Dvorkovich: "Hopefully, we will be able to avoid a dirty campaign"

by Georgios Souleidis
7/27/2018 – Arkady Dvorkovich has been on tour for his electoral campaign and made stops at the Biel International Chess Festival and, a day after, at the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting in Dortmund (where he made the ceremonial first move for the game Kovalev-Kramnik). Macauley Peterson and Georgios Souleidis interviewed him on topics ranging from his plans for FIDE if elected, his connection to the Russian government, Agon, and political campaign wrangling. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

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Interview with Arkady Dvorkovich

The FIDE Elections will take place during the Chess Olympiad in Batumi on October 3rd. Arkady Dvorkovich is one of three candidates besides Georgios Makropoulos and Nigel Short.

ChessBase Editor-in-Chief Macauley Peterson took the chance to chat with Dvorkovich in Switzerland on short notice, while in Dortmund, Georgios Souleidis (Press Officer of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting) arranged an interview. We've combined the conversations thematically, leaving all individual questions and answers intact with only minor editing for grammar.

Georgios Souleidis: There are many pictures of you on the internet playing football, basketball, also charity events like UNAIDS. What do you like more football or chess?

Arkady Dvorkovich: Both, it´s just different. Football gives you teamwork, physical activity and a lot of fun. Chess is for me more intellectual and individual and a different type of experience for your life. And also professionally I think I am better at organising chess than in football. Organising football requires a slightly different approach, which I can also do but in chess, I can be more successful as I have experience in the Russian chess federation, in the Tal Memorial and in other events so I can apply this knowledge and experience to the FIDE.

GS: You said you were better in organising chess events but that sounds a bit humble because you have been the chairman of the LOC of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the biggest football event in the world. What are your conclusions about this event?

AD: It was a huge experience. We were doing our best to make a dream come true. A dream of maybe generations of Russian people. And also we were trying to show the real Russia, not the image that was created in the western media and by some politicians. The real Russia that is open, hospitable and really friendly to the rest of the world. And I think the people have shown that they are different from the image created. Also in terms of the World Cup organisation itself, it was a big experience how things have been, professionally. FIFA brought to us knowledge and skills that we didn’t have before, and our team - the organising committee that I chaired for a certain period of time - we are getting closest knowledge and transferring this to the services provided to people, fans, to teams and to everyone involved and all people now are saying that it was a wonderful event. And they didn’t expect to happen this in as such a good way. It was a real festival of football.

The important thing is that we really controlled what is happening. It was not just happening — we knew each detail that is involved in the organisation of the world cup. I myself visited 28 games not only sitting in the stadium but going into the operation centre control and we had dozens of people working together and each side providing for security, safety, food, medical and all other services, which had to be taken into account. The biggest result of the event was that we have new people that know how to work, that have different skills and bring some of these people to chess as well.

"The FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is over! Joyful and sad at the same time...Thanks to all our team of organizers for the holiday of football!"

GS: Do you think you can use these experiences for future chess events?

AD: That's what I am saying. I have now both the experience, knowledge and energy to use this for chess and bring people with me who know how to do things for the chess world. We agreed with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino that if I am elected that we will conclude an agreement between FIFA and FIDE where we will have skills transfer from FIFA to FIDE.

GS: When did you agree to this with Mr. Infantino?

AD: It was in the last days of the FIFA World Cup, when he was in Moscow. Every day we were seeing each other and discussing things and there we started discussions about a future agreement, of course, if I am elected. And I am sure that FIDE can benefit a lot from FIFA. But also football can benefit from chess. For instance, kids in football academies can also play chess and this will help them to improve their intellectual capacity and thinking when they are playing football. It’s very useful.

GS: First you took over the position of Vitaly Mutko as chairman of the LOC and now you are basically replacing the former president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and running for FIDE President. Do you feel like being a troubleshooter solving problems left by others?

AD: (laughs) Sometimes yes but more importantly I am bringing to any organisation all the experience and energy I have. I take all the best from people who worked before me. I took all the best from Vitaly and I am taking now all the best from Kirsan and I am also learning from the mistakes, it's normal. E.g. also the people who replaced me in the Russian government are taking the best from me but also correcting the mistakes that I maybe made. It's a normal process. Yes, I do have experience of, the continuation of project work not just routine work. And I think the project approach should be now taken to FIDE to change it.

Peterson and Dvorkovich

Macauley Peterson speaking with Dvorkovich in Biel | Photo: Willy Iclicki

Macauley Peterson: If you are elected FIDE President, what are the main specific changes that the chess world will see, say, after one year, and after four years?

AD: I’m going to start with some of the governance changes in FIDE, management practices including changing procedures for appointment of arbiters, appeals committee members, heads of commissions. I will shift all that to a merit-based system based on professional experience, and professional success stories, rather than on the personal attitude of people towards FIDE top management, like it is right now, unfortunately.

We will have to shift to long-term budgeting. We will have at least four-year budgets, so everyone will know what to expect in terms of support of development and support of tournaments, chess schools, for the four year period ahead. A program for which country with four years support and clear and transparent sponsorship both for FIDE itself and also locally for national federations from well-respected companies who I know very well since I was working in the government for a long time and I know all of the major national companies and many of them want to support chess if FIDE management will be transparent, efficient and responsible for what they are doing.

We will have to build capacity for better access to chess all across the world, including through the transformation of chess in schools program into a systemic one, not just pilot projects in some countries, but FIDE-driven as chess in schools program all across the world, first with some little countries, but we have to do this all across the world, with shifting focus a bit from just learning chess to making chess an instrument to improve education in general — a slightly different approach towards programs. We want kids to learn chess in order to improve math skills, intellectual skills in general, not just to play chess. And that’s a change that will allow us to also bring support from the public sector, from governments, for chess in schools, not just from the chess community, but from governments that are interested in the improvement of education systems in all countries. I believe that the important thing is to use modern technologies in chess, including IT platforms, and by doing this we can bring more people to chess and to make chess attractive to sponsors also, since if major companies will know that chess is not just for millions but for dozens of millions, it’s a completely different business model for companies who are using now IT platforms for businesses. And instead of taking money from kids, from the families as FIDE is doing right now, taking registration fees, entry fees, title fees, etc. — basically FIDE is now earning from chess, not giving to chess — the idea is to create the business model that will bring money into chess.

MP:  This sounds like you share some of the views on this topic with Nigel Short.

AD: That’s correct, we have many similar ideas. The difference between Nigel — great chess grandmaster — and myself is that I have management experience at a high level, and that’s important. I believe Nigel can serve very well for chess and hopefully, at some point, we will talk with him and discuss those ideas and whoever wins we have to work with a team in the end.

I want to bring top professionals into the management of chess, some players that are still very active, some are less active and depending on their activity in chess tournaments I can do more or less for the development of chess as well.

MP: Both of the campaigns of your opponents thus far have centred on depicting you as being sort of in the shadow of Ilyumzhinov or having too much ties with the Russian state apparatus. Can you clarify what is the role of Ilyumzhinov in your campaign?

AD: We were discussing some of the issues but there is no active role in the campaign. I’m building a team on a different basis, but I consulted with Kirsan regarding his experience in chess in general, and as far as some particular regions are concerned where he was more active — like in Asia for instance — I need to know how those federations live, he knows about this a lot and I learned from him many things, and he was giving me some advice, but it’s not an active role. No formal role. Actually, I’m trying to consult everyone who knows about chess more than myself, since I need this knowledge. I know a lot but not enough. So I need to learn about many things. I even had a three-hour conversation with Mr. Makropolous, and I think that was useful both for me and for him.

MP: Was that when you were in Bucharest?

AD: Exactly. And I believe that in the end, we should have a broader team than just a ticket or a ticket plus five people, it should be a team of dozens of people who believe in the same ideas, who support the same platform, and who can bring chess to a new level. There were some good things before, but many bad things before and we need to correct those and move forward.

Regarding the link to the Russian government, of course I have links since I worked for the Russian government and the presidential administration overall for 18 years, so of course all people know me, but I’m not getting any instructions either from the Kremlin or from the government since I’m not any more a part of that. Yes, they are supporting me, they know who I am and what I can do, but I’m not using their influence in the campaign and they are not giving me any instructions.

Georgios Souleidis: So you don’t fear that [Ilyumzhinov] can compromise you?

AD: But I also talk to Mr. Makropoulos getting his information. I think we all have to do everything possible for the good of FIDE and take our personal considerations out of the picture. What is good for FIDE is useful, what is not good for FIDE is useless and dangerous. Kirsan is not a formal member of my team but I talked to him because he was the president for 23 years.

FIDE 2018 Presidential board meeting

FIDE Treasurer Adrian Siegel, Deputy President Georgios Makropolous, and Dvorkovich | Photo: FIDE.com

Macauley Peterson:  In Bucharest, you proposed some kind of agreement on Fair Play principals. What would such an agreement look like and what was the reaction to that proposal in Bucharest?

AD: The basic idea was to avoid using resources that all the candidates have based on some of their previous experiments, especially Mr. Makropoulos being de facto the head of FIDE now, and I believe he is using his position very actively in the campaign — holding seminars and all kinds of stuff, basically to finance trips, and meeting people and giving also financing to people to federations. And on my side also, symmetrically, avoiding using my former political resources. So we should not use those resources on both sides. And only if it is symmetric could we have a fair campaign. But he declined.

MP:  When I spoke to Malcolm Pein about this particular topic, I asked what is the mechanism to ensure that you don’t have FIDE funds being spent on campaign issues, and he said that would be the audit of the Verification Committee.

AD: Afterwards?

MP: There might be some time lag but presumably they —

AD: — They are doing this now. It’s not about auditing — if you increase the number of seminars, basically triple the number of seminars just on the eve of the elections that’s just a way to travel and talk to people, that’s clear. Formally any audit commission can say, yes all those things are legal — you can arrange seminars, you can hold seminars, but usually when people run an election especially in such an organisation as FIDE they go on vacation. You should take leave and the federation can be managed by people who are not running — it’s a clear conflict of interest.

MP: So if the Verification Committee is not a good mechanism what would the agreement you’re proposing look like — it sounded more like a gentleman’s agreement.

AD: To take a leave of absence for two months and campaign on an independent basis using personal resources, not administrative capacity that is in your hands, basically.

MP: And how would you be able to stipulate that you were not using Russian state resources in some capacity?

AD: Well, yes, it is a gentleman’s agreement, yes that’s true. And some point if they would catch me that I use something, then that would be a break of the agreement. The same from my side towards him — if I would catch him it should lead to negative consequences for the reputation and for further campaigning. So as simple as that.

Georgios Souleidis: Your father was a well-known international arbiter, who is also honoured with a regular open tournament in his birthplace Taganrog, and he also organised tournaments where Garri Kasparov participated...

AD: My father was formerly part of his team in the world championship...

GS: Do you still have any connection to the former World Champion?

AD: The last time I met him was I think eight years ago for just a couple of minutes in Moscow. Back in the 90s yes we were talking to each other on some occasions and back in the 80s when I was young we met yes. I believe he is a great chess player, a great champion but he could bring much more to chess. Let's put it this way.

GS: Apropos Kasparov — and I quote him now — he said: "I don´t think you can say that Arkady Dvorkovich decided to run for FIDE President. He was probably told to do so. That's how things work in authoritarian regimes". Is he right and how big is the influence of your country's leadership?

AD: I've read this but he is completely wrong. I made the decision without any influence from either the Kremlin or the government. They were surprised both Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev that I am willing to run for FIDE President. They were not thinking about that. I told them that I want to run and they said that it is a good idea. And Mr. Putin recently publicly wished me good luck in that project.

Dvorkovich and Putin

Dvorkovich with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Alexander Zhukov | Photo: Kremlin.ru

GS: So what is your personal motivation to run for FIDE president?

AD: I will mention three things:

  1. Family tradition. What my father did in his life is very important to me and I want to follow up.
  2. I really believe that FIDE requires a big change, a radical change in management, finance, in marketing and the development of chess around the world and I don't think that the current team can do it. And Nigel is a good chess player but he doesn't have sufficient management experience to do this.
  3. I believe that I have experience, knowledge and energy to do that. Also, I don't think that the connection to the government is a bad thing for chess. We do need partnerships for FIDE and local governments all around the world in order to develop chess and my experience and connections in the government sector are important for chess.

GS: You have mentioned your connection to the government. In the West, many people are worrying that the influence of Russia within FIDE is too big and that FIDE depends too much on Russia, especially financially.

AD: I fully agree with that. We need to diversify...

GS: Many tournaments without Russia, like the World Championship Match 2012 in Moscow and 2014 in Sochi but also the candidates 2014 in Khanty Mansiysk and 2016 in Moscow maybe wouldn't have taken place. What is your view on this problem and how would you like to change this?

AD: I think it's a bad idea to reduce the financing from Russia. It's not good. And unfortunately if the current team will stay the financing will go down since Russian sponsors do not like how things are done in FIDE and it's not transparent and they are not getting benefits. If we are talking about sponsorship you need to get something from what you do. If it is charity, you don't require anything, but if it is sponsorship — the companies they are not getting anything from FIDE now. I don't think we need to reduce this, we need to increase the other part, financing from other sponsors, other countries, other companies and as I was responsible in the Russian government for investment projects in the infrastructure and industrial sector I know persons of all major international companies. We have very good relationships with many of them and I have discussed the development of chess already with some of them. They are ready to support chess but they want very transparent and efficient teams within FIDE to do that. They want to come, so we will keep the Russian financing but we will on top of that have other financing.

GS: Can you be more specific regarding the companies you have talked about?

AD: Well we don't have any contract obligations now as I am not in FIDE yet but I can give just one example: Renault is now supporting chess in Russia and of course, they are thinking about what to do next. We had some discussions about the support of chess and all kind of companies that I am talking about. We have some telecommunication companies who are willing to support chess, we have some companies who support other sports including football who want also to provide sponsorship for chess. We are talking about different volumes of course. In football, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars and in chess, we are talking about millions of dollars, so it's a different dimension. They are willing to do so but they need to understand what they get in return. Visibility and new business models.  

GS: The political relations between Russia and the west are difficult, to put it mildly. Do you think chess can help to improve the situation?

AD: Any non-official activities done in a consistent way whether it's cultural, educational, sports or a combination of many things can improve both personal and official relationships. That's what we are trying to do and I think chess can play a part. I know that when we started doing much more in football or ice hockey that helped personal contacts and new connections and that improved overall background and climate for political relationships. It works with time, it doesn't happen overnight [snaps his fingers] but it helps. And I will stress that Russia doesn't need FIDE to be influenced and controlled by Russia. It's not the case. Russia needs strong international bodies, strong international organisations that serve the interests of all members and all countries. Only in this way can we establish trust between Russia and other countries. If Russia controls something there will be no good impact —

GS: —Is this your personal opinion?

AD: It's not only my opinion. It's the opinion of the Russian government. We need strong United Nations, we need a strong International Olympic Committee and not a weak like in the last few years. We need strong international organisations in many fields that create level playing fields for everyone, which create fair play conditions for everyone. That's our strong belief.

Dvorkovich in Biel 2018

GS: Let's come to the elections. 64 countries nominated Georgios Makropoulos, 13 countries nominated you and 6 countries nominated Nigel Short as a candidate for FIDE President. From outside these numbers seem like an indicator for the upcoming elections. Do you agree?

AD: I completely disagree. Formally five countries were required to nominate me and I said just let's get five countries and let's not speed up things. People told me we should have a few more just for safety — so if somebody in the last moment will take the nomination out. We could do more than 13 but we didn't set this goal by the 3rd of July when we had to submit our bid. First, I wasn't trying to maximise numbers — it was not my goal. Now we are getting more and more support. Second, I don't believe that 64 is the real number of support [for Makropolous]. Maybe people gave his support to Mr. Makropoulos but as far as the elections are concerned I already had discussions with some of the federations and they will continue thinking. 64 nominations don't mean that they will vote for Mr. Makropoulos. I think we have a very intensive campaign from all sides and it's going to be a tough thing to win for anyone.

GS: A typical strategy nowadays during the time of electoral campaigns professional PR is to accuse opponents via social media channels. On a general note, do you think this is the right strategy for you to win the election?

AD: I proposed to Mr. Makropoulos to do a fair play campaign. He declined it and started allegations almost immediately and I had to tell what I think about what he is doing. Hopefully, we will be able to avoid a dirty [campaign] because I don't like this. But if I considered something wrong I should say that it is wrong. I don't think I should hide the truth and tell the people the truth.

Macauley Peterson:  Recently Makropolous’ team has implied that your invitation to delegates to the World Cup is connected with your campaign. Why did you invite the 15 people to the World Cup? What other explanation would there be for it?

AD: I invited to the World Cup many many people in my capacity as the chairman of the organising committee: political friends, businessman, ice hockey players, tennis players, chess players also — like I invited, for instance, Magnus, he could not go because of preparation for Biel and other tournaments — and I tried to invite also people from the chess community in general. Some of them showed interest over that, some not, and I never asked them for a vote or support in return for the invitation. I just believe that the World Cup is an event that is worth visiting for any football lover all around the world, especially for those people who never had a chance to do that — in distant locations, in the least developed countries. People in Europe could go to many tournaments already. Germany and France and other countries. When we are talking about Africa — yes we had the World Cup in South Africa, but how many Africans could go there — and I thought it’s a good idea to invite them and I asked them to give me a hint on what is happening in the chess world. I didn’t ask them to give me a vote, I was just learning from them what’s going on around the world.

MP:  Did you meet with them one on one?

AD: No. Well some of them came individually, some of them in a group and we had half an hour meeting and then they went to the football game and left Russia. I just thought it’s a good opportunity for them to visit Russia, get familiar with the country and go to a football game without anything related to the electoral stuff.

MP:  So you weren’t concerned that it would at least appear to be an attempt to curry favour.

AD: First of all, that happened mostly after our meeting with Makropoulos when I asked him not to do the same. He declined. I said well, then you should know, and I told him, that I’m going to invite people to the World Cup and I believe it’s just a symmetric thing to what you are doing. But I don’t believe there is anything illegal there — the same about seminars FIDE is providing now — there is nothing illegal here. The invitations were also all legal, transparent, I didn’t do anything wrong.

MP:  And you even previewed this to Makropolous in Bucharest?

AD: Yes. If we could agree on the rules maybe I could avoid it, but again it’s more about informal interpretation of that rather than about legal/illegal. There was certainly no corruption, no bribing here whatsoever.

Georgios Souleidis: What is your view on FIDE's contract with Agon and would you continue the cooperation with them?

AD: I didn't see the contract so it's hard to say what will happen. It's both a legal issue and issue of substance. I think any contract should include performance criteria: Quality, visibility and benefits for FIDE and sponsors. And if any company, whether it's Agon or anyone else performs up to this criteria, they can stay, if not, they should be out. So you have to review that. I heard from many people that they are not satisfied so any president who will be elected has to review the situation. I don't think it should affect the London Championship. It's dangerous to touch it because it's very close already but after, we should review the situation and we should establish a clear, transparent championship cycle of the same type for the ladies as well. It's very important.

Macauley Peterson:  Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has had a storied history with Agon and its ownership and also with Ilya Merenzon. In fact, that was instrumental in his split with Makropolous over the past year. What’s your relationship with Merenzon?

AD: We met five to seven times, mostly during the matches, and also recently a couple of times. He explained to me what they are doing but he didn’t show me the contract. I visited a few games. I think the organisation was reasonable but they could do better, much better than they did. There is huge room for improvement. I organised myself with my team, and with the Russian Chess Federation, the Championship match in Sochi — Magnus and Vishy in 2014 — and many people think that it was a good one, in many respects better than the subsequent tournaments.

MP:  And there you were working together in some sense.

AD: They were responsible for the design and for some other elements of the tournament, but they were not responsible for the organisation of the tournament. We were responsible for the organisation. Again, if they can show in London that they can do things much better maybe we can stay with it, but they have to prove.

I will follow how the preparations are going. I’m in close contact with some of the sponsors of the tournament — they want it to be a success of course and they want to get the maximum out of it, both quality and visibility in particular.

MP:  It’s apparent that the sponsors of the events in recent years have been the same ones that are also the sponsors of the Russian Chess Federation.

AD: I think about 80% of FIDE money is coming from Russia.

MP:  But is it really FIDE money or it’s going into the —

AD: — It’s Russian, it’s sponsors money —

MP:  — Right, but they are going to the events —

AD: — But FIDE is getting 20% of the prize fund so most of the money is coming from those resources or FIDE is earning from people, from kids, from parents, from kids tournaments — FIDE is just taking money from the families — not giving money but taking money. Organisers of FIDE tournaments are booking hotels and getting I think 100% profits from hotel bookings, again from parents, from kids, from young people. I think we should just stop it as soon as possible. The next day after I come I will just stop this practice. It’s not suitable to take money from chess players, you have to give money to them.

MP:  But in terms of the World Championship, do you have the impression that businesses like PhosAgro are in it out of their affinity for chess or they expect a return on investment.

AD: They like chess as an intellectual activity, as an intellectual sport, a combination of sport, science, art — they love chess — but it’s also part of business, it’s part of visibility of any company, good corporate citizenship in Russia and also the countries that host the big tournaments. They want to be visible, but to be visible they need high-quality work from organisers. They need the job to be done at a really professional level — but it’s a part of business also, not just charity. Partially it’s charity also, but only partially.

MP:  I wonder if I can prevail upon your Russian business expertise. When a Russian company wants to sponsor a chess event like the World Championship in the UK, can’t they just write a check [i.e. make a normal bank transfer] to World Chess PLC — I mean how does their sponsorship practically occur? What we have now with World Chess PLC in the UK is there are shares owned nearly 100% by Ilya Merenzon. But a fraction of them are transferred to a Cyprus-based company called ArnoInvest Holdings and those shares are assigned a value — which is not the nominal value — but €404 euros (PDF) — a very specific amount — which makes those shares worth about €2 million — about the cost of organising the match. Is this a normal way of funding the event?

AD: No, in Russian tournaments usually we do this through the Russian Chess Federation. The funding goes to the RCF and the RCF organises the tournament and also pays for advertising and stuff like that to give benefits to sponsors in this way, through advertisements or marketing activities, and it’s very transparent. They report to the sponsors what they did with everything, very visible and clean. There are not financial schemes involved at all. I don’t know the reasons, maybe it’s related to taxation or something else, but again I didn’t see the contract.

MP:  There’s no way to know whether the ownership of the Cyprus company is related in any way to the commercial sponsors.

AD: We have no idea — in Russia, we don’t do that.

MP:  But you’re saying if you are PhosAgro [the leading sponsor of recent World Chess organised events -Ed.] or someone, and you’ve already declared that you want to sponsor an event, there wouldn’t be any reason why you wanted to go through some Cyprus company to do so, is there?

AD: I didn’t discuss financial details with the companies…[at his point Willy Iclicky who was present throughout the interview suggested that members of the FIDE Presidential board would be the ones to shed light on details of any FIDE agreements with Agon -Ed.] I think the most important thing is not the contract or the structure, but, again, the quality of the organisation, the visibility of chess, the visibility of great chess players, chess champions, candidates, other players who are present around, and the ability of companies who support chess, getting kids around, role models in chess, all those things are being done, and then the contract details are some minor things. But if all those things are not being done, then you have to look at the contract, and what is in it.

MP:  Do you yourself have any kids who are playing?

AD: Well, I have three boys, one is too small to play but they elder ones they can play — well they know how to move the pieces.

MP:  It sounds like you have some enthusiasm for the scholastic side of chess.

AD: I think it’s really important. Chess in schools makes the whole education process better. It’s proven even scientifically that when kids learn chess in the primary school they have better results in education.

MP:  My impression of FIDE’s project Chess in Schools is that operated very slowly and not really achieved very much.

AD: I agree with that. To make it really efficient, you need to have a real public-private partnership. You need FIDE as the driver of the process, you need governments as partners and private companies as charity providers for local communities to propel that. So only if you combine all three — and national federations of course — only if you combine those sectors can you really achieve systemic results in a much better level.

MP:  Do you see any model, either federations or regions that are doing a particularly good job that you would look to?

AD: I’m now studying the experience of some countries. I know that Turkey had some good results. The Russian regions had really good results: Rostov, Khanty-Mansiysk, Tomsk, a few others. I heard there are good results in Central and Eastern Europe, in Slovakia. Uzbekistan is a great example — I just visited the chess academy in Tashkent, it’s huge, it’s amazing. They have really good results. They didn’t cover the whole country, they have programs in major cities, but I think they’re moving really fast and maybe in two or three years they will cover the whole country and they will have many talents growing and playing. But it’s mostly the effect on the city in general, and every kid, but also really talented chess players arising from this system…you need to have at least one hour a week obligatory in the curriculum in the primary schools — the first two or three years. It’s one of those things I think every country needs. It’s not difficult — you have to train coaches, but for this kind of chess education you don’t need really professional ones, you need decently playing coaches more into kids psychology, training kids like as a game, not really teaching them, but making it as a game, to learn the basics and just getting them into chess, just loving the game.

Georgios Souleidis: You are now on tour for your electoral campaign. You have visited Uzbekistan than you went to Biel and Dortmund visiting two major tournaments. How does your schedule look like for the next months and which are your next stations?

AD: I will visit next week Africa and Latin America. Then I will come back to Europe and then I will go to Asia as well, in August.

GS: Which places are you exactly going to visit?

AD: I will visit Johannesburg, then to Brazil, Peru and Jamaica. Then we are now identifying the best locations where for further meetings.

Mr. Dvorkovich, thank you for the interview/conversation.


Georgios Souleidis is an International Master with a degree in media and communication studies. He is an experienced journalist, author, photographer, chess trainer, editor-in-chief for the German Bundesliga, YouTuber, a regular contributor to the chessbase website, German chess magazine SCHACH, and previously blogged on his own site entwicklungsvorsprung.de.


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