To start with, it appears not on the ECF website, but on his personal blog. But that is a minor matter. The most remarkable part is the preamble. Having claimed that he welcomes any challenge, he then adds that
I’m hoping to be allowed to continue as I currently have a lot lined up for the 100th British Chess Championships next year and I feel it would be a great shame if this historic event was not as spectacular as it could be.
Already perhaps, a jarring note - "elect me or I will make sure the 100th British is not as good as it would have been without me". But perhaps he isn't really threatening the English chess community - just clumsy wording? We'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one and move on.
But then he ups the ante:
However, I’ve faced a lot of criticism and attacks over the past year (although as many people have pointed out, no actual proof of any wrongdoing or intent has ever been provided) and I have remained resolutely silent. I made an error of judgement for which I apologised for (sic) but the behaviour I have been faced with has been scurrilous, offensive, accusatory and at times even worthy of police complaint.
"Worthy of police complaint"? The only thing of that nature that I am aware of were the accusations, made in the national press, that British Championship arbiters were homophobic. These are the accusations which the Press Complaints Commission subsequently found to be an accurate report by the Sunday Times, of the substance of what the Dear Leader himself told their reporter, even if he had not used the actual word "homophobic".
But then comes the really good bit. De Mooi goes on to say the following:
I feel I will have to address these points publicly and have a file of written evidence which although I am loathe (sic) to make public, I feel I am left with little choice. It is very sad when hard working volunteers are not allowed to continue with their work due to a vocal minority. Both parties may consider themselves to have been wronged and have a case but I was willing to hold up my hands and move on. I cannot tolerate what is seen to be bullying, very offensive language and threats and unfortunately if it has to be a public legal matter, so be it. I will never be afraid to fight for what I believe to be right.
Hmmm. Even under the arcane ECF constitution, I am not sure how "a vocal minority" of people can prevent an official continuing with their work. If the Dear Leader is prevented from continuing his work as President after October, it will be because a majority, vocal or otherwise, of Council have voted against him. Last time I checked the dictionary, that was called democracy.
And as for being ready to "hold up my hands and move on", only a few months ago, an ECF non-executive director made a determined effort to bring together de Mooi and his henchman, "Odious" Adam Raoof, on the one hand, and Alex and Lara on the other, for a face-to-face, clear the air meeting. Alex and Lara agreed. de Mooi and Raoof both imposed a totally unreasonable pre-condition (the identical one, incidentally), which led to the meeting never taking place, and Raoof later admitted he had never had any intention of attending such a meeting.
But the Dear Leader has not finished yet. Hell hath no fury like a Z-list celebrity scorned, it seems. He goes on to issue still more dire threats:
I am so sad it has come to this but I have been abused long enough. While I may be constrained by confidentiality in my post, if I choose to leave or am voted out, I will be able to bow to public pressure and reveal everything that has really happened, along with corroborating written evidence.
This must surely be the finest piece of electioneering ever. Put in plain language, it reads "Either re-elect me, or I will publicly trash the reputation of your game, by revealing all manner of confidential matters". It sounds like an offer we can't refuse. And this is one CJ promise that we can take seriously - as he showed in the hours immediately after T-Shirtgate, he is nothing if not skilled at whipping up press campaigns.
The other thing which struck me about this paragraph was his novel interpretation of the duties of Board confidentiality. Apparently, once out of office, he considers himself free to reveal confidential information, acquired whilst he was in office! I can't think why David Shayler didn't try that argument. No doubt the ECF's pro bono legal adviser will be considering the matter as we speak...
"Some people make you an offer you can't refuse. Get over it!" (picture: weeklydrop.com)
After this squalid attempt at blackmail, he then goes on to reveal his true lack of self-awareness, by ending his preamble with the breathtaking claim:
I feel I am the best person to lead the English Chess Federation and it is for the sake of the game I and so many people love that I am prepared to sacrifice my time, money and energy. I was elected to be completely open and transparent and from now on, I will be just that.
If he is the best person to lead English chess, God help us! And the last sentence appears to admit that he has not been open and transparent thus far...
All in all, it is the most astounding electoral communication I have ever seen. As one well-known figure in British chess commented to me in an e-mail yesterday, "In any normal democratic process, you'd have to say his statement was, at the very least, electoral suicide...But in the mad, amoral world of chess you can never be sure!"
Indeed you can't, although on this occasion, my sources suggest that support for the man is draining away very rapidly, even among his fellow Board members. Indeed, one of the strange things about the timing of his publishing the above tantrum is that he also appears to be preparing the ground for a face-saving withdrawal from the election itself! Informed sources tell me that he has recently been sounding out the level of support (or otherwise) that he can expect, and that he may well pull out of the election, if he thinks he cannot win.
In addition, his blog and Twitter posts have recently been boasting about new acting roles. On August 29, he tweeted that
"Good news - I'm employed until July 2013. Bad news - no time for anything else. Do I give up stuff I care about to concentrate on my career?"
And then yesterday, he added another Tweet:
"Wow! I've just been offered a fantastic 6 month job abroad in 2013! If I take it, I'll have to give up everything I do in the UK. Dilemma!"
It is hard to reconcile these tweets with his claim that he wants to go on and lead British chess for another year, so one assumes that he is preparing the way for a face-saving withdrawal. If so, will he then implement his dire threats and spill the beans about the inside dealings at the Egregious lot? And will he really turn to M'learned friends, as hinted at in his references to "a public legal document"? It remains to be seen, but as David Robertson put it on the Forum, "batten down the hatches for a bumpy ride". Another English chess observer pointed out that de Mooi claims to be an actor and "actors like to make grand exits!".
Indeed, the blog heading where his latest rant appears has a masthead which reads "I am an actor. Apparently". Of that, I fear there can be little doubt.