Anand set to support Dvorkovich’s reelection bid

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/1/2022 – FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich visited Delhi to sign a contract with the All India Chess Federation granting the Asian country the rights to host this year’s Olympiad. At a press conference, Dvorkovich announced his intention to run for a second term as FIDE President, and informed that Vishy Anand would actively support him in his reelection bid. | Photo: FIDE

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A surprising decision

A FIDE delegation headed by Arkady Dvorkovich paid a three-day visit to India. The purpose of the trip was to inspect the venue for the 44th Chess Olympiad, discuss the road map for the event, and sign the contract with the All India Chess Federation (AICF). The FIDE President also held a round of meetings with all the relevant authorities from the Asian Country.

After officially signing the contract, Dvorkovich announced in a press conference that he will be running for a second term as FIDE President. The official Twitter account of the International Federation shared the following statement:

The past four years have been challenging for all of us, but I am proud to acknowledge that I personally, and the entire FIDE leadership team, have worked with full dedication for the benefit of chess all over the world. However, there are even more important tasks ahead. In this situation, I consider it is my moral duty to confirm that I intend to run for the second Presidential term.

The FIDE Congress, in which the election will take place, is set to run concurrently with the Olympiad, from July 28 to August 10.

Notably, it was also announced that former world champion Viswanathan Anand will support Dvorkovich in his bid for a reelection. The 52-year-old grandmaster has become more active in supporting young Indian players as of late, focusing less on his career as an active player.

As reported by Times of India, it is not yet clear in what capacity the living legend of the sport will be involved. However, Anand did not hesitate to praise the work done by the FIDE President during his first term:

I am willing and determined to work with this team. It is a wonderful team led by Dvorkovich, and they have done a lot for the sport. As and when a decision will be taken, I will let you know.

Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Vishy Anand

Perhaps it is not surprising that Anand wants to get more involved in chess politics, but the fact that he is doing it amid controversies surrounding Dvorkovich will surely raise some eyebrows. In an interview for Mother Jones, Dvorkovich, a former senior Kremlin official, dared to call Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a ‘war’, as he reflected:

My thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians. Wars do not just kill priceless lives. Wars kill hopes and aspirations, freeze or destroy relationships and connections.

Soon after, though, the Skolkovo Foundation published a patriotic statement written by Dvorkovich, who at the time was its chairman. Although he clearly avoided talking directly about the current war, the FIDE President did show his nationalistic zeal:

I, like all post-war children, was brought up on patriotism: with the memory of those who died during the Great Patriotic War and the hatred of Nazism. I am sincerely proud of the courage of our soldiers, who at all times defended their homeland and freedom.

[...] Today Russia continues to live under tough but meaningless sanctions. But we will rise to the challenge. We are ready to respond with technological breakthroughs and our own development. This has always been the case.

We are about four months away from the start of the Chess Olympiad. Many things can happen during that period, both on the geopolitical stage and the chess world. Anand’s support of Dvorkovich sends a strong message from a man who has been a remarkable ambassador of the game in India and internationally. We can only wait and see how the rest of the chess community reacts to this unanticipated development.

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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