also get a share of the new piece of cake.

    But in all this I don't see anything which will improve the chess world.

    Want to really improve it? Make Chess.com the new FIDE, adopt a anti cheating software, and play tournaments online for money, quite simple.

    And we just pay chess.com a yearly fee like for FIDE, and get a real service back (because the guys at chess.com are working hard to make me play, FIDE doesn't, and Kasparov even failed his internet online enterprise, showing you that you are voting for a loser)

  • 3 jaar geleden


    They should play a game of chess to determine the winner. 


  • 3 jaar geleden


    ohh ;)

  • 3 jaar geleden



    By that logic, there's no reason to vote for anyone and the best we could all do is to retreat in our little cynic corner and not give a d4mn.

    I think most grown ups, even kids, realize that quite often people are not just driven by ideals, but also because there's something in it for them. As long as the balance is reasonable, there's no problem there.

    I'd like to think that Kasparov cares for the chess world more than Kirsan, or at least in a more mature way. I think he has the credentials. His opponent in either case has a terrible resume running FIDE and compared to Kasparov he is a nobody in the eyes of the general public.

    Kasparov at the head of FIDE may not be the very best situation one could imagine, but I think you'd have to be exceedingly cynical to believe no progress could or would be made.

    I'd vote Kasparov 10 times out of 10.  

  • 3 jaar geleden


    To the naive writing here that don't understand why one wants the FIDE presidency.

    It is not for improving chess, since Kasparov surely has failed with his GM organization, and doesn't care about it now.


    How much money FIDE takes from a world championship?

    They don't have to play, they are not the best in the world, but they get GOOD PART OF THE CAKE.

    The same with the 1 million dollar tournament organized by GM Ashley, he will make 2 millions out of it.

    The same for Kasparov, he cannot pay some people half a million dollar just for fun or charity, he pays them, because he thinks he is going to gain back 10 times as much.

    But don't believe me, let's make the test, from tomorrow the FIDE membership is free, and all the tournament in the world are with no money prizes at all, and let's see if Kasparov takes out half a million dollar to become FIDE president.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    "Whoever becomes the next president of FIDE, Kasparov or not, what are they going to be able to do when it comes to taking the game of chess forward?"

    I can imagine that someone like Kasparov might be more popular among sponsors. Kirsan has tried for 20 years by having the citizens of Kalmykia pay for his megalomaniac ideas like Chess City. While Kasparov is known for his chess, Kirsan is only known for mismanaging FIDE for decades, with knockout World Championships and VP's like Azmaiparashvili (who has been fistfighting with police and promised that Topalov would beat Kramnik in 2006).

    No serious sponsor wants to do business with someone like Kirsan, since he has shown for decades what that leads to. The previous Grand Prix cycle he suddenly decided to make pointless by changing the rules of it after it had started. Naturally the sponsors lost interest after their tournaments were degraded and Carlsen withdrew because of this. Aronian kept playing, won all his qualification events, and still got nothing more out of that than if he hadn't played at all, since Kirsan had decided that players that didn't want to participate in the qualification had to be given free spots after demanding them.

    Now AGON was contracted by FIDE to arrange the World Championship cycle, but that has already failed. AGON's Paulson doesn't even hide that he thinks Kirsan is corrupt in spite of working with him, as the quotes from the article above shows. The upcoming cycle is already rumoured to be in danger since there are no sponsors. If Kasparov is much better or not is one thing, but it could hardly get worse than with Kirsan.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I still dont really understand a few points to the FIDE presidency.

    1. Whoever becomes the next president of FIDE, Kasparov or not, what are they going to be able to do when it comes to taking the game of chess forward? Sure, few more tournaments, but will that make chess any bigger? I'd have thought that corporate sponsorship, huge financial investment and potential for more prize money will be the only things that have a say around the table....

    2. Who says FIDE has to be the "all seeing eye" of chess anyway? If people dont like the way FIDE is handling chess at the moment, they should set up their own organisation and provide their vision for chess. Turns out it has revolutionised sports around the world. Someone has to just make the break from FIDE cleanly and set it all up. Give me a bit of money and a laptop and i'd give it a go.

    Maybe I'm missing things here as i dont understand the bigger picture, but i've been following this pollitics for a while and I seems pretty obvious to me what needs to be done.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Kasparov is going to be a hundred times better than Kirsan, but he may still not be perfect.

    To me, all this commotion is reminiscent of the last USA election with the super PAC's and their dirty mud throwing commercials. It's a disgusting invention pushed mostly by one side, but as long as it is in place you have to play ball.

    You're never going to change the rules of the game untill you are in power. 

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