Chennai, August 3: Acting President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), Arkady Dvorkovich, appears headed for victory in the upcoming elections here, delegates and officials said. Even a former rival now speaks out in favor of Dvorkovich. However, these views should not be taken at face value. Rival camp members point out that the votes Dvorkovich expects could fail to materialize in the elections. The things that speak strongly against Dvorkovich in the election are – that he is Russian, that he is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Russia’s military action against Ukraine earlier this year. FIDE faces “Back Rank Mate” and has to pay back huge sums for canceling sponsors.
“The current President (Dvorkovich) is easily re-elected. The majority of chess federations in Europe and the US will vote for him,” Georgios Makropoulos, who unsuccessfully faced Dvorkovich in 2018, told IANS. This time, Makropoulos from Greece is trying to make a comeback in FIDE by running for the Vice President post. “For me, FIDE is important and not the post of President. I will help FIDE,” he added.
“At the geopolitical level, Europe and the US have taken serious measures against Russia. But in the FIDE elections, the European and US federations could vote for Dvorkovich,” a delegate from a European nation told IANS, preferring anonymity. His rivals agree that FIDE has done a good job for the game under Dvorkovich, adding that much more could be done with a non-Russian at the helm now. FIDE under Dvorkovich has increased its budget, reduced fees from national chess federations and gained new sponsors.
“For the past four years, Dvorkovich has promoted chess through social activities such as chess in prison, chess to support children with autism, and chess in schools by teaching chess to teachers who would in turn train students. And also some other things that It’s never happened under Dvorkovich in the past to get Russian companies as sponsors,” a FIDE official, who asked not to be named, told IANS. According to him, FIDE has also given financial support to spread the sport on a large scale in some continents.
Aside from that, Dvorkovich has built FIDE management on a broad basis, hiring people to work full-time to build the organization while it used to be run by a handful of individuals, the official added. The only thing that didn’t happen was that chess became part of the Olympics during Dvorkovich’s tenure. In addition, FIDE had abolished proxy voting in elections. FIDE Congress meeting delegates didn’t say much about former World Champion Viswanathan Anand being part of Dvorkovich’s election team. Anand is running for the post of FIDE Deputy President as part of Dvorkovich’s team. 44th Chess Olympiad Medal Tally: Complete Team Rankings and Rankings of the 2022 FIDE Chennai Event.
After Russia’s military action against Ukraine, Dvorkovich-led FIDE moved the 44th Chess Olympiad from Moscow to Chennai; decided not to hold FIDE chess competitions in Russia and Belarus; not to display Russian and Belarusian national flags or play their anthems in its ranked tournaments (but use of their national chess federation’s flag, the official logo, is permitted); Exclusion of the Russian and Belarusian national teams from their tournaments; Simplifying players playing under the FIDE flag and ending sponsorship agreements with Russian and Belarusian companies. The FIDE Commission on Women’s Chess had launched a fundraiser for war-affected Ukrainian women chess players and their families.
“The FIDE elections will come as a surprise. Arkady may not get the votes he expects,” said FIDE honorary vice-president Ian Wilkinson, who was part of chess grandmaster (GM) Bachar Kouatly’s team for the post of deputy vice-president candidate for President. Kouatly takes on Dvorkovich. The FIDE election is a four-way campaign with the following candidates: Andrii Baryshpolets, President and Peter-Heine Nielsen, Deputy President; Inalbek Cheripov, President and Lewis Ncube, Vice President; Dvorkovich, President and Anand, Vice President; Kouatly, President and Wilkinson, Vice President.
“The situation in FIDE changed after February 24th (the day Russia started its military action against Ukraine). Arkady is synonymous with Russia. As such, there may not be new corporate sponsorships from other global companies. There are sanctions against Russian companies.” Kouatly told IANS. He also said that FIDE has to pay huge sums back to Russian companies after they canceled their sponsorship contracts.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on 03 August 2022 1:52 PM IST. For more politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle news and updates, visit our website Latestly.com).