Dvorkovich Re-elected As FIDE President

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was re-elected for a second term at the presidential elections during the FIDE Congress in Chennai, India on Sunday. The incumbent president received 157 of the votes, while Andrii Baryshpolets received 16 votes.

Shortly before the voting started, GM Bachar Kouatly withdrew his candidacy citing a lack of support among delegates. Inalbek Cheripov, the fourth candidate, had withdrawn a few days before.

Each candidate was given 15 minutes to speak to the FIDE delegates ahead of the voting, the order being determined by drawing of lots. Baryshpolets came first, and he started by giving the word to GM Peter Heine Nielsen, the deputy president on their ticket.

Nielsen gave a passionate speech in which he mentioned the recent news that the Skolkovo Foundation, a Russian technology institute of which Dvorkovich had been the chairman for years (until March 2022), was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury due to the organization’s direct relations with the Russian military. Both Baryshpolets and Nielsen claimed that Dvorkovich had thus indirectly assisted in Russia’s warfare in Ukraine, a sentiment that didn’t resonate among the delates, who remained mostly silent during and after the speech.

Next in line was Kouatly, who also let his ticket’s deputy president, Ian Wilkinson of Jamaica, do the talking first. Wilkinson flamboyantly presented himself, providing a small autobiography and mentioning the famous Jamaicans Bob Marley and Usain Bolt, before presenting Kouatly as if he was announcing a film star, shouting “Bachar” three times. The French grandmaster also started telling about himself before withdrawing his candidacy, which did not come fully unexpected as Kouatly and Wilkinson had barely campaigned.

Dvorkovich also gave his right hand the floor, and GM Viswanathan Anand was greeted with an applause. The five-time world champion turned chess politician, who is not playing in the Olympiad but focuses on promotional activities instead, proudly welcomed everyone to his home town and emphasized that FIDE should be the voice of all federations and all players.

Before listing his plans for the coming four years, Dvorkovich briefly reacted to the “concerns related to potential reputation risks for FIDE” based on his background as a former Russian top politician.

“I took a strong position on the tragic events in Ukraine as well as supported the FIDE Council’s decisions regarding scaling down Russia’s involvement in FIDE, and I have no relation to Skolkovo or any other sanctioned body anymore,” he said.

Winning 157 to 16, Dvorkovich then scored a resounding victory. He will continue to lead the International Chess Federation for four more years. As he announced back in 2016, he does not intend to rule FIDE longer than that.

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