Ilyumzhinov announces re-election bid

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

Most of the attention since yesterday has been on Garry Kasparov’s announcement of his candidacy for FIDE President. What has been lost on most chess websites is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s bid for re-election. Ilyumzhinov has been the head of FIDE for the past 18 years and is seeking another four years. There was an awkward moment when at the end of his hour-long address he was asked to give a definitive answer on his candidacy. After a moment of levity, he stated, “Yes. The answer is ‘yes’.”

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at 84th FIDE Congress in Tallin, Estonia.
Photo by

Kasparov’s quest for the head FIDE post came amid speculation about his aspirations. For the past 20 years, Kasparov has been at odds with the FIDE establishment and has worked on the last two campaigns to unseat Ilyumzhinov. Despite Kasparov’s role in opposition, Ilyumzhinov completely crushed both Bessel Kok (96-54) and Anatoly Karpov (95-55). Kasparov has put together his team and is already on the campaign trail. It will be the toughest fight yet for Ilyumzhinov.

Ilyumzhinov announced his re-election bid at the end of his address at the 84th FIDE Congress in Tallinn, Estonia. He spoke for an hour on a number of issues including the administration’s successes and pledged US$1million for the Chess-in-Schools program (made similar donation in 2010). He emphasized that he has spent US$70million of his own personal fortune during his tenure. However, the pressure has certainly increased as many have spoken on the lack of stable sponsorship. The Economist released an article recently about the state of chess and spoke dismissively about its prospects of being a marketable sport. This will be the focal point of the next election.

Ilyumzhinov will have on his side the stabilization of the world championship cycle (although the women’s cycle is still flawed) and to showcase this success, he will spare no expense and effort to make the upcoming Viswanathan Anand-Magnus Carlsen match a rousing success. This event will no doubt give him the biggest stage to display his platform. Kasparov will undoubtedly be in Chennai, India for the match and will also seek an audience. The chess match has begun!

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s Presidential Address
at the 84th FIDE Congress in Tallinn, Estonia.


  1. This in from…

    “Return of The Prodigal Son.” Ilyumzhinov Reflects on Kasparov’s Decision
    Tuesday, 08.10.2013 23:35

    Kirsan Ilyumzhinov commented on the situation that emerged regarding the next year FIDE presidential elections.

    “I have been getting the majority of votes since 1995,” ITAR-TASS quotes Ilyumzhinov. “If talking of 2010 elections in which my rival was Anatoly Karpov, who was actually actively supported by Garry Kasparov, I had even double advantage. The same happened in 2006. There are no doubts that the very same thing will happen next year too. Well, maybe someone else will present his candidature today… Isn’t it nice that sooner or earlier all world champions are tyring themselves as presidential candidatures? Let’s suggest them to get together – 12th, 13th, 14th champion – and run for the post together.”

    “I had several tasks when I was nominated in 1995: to save FIDE from bancruptcy, to unite chess world, to popularize chess as a sport, to make chess recognized by the IOC. Those tasks were accomplished. Now we only need to have chess at the winter Olympics. Chess in Schools project is also developing. So, there’s still a lot of work to do, that’s why I agreed to nominate myself for one more term. This is also my decision.

    As regards to Kasparov’s nomination – he is always much into PR. Once he wants to be Russia president, then he tries to be the leader of opposition. It’s clear that now he needs FIDE president post for solving his own political tasks. It’s doubtful that chess players will support him. We have a different motto – “Gens una sumus” – “We are one people.” Well, in general it’s pleasant for me to see the return of the prodigal son, it seems like my work for chess development for 18 years wasn’s done in vain.”


    1. Bold words from Ilyumzhinov and a bit presumptuous perhaps. The issue of Kasparov needing the FIDE post for his political ambitions in Russia is an interesting one…

      One of the main issues is whether Kasparov will continue his political ambitions in Russia if he should become FIDE President. It may create a conflict of interest if he does. Russian politics should not enter the FIDE arena.

  2. Dr. Shabazz,

    If you look at the history of Russian chess, Russian politics have always played a major part (Botvinnik, Karpov, etc). Kasparov battles with Putin unfortunately is a losing battle. It is not clear what Kasparov’s”Endgame” is as far as his aspirations goes.

    1. You’re right, but Russian government support of chess has dramatically declined anyway. With Kasparov at the helm, there may be more of a contentious relationship. Of course, that is something he will have to manage very skillfully. There are certainly many questions that need to be answered by both candidates… and any other who decides to run.

  3. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links October 9, 2013 |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button