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Dvorkovich Elected FIDE President

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FIDE General Assembly

Arkady Dvorkovich from Russia has been elected FIDE President at the General Assembly in Batumi, Georgia.  He defeated Georgios Makropoulos of Greece with 103 votes to 78.  The third candidate Nigel Short withdrew his candidacy at the last minute.

FIDE Presidential candidates from left Nigel Short, Arkady Dvorkovich, Georgios Makropoulos. Photo credit David Llada.
FIDE Presidential candidates from left Nigel Short, Arkady Dvorkovich, Georgios Makropoulos. Photo credit David Llada.

Over 160 delegates had gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Batumi for the FIDE General Assembly.

Kenya had thrown it’s full weight behind Arkady Dvorkovich.  He was the guest of honour during the African Youth Chess Championship held in Kisumu, Kenya.  See story on Arkady Dvorkovich trip to Kisumu.

Arkday Dvorkovich checks out the action in the 2018 African Youth Chess Championship in Kisumu. Photo credit Eastmond Mwendia.
Arkday Dvorkovich checks out the action in the 2018 African Youth Chess Championship in Kisumu. Photo credit Eastmond Mwendia.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & Georgios Makropoulos

Georgios Makropoulos is the seven times Greek Chess Champion.  He has represented Greece in the 1972, 1974 and 1980 Chess Olympiads.  Makropoulos has since 1986 served in various capacities within FIDE.  He has been Deputy President since 1996.

American Chess Magazine have an interesting interview with Georgios Makropoulos – Interview Georgios Makropoulos.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was FIDE President from 1995 to 2018.

Kirsan has managed to defeat a string of opponents in the past and include;

1996 – Jamie Sunye Neto

2006 – Bessel Kok

2010 – Anatoly Karpov

2014 – Gary Kasparov

Both Ilyumzhinov and Makropoulos have in the past been under  severe criticism from several federations and players.

In my opinion the biggest problem was the contract between Agon Ltd & FIDE.  Agon Ltd were contracted to handle the World Championship matches.  The contract seemed one sided in favour of Agon Ltd.  The ownership of Agon Ltd was another source of dissension.

Another serious point of contention was the charges levied on federations and the use of FIDE appointments as a political tool.

The biggest impact the Ilyumzhinov/Makropoulos reign had was to re-unite the chess world in 2006.   You will recall that Kasparov/Short had broken away from FIDE to run the World Championship in 2003.  It was a difficult time for FIDE and it threaten to tear the chess world in two groups.

The Ilyumzhinov/Makropoulos duo played a key role in ensuring that the chess world remained united.  Their adroit diplomatic skills were crucial.  If this had not happened then the chess would have been like boxing.

There are currently 4 boxing bodies each peddling their own World Champion.  These include WBA, IBC, WBO, & IBF.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the 2016 Baku Olympiad.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the 2016 Baku Olympiad.

There is no doubt that both Ilyumzhinov/Makropoulos have devoted their life to chess.  In my opinion managing to get a sponsor for each & every Olympiad is an impressive achievements.  The World Championship cycle has also not lacked a sponsor.  There may have been some delays but in general this was a fair achievement by the pair.

Dealing with all  the competing political/economic interests of various federations required some deft diplomatic skill.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & Kenya

Did you know that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited Kenya many years ago!  Check out the photo that I found in his book ‘The President’s Crown of Thorns’.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov meets former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov meets former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi.

Team Kenya met with President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the 1998 Chess Olympiad held in Elista, Kalmykia.

Team Kenya meets up with President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the 1998 Olympiad. Each team member received a bottle of vodka.
Team Kenya meets up with President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the 1998 Olympiad. Each team member received a bottle of vodka.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has his own website – Kirsan’s Website