I am reliably informed that Grandmaster Stuart Conquest, one of the most popular figures in British chess, has expressed an interest in becoming the new President of the Egregious Chess Federation. I have no idea what could have prompted this outburst of masochism on Stuart's part, but he would be the perfect President. It seems to me that when the dust and smoke has cleared, the most damaging and long-lasting legacy of the Dear Leader's reign is likely to be the manner in which he has widened the split between the top English players (almost all of whom supported de Mooi, for the very good reason that he put money in their pockets) and the so-called "grass roots", the ordinary club players, most of whom resent having to fund professional chess. Stuart would be the ideal person to heal that division, as he is himself a top player (British Champion in 2008, for example), but at the same time, very approachable and personable with ordinary chess fans.
Given that the other choice for President is that well-known serial alumnus, Roger J Edwards, a man who was recently described to me by one leading English GM as "the one who wants to abolish international chess" (he doesn't, of course, but that is apparently how he is perceived by the GMs), it would seem self-evident that Stuart is the better choice. Edwards would, I fear, perpetuate the divide between the rating haves and have-nots of English chess, whereas Stuart would have an excellent chance of healing the division.
In fact,choosing Stuart is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, no brains is exactly the chief characteristic of the body that has to choose, namely the ECF Council. And herein lies the real trouble. Insofar as I understand the machinations of the ECF's Byzantine constitution, the deadline for nominations for this year's AGM has already passed, so a modicum of constitutional creativity may be needed to get Stuart up to the starting gate.
It goes without saying that only a bunch of idiots would allow such a heaven-sent candidate to slip through their fingers, merely because of bureaucratic hurdles. On the other hand, as E L Mencken didn't quite say, "nobody ever went broke through under-estimating the intelligence of the ECF".
Watch this space.