90th FIDE Congress (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi, UAE… site of the 90th FIDE Congress

A total of 195 federations from 195 countries were represented by their delegates at the 90th FIDE Congress held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The General Assembly and Executive Board Meetings were held on February 28-29th.

The General Assembly opened February 28th, 2020 at around 9:00am by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. It was the first meeting since the 89th Congress was held in Batumi, Georgia in 2018. The anthems of both the UAE and FIDE were played followed by Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan, who welcomed the august body.

Arkday Dvorkovich
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich

Dvorkovich gave a 500-day update of his administration’s work which included a doubling of the budget, the support of national federations through the FIDE development fund and new corporate partnerships. There was mention of the presence of FIDE at the All-Africa Games in Morocco. Also discussed was the FIDE World Championships with the synchronizing of the open and women’s cycles. Some of the other accomplishments were detailed by Allen Priest, CPA who headed the U.S. delegation and serves as the President of U.S. Chess.

  • New FIDE Website
  • Increased investments in developing nations, with 77 nations receiving funds for projects for tournaments, trainings, coaching and equipment
  • New external collaborations with the International Olympic Committee and United Nations, including a World Chess Day designation of July 20, 2020
  • First Paralympic chess tournament, to be held alongside the 2020 General Assembly and Olympiads in Russia
  • Reworked World Championship Cycle for both men and women and increased prize funds for the women’s world championship
  • Moved FIDE offices from Greece to Lausanne, Switzerland


Zhansaya Abdumalik in action in Lausanne Grand Prix in today’s 1st round.
Photo by David Llada (FIDE)

There was some attention given to the threat of the coronavirus and the fact that every arrangement would be made to keep players safe. Thus the Candidates tournament and the Olympiad will proceed as planned, but precautions will be made to accommodate the Chinese players competing in the Candidates. Unfortunately, China’s Zhao Xue had to withdraw from the Women’s Grand Prix tournament in Lausanne. She will be replaced by Zhansaya Abdumalik.

As far as the African Diaspora, they were very active in the proceedings and appear to be taking a more active role in the leadership of FIDE. In fact, there were several new federations from the two regions. Cayman Islands, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, were announced as new member federations. According to the FIDE website, it is the 4th largest sports federation by number of member countries.

Carlo Lee speaks about chess in the Cayman Islands.
Carlo Lee speaks about chess in the Cayman Islands

Dr. IzBen Williams, St. Kitts and Nevis
Dr. IzBen Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis
brings greetings on behalf of their new federation

In other major news, a new FIDE Charter was passed by the General Assembly an overwhelming majority. The reformed FIDE statutes was one of the main points brought out at the Presidential Board meeting in 2019. According to Roberto Rivello who chaired the task force,

“FIDE needs this reform, not only because the current FIDE Statutes were written many decades ago and the role of international sports federations is completely different today, as it is our society. But mainly because we need to move in the direction of a more modern, transparent, democratic and efficient institution, and the main rules of our organization have a fundamental role to play in making this possible.”

As far as the Olympiad, federations are to arrive on July 29th in Khanty Mansiysk for 91st FIDE Congress and then leave for Moscow on the August 5th. The opening round of the Olympiad will begin on August 6th. There was a very important announcement made about the World Chess Championship this fall. President Dvorkovich stated that he was 99.9% sure that the event would be held in the United Arab Emirates. There are still negotiations for dates, but most likely will take place in December. An official announcement will be made in coming weeks.

Regarding the 2024 Chess Olympiad, the FIDE President reports that Hungary and Argentina/Brazil (jointly) have expressed their interest in hosting this event. They haven’t submitted a bid yet but they sent a delegation to Abu Dhabi to gather information.

Official Site: https://www.fide.com/news/342
Title Applications: https://ratings.fide.com/title_applications.phtml

28 February 2020 – Extraordinaire General Assembly (agenda)

29 February 2020 – Presidential Board Meeting (agenda)

FIDE Congress Blitz Tournament

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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