FIDE 2022 election campaigns heat up!

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

Early this month, the Presidential election (FIDE 2022) opened and there are already four candidates for President. This point was noted by current FIDE Vice President Nigel Short.

Crowded indeed.

After the announcement of Enyonam Sewa Noël Fumey’s presidential candidacy and a reaffirmation of Arkady Dvorkovich to defend his incumbency, there have been two other tickets to join the race. Andrii Baryshpolets of Ukraine will appeal to the community and stated on Facebook,

FIDE’s reputation is the main reason why the organization suffers systematic failures in this direction and needs support from authoritarian governments. The twenty-three years of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s presidency have shaped the image of FIDE as serving political interests, a corrupt and poorly funded organization. And although the current team can do management of FIDE is more transparent and open, FIDE’s political and financial dependence on the Russian authorities is more than obvious.

(Press Release)

In addition, Zambia’s Lewis Ncube informed The Chess Drum that he will be running as the Deputy President alongside Inal Sheripov, a native of Chechnya living in Belgium. He was on the ticket of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in 2018. He stated in his FIDE 2022 press release

I have assembled a team of experienced and dedicated chess enthusiasts and administrators who want to ensure the desired growth of our global chess community. I am sure that my experience in the film industry, combined with the individual and collective competencies of my team, will contribute greatly to the promotion of chess around the world and make FIDE more successful.

(Press Release)

This makes four tickets in an increasingly crowded field. All are very diverse with Enyonam Fumey representing the country of Togo who has almost single-handedly put the small country on the chess map. Fumey has been posting his thoughts on social media and will have FM Stuart Fancy of Papua New Guinea as his Deputy. To say that FIDE will have increasingly diverse leadership is an understatement. No longer will leadership and decision-making be confined to powerful chess nations as some would suggest.


Enyonam Sewa Noël Fumey
Togo Togo Togo

Almost if by natural evolution, the Russia-Ukraine geopolitical conflict has tarnished the luster of Russia as a superpower in chess. The sun had already set on the chess dominance it held for several decades, but it appears that they are officially in rebuild mode. Baryshpolets candidacy may raise the question of whether he serves as a sentimental choice against Russian chess hegemony. He certainly would have support, but he may have already made a critical error.

On his Facebook page, he discusses briefly his view on the FIDE electorate and does not support a democratic system of one-nation, one-vote, but one that would be dominated by powerful chess nations which would have to include Russia. Chess elitism has always been a part of FIDE fabric which is the reason there needs to be a way to make candidates treat federations equally.

With all my personal respect to all the member federations and commitment to the idea of the global promotion of chess, I reckon that all the member federations should not have the same voting power in electing FIDE governing bodies. It is unfair that a federation comprising ten rated players total has the same one vote as a federation comprising thousands and having more than 100 players with ELO 2400+. Such a distortive electoral system has been leading to the election of a President that does not represent the will of the majority of chess players.


GM Andriy Baryshpolets

Is he suggesting an apparatus based on chess status? This is not a statement of progress, but a system dominated by a few entities. Anatoly Karpov advocated something similar in the form of a Security Council back in 2006. It was immediately shot down. When he ran for FIDE President in 2010, he denounced the notion. Ironically, it appears Baryshpolets is speaking against a chess oligarchy, yet he is advocating a political structure that would support it. How then will smaller federations have a say in chess affairs?

Fumey’s platform is advocacy more support for smaller federations, so it is apparent how different these views will be. In addition, Ncube (President, African Chess Confederation) would probably push back on the reformulation of electoral weighting. Dvorkovich campaigned in 2018 for more inclusion of smaller federations and it has resulted in a broad spectrum of countries represented within FIDE.

Arkady Dvorkovich 2022 #saychess

However, the incumbent Dvorkovich will have to walk a very narrow path to disassociate himself from Russian aggression, yet address some of his recent comments which seem to evoke Russian patriotism in the face of the “Special Operation” in Ukraine.

FIDE 2022 should offer a very interesting campaign season!

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

11 Comments

  1. “With all my personal respect to all the member federations and commitment to the idea of the global promotion of chess, I reckon that all the member federations should not have the same voting power in electing FIDE governing bodies. It is unfair that a federation comprising ten rated players total has the same one vote as a federation comprising thousands and having more than 100 players with ELO 2400+”

    ~ Andrii Baryshpolets

    I read Andrii’s Facebook post. It is heavily politicized and I understand his sentiment, but the above statement will result in serious pushback. Yes, a nation of ten has the same vote, but not the same power and influence. What he is proposing is an undemocratic system where the rich and powerful nations will have most of the decision-making authority. There are brilliant people in these small federations who understand chess affairs keenly and are huge contributors. FIDE committees and commissions are full of them. One nation-one vote makes candidates pay attention to all federations, large and small. What Andrii is describing is a chess oligarchy which seems to be the opposite of what he is seeking. How can he honestly rally the support of all nations, but then disenfranchise the majority at the same time?

  2. Statement by GM Andrii Barsyhpolets (26 April 2022)

    Dear FIDE Council and the Global Chess Community,

    First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for all the support provided by FIDE to Ukrainian chess players and for efforts to preserve the unity of FIDE and respect basic human rights.

    We all have different ratings, titles, playing styles, as well as knowledge and understanding of basic chess endgames. What unites us is love and passion for chess. By means of this letter, I would like to bring to your attention a broader perspective on the endgame that cannot be found in the Nalimov tablebase yet is very important for understanding the current situation around FIDE.

    Preparation for the game


    It is not clear when the tournament started, though the contours of this particular game can be delineated. The Cold War ended along with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 15 Soviet Republics became independent. The paths of purification from communism and building new societies have been noticeably different for all fifteen. Since the scoresheet cannot accommodate all the moves, I mostly focus on the milestones of the modern history of the biggest player – the Russian Federation, without compromising the transmission of the game’s essence and its relevance to FIDE.

    Opening


    The very first moves were tragic – the Transnistria War, the War in Abkhazia, the First Chechen War. Development of a democratic post-communist society was idiosyncratic: shelling of the Russian White House in 1993, the assassinations of journalists including Vladyslav Listyev (arguably the most popular of his time), the merging of gangs with local authorities, the rise of oligarchs, and the financial crisis in 1998. From the very beginning, Russia struggled to establish a democratic and progressive society and on the 9th of August 1999, the president of Russia Boris Yeltsin publicly announced a former KGB agent Vladimir Putin as his successor. What followed was also terrifying. War crimes in the Second Chechen War, Kursk, assassinations of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Lytvynenko in London, Munich Speech – all these events most clearly attested to the complete disregard for human life and human rights by the rising Putin’s regime.

    Middlegame


    Often coaches say a middlegame begins when most of the pieces are developed and the kings get less vulnerable. Short-sided castle putin-medvedev was followed by the invasion of Georgia. Inside Russia, rigging elections became a norm and the notion of “unsanctioned rally” became common and routine.

    Feeling impunity, the regime extended its crimes on a larger international scale – annexation of Crimea, invasion of the Eastern part of Ukraine (“they are not there”), MH17, invasion and war crimes in Syria. Besides political homicides, assassinations attempts and imprisonments inside Russia (most notorious victims are Boris Nemtsov, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza), Putin’s regime continued launching spy attacks abroad: the explosion of the ammunition depot in the Czech Republic, interference in the US elections, chemical weapon poisonings of in Salisbury and Bulgaria, assassination in Berlin. All these crimes were generously backend with lies, domestic and abroad propaganda, bribing unscrupulous western politicians and journalists, and all-around supporting authoritarian regimes around the world.

    It is worth mentioning that similar processes were unfolding in Belarus since the election of Lukashenka in 1994. The total terror has been persistent all through “Europe’s last dictator” reign – from uninvestigated disappearances of people in the 90s (Hanchar, Zakharenko, and many more) to the self-proclaimed presidency in August 2020. Over less than the past two years, we have witnessed imprisonments of Tikhanovsky, Babaryka, and Kalesnikava, tortures in Okrestina, inflicted asylum seekers crisis on the Belarus–European Union border, hijacking the Ryanair plane with Protasevich aboard, and many other crimes.

    Endgame


    On February 24, 2022, Putin declared a “special military operation” to “denazify” Ukraine. Peter Svidler, eight-time Russian champion, wrote in Twitter: “Silence made today possible. #No war”. According to the United Nations, as of April 20, nearly 5.1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February 24. Nearly 7.7 million people have been internally displaced. There are numerous reported and documented occasions of shelling of civil infrastructure (including hospitals, schools, residential buildings, etc.) execution of civilians, rapes, and looting by Russian soldiers. On March 2, 2022, FIDE arbiter and chess coach Oleksiy Druzhynets died after being seriously wounded by invaders. On April 6, In Kherson Russian occupiers kidnapped the father of International Master Ruslan Kurayan.

    Checkmate


    As Garry Kasparov mentioned in TED Talk: “The evil grows back at the cracks of our apathy”[1]. The evil has not been stopped in the opening nor in the middlegame. Only the heroic resistance of Ukrainian people in the beginning of the endgame drew the proper attention to the systematic crimes of Putin’s regime. The sanctions are being imposed on all the levels – from the governments and corporations to various organizations and individuals. No matter when the war in Ukraine ends, Putin’s regime is doomed for a steep collapse. Indeed, Putin chose the wrong side of history.

    FIDE matters


    What does FIDE have to do with this game? Is there anything wrong that FIDE is still run by a high-ranked Russian politician? To remind, in 2008-2012, Arkady Dvorkovich was an Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation and in 2012-2018 was Deputy Prime Minister in Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet.

    Zurab Azmaiparashvili, president of the European Chess Union, in his interview to the Mother Jones[2] said: “Arkady not only loves chess very much…but he is also a very progressive and peaceful person”. Arkady might seem peaceful and progressive, but his longtime Kremlin patrons are not. Here are a few excerpts from Arkady’s statement from March 15: “I am sincerely proud of the courage of our soldiers, who at all times defended their Motherland and freedom… Today, Russia continues to live under harsh but senseless sanctions… I cannot respect foreign companies that have left the Russian market”[3]

    In his comment to Chess.com, GM Nigel Short, FIDE vice president said: “I want to stress that Arkady is the best FIDE president we’ve had in decades.”[4] While it is difficult to disagree, it feels necessary to remind that, between 1995 and 2022, the second-best (and the only!) was Kirsan Illyumzhinov. Aside from being the FIDE president for 23 years, he is best known for being 1) the President of the Republic of Kalmykia in the Russian Federation from 1993 to 2010; 2) sanctioned in 2015 for his ties to the Syrian government; 3) according to himself, in 1997 was abducted by… the aliens. Let’s also mention a less remembered fact that an advisor to Ilyumzhinov, was convicted in the murder of Larisa Yudina, a publisher of an opposition newspaper. She was stabbed to death in Elista on June 8, 1998. Ilyumzhinov denied any involvement with the murder; the incident was investigated by the local and the Russian authorities.

    Emil Sutovsky, FIDE Director General, tries to persuade his Facebook audience that “FIDE does not live on Russian money”. On contrary, the FIDE’s audited financial statements[5] and the list of partners of the major FIDE events suggest that FIDE DOES live on Russian money: Phosagro, Kaspersky, Gazprom, Sima-land, Gazprombank, Sberbank, Otkrytie Bank, ALRUD, Nornickel, Russian Railways, Rosatom, etc. (the list is too long). Only a handful of companies outside of Russia are eager to partner with FIDE. Apparently, FIDE’s reputation deters the corporate world from partnership. Given all the potential chess has (rapidly growing youth and collegiate, booming in online chess, increasing interest in mass culture), FIDE opportunities could have been many times larger.

    On February 16, a week before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Arkady Dvorkovich presented trophies and medals to the winners and prize-winners of the tournament among Russian armed forces.[6] This occasion and the aforementioned statement from March 15, as well as maintaining FIDE Presidency by Arkady Dvorkovich in general, breaches the FIDE Code of Ethics articles 2.2.2 and 2.2.11.[7] Moreover, being a representative of an aggressor country, Dvorkovich cannot properly serve his functions stated in the FIDE Charter articles 18.2-18.3.[8]
    Unfortunately, the cracks of apathy in the global chess community have been too wide for a long time. FIDE has been occupied by Kremlin for at least the past 27 years. It breaches FIDE Charter articles 4.1-4.2.[9] We all got used to seeing how Kirsan gets re-elected all over again. Now Arkady, despite all the damage to the FIDE reputation his presidency brings, declares to run for re-election. It seems his fear of the Kremlin is greater than his sympathy for chess.

    This systematic error of re-election and the practical impossibility to elect a FIDE President that would serve the interests of the global chess community, not one single federation, became possible due to the FIDE electoral rules. With all my personal respect to all the member federations and commitment to the idea of the global promotion of chess, I reckon that all the member federations should not have the same voting power in electing FIDE governing bodies. It is unfair that a federation comprising ten rated players total has the same one vote as a federation comprising thousands and having more than 100 players with ELO 2400+.[10] Such a distortive electoral system has been leading to the election of a President that does not represent the will of the majority of chess players. Unlike chess, this is not a zero-sum game. A transparent and fair election of FIDE management would benefit all the member federations. A reputable and transparent FIDE is more attractive for partnerships, which ultimately brings more financial and reputational benefits to all.

    FIDE has to change. FIDE will change. The necessary actions to remedy the reputation and mitigate risks to the current financial stability of FIDE are the following:

    1) Arkady Dvorkovich has to be removed from the FIDE Presidency. The Deputy President, Bachar Kouatly shall assume the powers and responsibilities of the President until the new elections, according to the FIDE Charter articles 19.2-19.3.[11] Sign the petition to facilitate the process – https://www.change.org/RemoveDvorkovichFromFide
    2) The Global Chess Community is united against the war[12] and FIDE shall support this position with the strongest means possible, according to the FIDE Charter 4.3.[13] The FIDE website should display “For peace – ?? ???”. The same writing should occur on the official websites and playing venues of the upcoming Candidates Tournament, the 44th Chess Olympiad, and other official FIDE events.
    3) FIDE Council should initiate an open and comprehensive discussion with all the member federations regarding the changes in the electoral rules. A new electoral procedure that has the highest chances of being supported by the majority of the member federations shall be found and recommended for approval during the next General Assembly.[14]

    Gens Una Sumus

    GM Andrii Baryshpolets

    [1] https://www.chess.com/…/kasparov-ted-talk-russia-war…
    [2] https://www.motherjones.com/…/chess-grandmasters-putin…/
    [3] https://sk.ru/…/zayavlenie-predsedatelya-fonda…/
    [4] https://www.chess.com/…/dvorkovich-in-tight-spot-as…
    [5] https://www.fide.com/financial
    [6] https://ruchess.ru/…/v_tsdsh_zavershilsya_otkrytyy…/…
    [7] FIDE Code of Ethics:
    2.2.2 Office bearers who through their behavior no longer inspire the necessary confidence or have in other ways become unworthy of trust.
    2.2.11 Any conduct likely to injure or discredit the reputation of FIDE, its events, organizers, participants, sponsors or that will enhance the goodwill which attaches to the same.
    [8] FIDE Charter:
    18.2 The President shall aim to foster a positive image of FIDE and to ensure that FIDE’s mission, strategic direction, policies and values, as defined by the General Assembly and by the Council, are protected and advanced.
    18.3 The President shall seek to maintain and develop good relations between and among FIDE Member Federations, Affiliated Members, International Olympic Committee, other International Sports Federations, political bodies and international organisations.
    [9] FIDE Charter:
    4.1 FIDE is a democratically established and fully independent organisation, based on the principle of equal rights of its members.
    4.2 FIDE preserves the autonomy of chess and sport.
    [10] https://ratings.fide.com/top_federations.phtml
    FIDE Electoral Rules effective from 29 December 2021:
    3.1 Each Member Federation represented in the General Assembly and in the assemblies of FIDE Continents has one vote.
    [11] FIDE Charter:
    19.2 If the President is temporarily prevented from performing official functions, the Deputy President shall assume the powers and responsibilities of the President.
    19.3 If the President is permanently incapacitated or has been temporarily substituted for a period longer than 6 months, the Council must convene new elections in the General Assembly that has to be organised in the year of next Chess Olympiad, and the mandate of all members of the Council is concluded after them.
    Art. 20 The Council
    20.1 The Council is the strategic and oversight body of FIDE, it has executive and legislative functions and exercises the powers listed below.
    20.2 The Council:
    d) defines FIDE’s mission, strategic direction and policies, in particular with regard to the organisation and development of chess at worldwide level and all related matters;
    j) resolves on all matters not otherwise and explicitly reserved to another body by this Charter
    [12] https://www.motherjones.com/…/chess-grandmasters-putin…/, https://www.chess.com/…/ukrainian-chess-players-to-ecu…, https://www.chess.com/…/stop-the-war-44-top-russian…
    [13] FIDE Charter:
    4.3 FIDE is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.
    [14] FIDE Charter:
    17.2 The General Assembly:
    a) approves and modifies the FIDE Charter, with a majority of two thirds of valid votes of those Members Federations present, without considering abstentions;
    b) approves and modifies By-laws, Ethics and Disciplinary Code, Electoral Rules, Financial Rules, Rules on Laws of Chess and Zonal Council Rules, by simple majority;

  3. Statement by Inal Sheripov (2 August 2022)

    STATEMENT BY ‘TEAM BEST MOVE” PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

    Dear Delegates,
    Dear Fellow Candidates,
    Dear Chess Communities,

    I wish to express my eternal gratitude to the entire global chess community for having accepted my candidature under the “Team Best Move” brand to contest the FIDE Presidential Elections scheduled for August 7, 2022, in Chennai, India on the sidelines of the 44th. World Chess Olympiad.

    Regrettably, I wish to inform you of my decision to withdraw from the 2022 FIDE Presidential Elections on health grounds.
    In early June I was admitted to hospital for what appeared to be a routine check up on my health situation.

    I had been feeling weak for some days after filing in our ticket’s candidacy.

    After investigations that progressed from a very serious illnesses scare to other potentially debilitating health conditions, I am still undergoing further tests.

    This health situation that has taken almost two months from my proposed campaign schedule means that I have not been able to deliver my full message to the chess community.
    I wish to thank my team across all the Continents for their understanding.

    This decision has been a very difficult one to make as I am aware of the work that my Team has put into our campaign.

    As I withdraw, I wish to urge all the remaining candidates to put the interest of the global chess community above a narrow focus and embrace everyone in their programmes after the elections are over.

    I have spoken to the various members of “Team Best Move”, and I have advised them to be available to work with any progressive ticket and to maintain the unity that the global chess community deserves.

    We may have different views on how we believe we must move forward to develop our beautiful game; however, our goals should ultimately be the same.

    Upon clearance from my Doctor, I will also be available to work with the team chosen by the chess community to lead us for the next four years; should my services be required.

    Serving the global chess community, in whatever capacity, is a wish I will continue to yearn for.

    Gens Una Sumus!

    Inal Sheripov
    02.08.2022

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