Wednesday 22th August, 2007

 

Jamaican lawyer sits on world match controversy

 
 
 
 
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IAN WILKINSON, president of the Jamaica Chess Federation.

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Ian Wilkinson, president of the Jamaica Chess Federation, is now in Athens, Greece, fufilling a landmark assignment as a member of the Ethics Commission of the world chess body FIDE. Wilkinson, who is also vice-president of the lawyers group of the Jamaican Bar Association, is serving on the Commission which is conducting public hearings into a number of matters, the most important of which is the controversy surrounding the 2006 World Chess Championship unification match between Vladmir Kramnik of Russia and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

The issue before the Commission arose from allegations made by Topalov that Kramnik was cheating during the games by using a computer programme. Topalov and his team became suspicious as a result of Kramnik’s frequent visit to the toilet during the match.

Kramnik, who vehemently denied the charges, eventually won the match which was followed by a global audience of millions of chess players.

The FIDE Ethics Commission investigating the case is chaired by Italian jurist Roberto Rivello.

Wilkinson’s appointment, a major accomplishment for Jamaica, was ratified by FIDE during its Congress in Turin, Italy, in June 2006. FIDE’s choice, however, is certainly not surprising having regard to Wilkinson’s expertise and experience in both the law and the sport of chess.

Indeed, “Wilky”, as his friends call him, has achieved immortaliy of sort by producing a comprehensive coverage of the 2002 Chess Olympiad in a 370-page volume entitled “Magnificence in Bled.” The volume is a product of his own particular erudition, both in the sport and the law, and may well remain a unique achievement in the annals of Caribbean chess.

In his foreword to the book, Dr Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum said that Wilkinson had undertaken “the gargantuan task of compiling the richness of the Olympiad experience in this handsome volume. A total of 330 games are featured with vivid analysis in an elegant but entertaining prose.”

Dr Kevin Brown, Jamaican national master, gives the reader a fascinating insight into the author’s romance with chess. In his introduction, Brown writes: “The remarkable aspect of Wilky’s association with chess is that he only learned to play the game just five years ago. He had recently bought a chess set for a little boy and felt it only fitting to understand the game when faced with the avalanche of questions from the enthusiastic youngster.

“Well the concepts and ideas of this most intriguing of games found fertile soil in Wilky’s curious and imaginative mind and led to the forging of an unswerving, passionate bond. Wilky sought and found voluminous information about chess, not just acquiring technical knowledge but also revelling in the history of the game, thereby cultivating a deep respect and admiration for the institution of chess as well as its many great practitioners and visionaries, past and present.”

However, Dr Brown recalled, Wilky had to sublimate his zeal as a player for the greater good of shepherding chess development in Jamaica.

“A brilliant lawyer by profession, he has demonstrated to his friends and acquaintances over and over again that he has the Midas touch. Projects and causes that he gets involved with hurtle towards success.

“Blessed with good judgment, superb organizational skills and admirable people skills, combined with an intense work ethic, he is renowned for getting the job done.

“Once he becme a member of the Jamaica Çhess Federation in 2002, these qualities became only too obvious to the executive. He was therefore named Captain of the Jamaica team to the Bled Olympiad in October 2002. This wonderful experience left an indelible imprint on Wilky and inspired him to produce this book.”

 

 

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