Chennai, Aug 3 : The incumbent president of the international chess federation (FIDE), Arkady Dvorkovich seems to be coasting towards victory at the elections to be held soon here, said delegates and officials. Even a former rival is now voicing support for Dvorkovich. However, one should not take those views on face value. The votes that Dvorkovich is expecting may not materialise at the elections, point out the rival camp members. The things that are strongly standing against Dvorkovich in the elections are — being a Russian, being the former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Russia’s military action against Ukraine early this year. FIDE Facing ‘Back Rank Mate’, Has To Return Huge Sums for Cancelling Sponsorships.
“The current president (Dvorkovich) will easily get re-elected. Majority of the chess federations in Europe and the US will vote for him,” Georgios Makropoulos, who contested unsuccessfully against Dvorkovich in 2018, told IANS. This time around, Makropoulos from Greece is trying to make a comeback into FIDE by contesting for the vice-president’s post. “For me FIDE is important and not the president’s post. I will help FIDE,” he added.
“At the geopolitical level, Europe and the US have taken serious actions against Russia. But in the FIDE elections, the European and the US Federation may vote in favour of Dvorkovich,” a delegate from a European nation told IANS, preferring anonymity. Agreeing that FIDE under Dvorkovich has done good work for the game, his rivals add that much more could be done if a non-Russian is at the helm now. The FIDE under Dvorkovich has increased its budget, reduced the fees paid to it by the national chess federations and have brought in new sponsors.
“During the past four years, Dvorkovich has promoted chess through social activities like chess in prison, chess for helping children with autism and chess in schools by teaching chess to instructors who in turn would train school students. And also few other things that never existed in the past like getting Russian corporates as sponsors happened under Dvorkovich,” a FIDE official not wanting to be named told IANS. According to him, FIDE also extended financial assistance to spread the sport in some continents in a big way.
That apart, Dvorkovich broad-based FIDE management by bringing in people to work full time to make the organisation, whereas earlier it was run by a handful of individuals, the official added. The one thing that didn’t happen was chess becoming part of the Olympic Games during Dvorkovich’s tenure. In addition, the FIDE had abolished proxy voting in the elections. Delegates for the FIDE Congress meeting didn’t say much with regards to former world champion Viswanathan Anand being part of Dvorkovich’s electoral team. Anand is standing for the FIDE deputy president’s post as part of Dvorkovich’s team. 44th Chess Olympiad Medal Tally: Full Team Rankings and Standings of FIDE 2022 Event in Chennai.
Following Russia’s military action against Ukraine, Dvorkovich-headed FIDE shifted the 44th Chess Olympiad from Moscow to Chennai; decided not to hold any FIDE chess competition in Russia and Belarus; not to display Russian and Belarusian national flags or play their anthem in its rated tournaments (but allowed usage of their national chess federation’s flag, official logo); suspending Russia and Belarusian national teams from its tournaments; simplification of players playing under the FIDE flag and terminated the sponsorship agreements with Russian and Belarusian corporations. The FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess had established a fundraiser for Ukrainian chess players and their families affected by war.
“The FIDE elections will throw up a surprise. Arkady may not get the votes he expects,” FIDE’s honorary vice-president Ian Wilkinson, who is contesting for the deputy president’s post as part of chess Grandmaster (GM) Bachar Kouatly’s team, said. Kouatly is contesting against Dvorkovich. The FIDE election is a four-way contest with following contestants, Andrii Baryshpolets, president and Peter-Heine Nielsen, deputy president; Inalbek Cheripov, president and Lewis Ncube, deputy president; Dvorkovich, president and Anand, deputy president; Kouatly, president and Wilkinson, deputy president.
“The situation in FIDE has changed after February 24 (the day Russia began its military action against Ukraine). Arkady is synonymous with Russia. So, fresh corporate sponsorship from other global companies may not come about. There are sanctions against Russian companies,” Kouatly told IANS. He also said FIDE has to pay back huge sums to the Russian corporates after cancelling their sponsorship deals.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Aug 03, 2022 01:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).