While the world is looking at the Chess Olympics in Tromsö (Norway), the election for the new FIDE president took place recently. The previous president Kirsan Iljumschinov who has been in office since 1995 ran for presidency with challenger Garri Kasparov (51).
Prior to election activities, Kasparov had accused the 52 year-old Russian of corruption. Being a member of the opposition and highly critical of the Kremlin, he blamed Iljumschinov of holding back the full potential of the sport by acting as a puppet of Russian politics. He also criticized the organization’s lacking transparency.
Iljumschinov, former president of the Russian constituent Republic of Kalmykia, has close contact with Russia’s president
Vladimir Putin. Supposedly, he bribed delegates of many countries with the help of the Russian government. For decades, he has been building a worldwide network of powerful supporters that did not let him down during this election. But not only Iljumschinov had to defend himself from corruption accusations; Kasparov allegedly bought votes with money from his foundation. The popular former world champion finds his supporters especially in Europe and the United States.
Marked by these mutual accusations, the heated and politically influenced election came to a clear result. The Russian Kirsan Iljumschinov received 110 votes, while Kasparov had only 61 and couldn’t stand a chance against the winner. Therefore, he failed just like his predecessor Anatoli Karpov who, also unsuccessfully, tried to take over the lead of the World Chess Association.
“I will always stand up for checkmate and devote my life to the FIDE”, comments Iljumschinov on his victory.
written by Sarah, translated by Birthe