[Home]Ould, Francis Xavier

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The current chairman of the IMCS, it was something of a surprise when he was nominated for the job in 1997, notwithstanding the precedent set by Mrs Trellis: for, Trellis apart, the general tendency of the IMCS is to have its senior positions filled mainly by political time-servers, with famous former players usually only in honorary roles as "goodwill ambassadors" for the game. As a player, Ould was considered a very fine player in his day: although with only one World Championship to his credit (in 1990, shortly before his retirement from tournament play), he has won many lesser tournaments, with match victories over all the top players of the past half-century to his credit. He is the first player to calculate the true purpose in the game of what is now called Ould's Inclination, and invented the principle of diagonal shunts that depend on it, which are now known as Ould's Diagonal Shunt. He is also regarded as the leading expert in use of the five-pronged fFlanger - a matter in which he still retains his formidable expertise and is not afraid to put it to use, even outside the game itself.

During all that time, he seldom gave any indication that he was interested in the politics of MC - if anything, he was believed to have sympathies with CAMREC rather than the IMCS: all of which made it much more of a surprise when he was nominated for the top job, and yet more when he was elected. Nevertheless, in the years since he became chairman, things have actually started to happen in the world of MC: a new rapprochement with the leaders of CAMREC's political wing seems to have begun, culminating in the release of the Holland Park 2000 ruleset, the first truly official and accepted one since Chalk Farm '84, and more importantly he seems to have managed the negotiations without alienating too many of his own backbenchers, and is genuinely liked by both sides.

It would be churlish in the extreme to suggest that his former alleged CAMREC sympathies were not, in fact, an early attempt to bridge the political divide, but as a member of the IMCS's alleged secret "fifth column" of infiltrators, whose existence nobody has yet proved: it would be positively insulting to suggest that the surprising last-minute CAMREC climbdown that made HP2000 possible (made by an organisation not known for backing down) came about as a result of blackmail, from knowledge gained as a "fifth column" member, rather than being purely due to Ould's superb diplomatic skills and ability to persuade people to find an acceptable compromise: and it would be downright libellous to suggest that the total silence of CAMREC's militant wing since Mornington Crescent reopened in 1998 might be because Ould knows where the real Ruttsborough is buried.


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Edited September 30, 2004 11:04 pm by Rab (diff)