A triumphant Arkady Dvorkovich acknowledges victory as Deputy President Viswanathan Anand looks on. Photo by David Llada.
Arkady Dvorkovich was reelected at the FIDE General Assembly by an overwhelming electoral vote of 157-16 over competitor Anrdii Baryshpolets. This was after the surprising withdrawal of the Bachar Kouatly and Ian Wilkinson, a ticket that had garnered the support of many African and American/Caribbean nations. The Kouatly ticket told The Chess Drum that the lack of overall delegate support was the primary reason.
GM Bachar Kouatly ?? ?? and Ian Wilkinson QC ??withdraw candidacy for FIDE President and Deputy President. Both give warm thanks to supporters and @aicfchess. @FIDE_chess @JamaicaChess @BKouatly @IanWilkinson10 @thechessdrum #FIDEChessOlympiad2022 pic.twitter.com/a2Ernzc6w9— Daaim Shabazz (@thechessdrum) August 7, 2022
In the fourth certified ticket, Inal Sheripov withdrew after citing health concerns.
The democratic process was a smooth one and Dvorkovich had shown that his accomplishment in the past four years far outweighed his political past with the Kremlin. Russia has been persona non grata after the invasion of Ukraine, a war that is still raging. A war where atrocities are being committed. A war that seemingly has no timetable for an end.
“Yes, I am Russian, and I have served the people of my country, including to Russian chess community as Chairman of the Board of the Russian Chess Federation. I have been trying to do it professionally and with the highest possible level of integrity. And I took a strong position on the tragic events in Ukraine as well as supported FIDE Council decisions regarding scaling down Russia’s involvement in FIDE. Moreover, while abandoning Russian partners, we have been able to find new ones around the globe, organise this Chess Olympiad [in India] and ensure financial stability for FIDE. It is far from easy for me personally, but hope that chess can re-unite people again.”
~Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President
Baryshpolets made his main point of his election that Russian influence had to be removed from the FIDE apparatus. Since Dvorkovich was Russian, then he had to be declared unfit to lead FIDE. The Ukrainian candidate had little in his platform to suggest he could improve on the current record of Dvorkovich, but the literature suggested a political rationale centered around the incumbent’s nationality. It was a very simplistic campaign approach.
GM Andrii Baryshpolets
Photo by David Llada
One of the mistakes early on was Baryshpolets idea that all nations should not be treated equally in the electoral process and that smaller federations should have less say in political decisions of FIDE.
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 Andrii Baryshpolets
It is a very unpopular opinion that had been offered by Anatoly Karpov in earlier election cycles. Perhaps, the ticket did not study this case. Nevertheless, winning 16 votes sends a message that one must have more than a single point of attack on an incumbent to win the election.
Dvorkovich instituted term limits which means he will only serve one more four-year term as FIDE President making way for new leadership. The next FIDE election will take place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2026. It all seemed to be a perfect scenario with Anand as his deputy and the proceedings in Chennai, India. This Olympiad will go down in history as one of the most memorable and arguable the greatest in history. With Dvorkovich reelected, despite his Russian identity, will have been credited with stabilizing FIDE and setting it on the right course.