Dear President Nazarbayev,
I have just returned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Monaco, which reinforced my belief that Almaty is trailing in its race against Beijing for the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With candidature files due to be submitted next month and the final vote by IOC members scheduled for July 31 in Kuala Lumpur, time is short to make up the deficit.
Perhaps this doesn't concern you unduly.
After all, with Kazakhstan due to host both a Winter Universiade and an international Expo in 2017, your country will have other opportunities to place itself in the international spotlight.
And with the recent buffeting received by the oil price, plus attendant political uncertainties, you may feel you have other priorities.
But given the series of withdrawals by other bidders, prospective and actual, and the perceived shortcomings of your only rival's plan, it would seem a pity if Almaty did not do its utmost to capitalise on the opportunity that has somewhat unexpectedly presented itself.
I am not sure that you have had the experience of fighting a campaign while behind in the polls.
Electoral candidates in this sort of position in liberal western democracies tend to have little to lose by taking risks: if they can catch the eye, they might build some much-needed momentum; if the gambit fails, they are no worse off than when they started.
With the possibility of a clash between the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the Winter Olympics in January or February, I think that Almaty should be giving careful consideration to announcing that it is ready, if the IOC judges it desirable, to let the Olympics stretch - for the first time ever - into March.
While I don't know the areas where the Games would take place, others who do, along with relevant temperature/precipitation charts, suggest that the climate could accommodate such an initiative.
The gesture might well be rendered redundant; it remains hazardous in the extreme to predict what dates for the Gulf's first World Cup FIFA will eventually settle on.
In the meantime, though, it would get the sports world focusing on Almaty's bid much more closely than has so far been the case, while at the same time demonstrating to the IOC both that Kazakhstan will do its utmost to be helpful and that bid leaders are attuned to the cut and thrust of international sports politics.
If FIFA did plump for a January/February tournament, then such a sequence, with one sporting mega-event following hard on the heels of another, would still be far from ideal.
The World Cup would probably coincide, in such circumstances, with the Olympic torch relay's passage through Kazakhstan - a territory so vast, as you recently put it, that it would "tire the wings of a bird to fly over it".
But it would be much better than an out-and-out clash - particularly for the IOC and winter sports federations (IFs).
Such an offer by Almaty might be greeted with reservations by the Winter Paralympic sports community, who may have concerns that an Olympic Games lasting into March might, in turn, push the Paralympics into an impractically late time-slot.
This too though could, I think, be turned to Almaty's advantage via a plan for much closer coordination of Olympic and Paralympic events.
Some Paralympic disciplines could actually be incorporated into the Olympic programme, while the remainder could be staged the following week.
Such a proposal would, once again, get people talking about Almaty and, if accepted, could justifiably be described as historic.
I don't want to mislead you: however brilliantly your bid leaders perform between now and July 31, it will be tough to triumph from the position in which I think Almaty now stands, not least because your remaining opponent is capital of the world's most populous, and one of its most powerful, countries - a city that, if it wins, would become the first in history to host both Summer and Winter Games.
But the task is not yet impossible: a bold, well-conceived and proactive strategy might yet put Kazakhstan's biggest city on The Bright Road to Olympic victory.
David Owen worked for 20 years for the Financial Times in the United States, Canada, France and the UK. He ended his FT career as sports editor after the 2006 World Cup and is now freelancing, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Cup and London 2012. Owen's Twitter feed can be accessed here.