FIDE Elections: Putin congratulates Ilyumzhinov

8/16/2014 – "The election victory was a convincing evidence of the high esteem of your fruitful activity as the President of FIDE, well-deserved reputation in the global chess community," wrote Russia's President Vladimir Putin to the incumbent after his re-election. We bring you Ilyumzhinov's post-election statement, as well as a very stark one by Garry Kasparov. It's all about the future of chess.

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Vladimir Putin Congratulates Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on Reelection

The FIDE President received a congratulatory telegram on August 13 from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed his high appreciation for Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s earlier contributions to development of Russian and world chess.

Here is a translation of the telegram:


Moscow, 132/23008 118 13/8 1231=

The President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin congratulates Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on his re-election to the post of FIDE President.

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich!

Let me congratulate you on your re-election to the post of the FIDE President.

The election victory was a convincing evidence of the high esteem of your fruitful activity as the President of FIDE, well-deserved reputation in the global chess community. Largely thanks to you and your energy, competence, good knowledge of what you are doing - FIDE increases its uniting potential, makes a serious contribution to the organization of major tournaments and Championships, does much to the popularization of chess in our country and abroad.

I wish you success and all the best.

Vladimir Putin
President of Russian Federation

Friends for a decade: Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

FIDE President’s Statement

12 August 2014

Dear Friends, Dear Chess Enthusiasts!

Yesterday, I was re-elected as President of FIDE. 110 countries voted for me and I am grateful for their support. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us, and it will affect not only federations and professional chess players, because chess is more than federations: it’s over 500 million people around the world who play chess and respect its values – educational benefits, strategic thinking, intelligence and will to win.

In the next four years I plan to see chess complete its transformation from a centuries-old game into a modern and exciting sport and a strong educational platform. Chess is already installed on more than a billion devices – smartphones and computers. It’s a golden age for chess.

What are the chess fans to expect in the near future? An exciting World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand will take place in Sochi in November of 2014, and for the first time FIDE will put a lot of effort in making sure that it’s represented in social networks as well as on TV and online. You will be able to follow the match and witness how the greatest chess players prepare for the games and see each other, all via your mobile device and your favorite social network.

We have also developed and will provide federations with an innovative ‘chess in schools’ solution that includes a unique chess schoolbook with hundreds of illustrations, an interactive technology, ways to design the chess classrooms and other educational devices that will help children fall in love with chess. As always, I will be working with federations and country leaders to ensure that chess is becoming part of the school curriculum in the countries around the world.

Chess is a sport, and I will continue my efforts to include it in the Olympic family. Many countries already support chess as part of the Winter Olympic Games and I hope that soon chess will be an Olympic sport.

Chess is one of the most democratic sports, available to all. It does not require expensive equipment. Our job is to make it even more accessible in all counties, including the poorest regions of the world. It’s well known that chess fosters development of intellect, strategic and math skills – those that in turn foster economic prosperity of nations. In 2012 and 2013, I visited over a hundred countries. I am moved by the volume of invitations and intend to continue visiting countries as President of FIDE. In each country I try to work with ministries of education and sport to help with chess tournaments and develop ‘Chess in Schools programs’.

Working together with Federations, chess players and fans, we aim to make chess even more attractive for sponsors and partners whose values relate to those that a synonymous with chess. In this Presidential election, I had a formidable opponent – Garry Kasparov, the 13th World Chess Champion. Despite the contention, I told him and that’s what I believe: those who value and love chess are my friends. Therefore, I consider hundreds of millions of chess enthusiasts around the [truncated]

FIDE President
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Source: FIDE First election page

The Future of Chess, Not FIDE

August 14, 2014 07:30

When I announced my campaign for FIDE president on October 7 in Tallinn, I stated that my goal was to elevate our game to the very high level in the public mind where I believe it belongs. On August 11 here in Tromsø, I lost the election for FIDE president, but my campaign did a tremendous amount of work around the world to elevate chess. In those 307 days, an incredible team came together, from my FIDE ticket to federation officials to staffers and volunteers around the world. I could not be prouder of their hard work and true passion for chess and for helping others.

If the result of this election threatens to make me lose my optimism for the future of the chess world, thoughts of all these capable and compassionate people will bring it back. I also want to express my appreciation to all the fans who did what they could, from writing to their federations to being active on social media. We may not have changed FIDE but we have changed the world of chess for the better and will continue to do so. My thanks also to my generous sponsors and donors who made this ambitious global campaign possible.

My campaign was about expanding the horizons of the chess and securing its future, our future, in a world with ever-increasing competition for our attention. My themes were bringing sponsorship, education initiatives, and new technology into the game and empowering the national federations. I do not for one moment believe that this election result indicates a problem with this platform, or with the exemplary individuals on my ticket, or with our many successful activities. The sad conclusion is that working hard and having big ideas and investing millions of dollars for the global development of chess all has very little to do with winning a FIDE election today. It was this disastrous situation that my team and I set out to change.

I was never naïve, of course. I knew from the beginning that chess politics, especially in FIDE, had been steadily taken over by people who have little interest in the success of chess and chess players, but only in expanding their own power. I hoped that there was still a chance for a coalition of reform-minded federation leaders and others tired of broken promises and stagnation to reach a winning number of votes. The fact is that we fell far short and the result demonstrates that the rot is even deeper and more widespread than I believed back in October, or even on the morning of the election.

I used my candidate’s speech to the General Assembly to present my vision of a FIDE that supports the federations so that they may grow strong. No one could doubt the sponsorship plans I spoke of were real because they had seen them in action during my campaign. Ilyumzhinov then used his speech to mock me and to mock everyone who cares for chess with outlandish promises everyone in the room knew were lies before his words stopped echoing in the auditorium. I knew at that moment that speeches didn’t matter in this election, just like the promotion of chess doesn’t matter to this FIDE administration. Ilyumzhinov could say anything at all and his supporters would cheer. Their votes had been decided long ago and the well-being of chess was never a significant part of this decision.

I immediately regretted my peaceable and reassuring speech – and that I had spoken before Ilyumzhinov. How I would like those 15 minutes back to instead condemn the corruption that has poisoned our sport for nearly two decades and to heap shame on the delegates who are so eager to vote for their own interests instead of the interests of the chess players in their nations. Such a speech would likely not have earned me any more votes, but it would have been more honest and I would have felt better then and now.

I faced three main challenges in this campaign. First was the FIDE machinery, the abuse of power that made votes disappear and turned commissions into puppets. This was not a surprise, but I believed at the start that I had enough resources to overcome it and I probably did. There were two other factors I badly underestimated. I anticipated the Kremlin’s involvement but couldn’t imagine its extent or how susceptible Europe would be to it. Nor did I anticipate how resistant even many of the biggest federations are to change. They saw it as a threat and looked for excuses to maintain the status quo.

These last two factors in particular eroded the base I thought I had at the start, a base of anti-Kirsan, anti-corruption, pro-growth federations with democratic traditions and substantial numbers of chess players with interests to protect. Perhaps that base still exists, but it is very small now and nearly every federation is eager to do a little business with Ilyumzhinov’s emissaries come election year. I guaranteed money in exchange for effort and sponsorship in exchange for activity and events. It’s clear that many prefer money with no responsibilities and no activities, regardless of what this means for chess.

While Europe is becoming a lost continent, during this campaign I truly discovered Africa. I was so impressed by the players and teachers and leaders I have met from Abuja to Zanzibar! They aren’t afraid of change; they seek it out and fight hard for it at every step. Hard work is never wasted and while we did not win the day here in Tromsø, their passion is already transforming chess in Africa and soon it will transform the world and I will be proud to play a part. Our fight is not over. As Nelson Mandela wrote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Africa Rising!

It is fitting that the slogan on my posters here in Tromsø was “Kasparov: the future of chess” and not “the future of FIDE.” Eventually, growth and change in the chess world will change FIDE; it is clear that FIDE cannot change itself. More numbers and more effort will be needed at the grassroots level. Lovers of chess must become administrators of chess. I spoke often of building up the base of players to raise up the entire chess world and this is just as true in chess politics. More good people coming in will eventually push more bad people out. You can go and do it! Find a way to fight for chess! People must work in their chess communities and change their federations so that our great game has the representation it deserves.

My thanks again to all my team and supporters, and to our excellent hosts of the last two weeks here in Norway. The summer sun never sets in Tromsø and the sun will never set on the game of chess.

Garry Kasparov
14 Aug 2014
Tromsø, Norway

Source: Garry Kasparov election page

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casperradil casperradil 8/26/2014 07:52
When I speak to people not playing chess, they only know one chess player: Kasparov. Not electing Kasparov to FIDE president is yet another testimony to the stupidity and corruption within FIDE. This was a perhaps once in a century chance to get chess back to the glorius days (at least in my country) twenty years ago when playing chess was not something strange and nerdy.
AreYouReady AreYouReady 8/19/2014 11:14
Ilyumzhinov's election is an important and positive event in the chess world. It would have been a disaster to see Mr. Kasparov to be elected for FIDE presidency. There is very little positive impact made by Mr. Kasparov for the actual chessplayers. Ilyumzhinov is far from perfect, but he found money for the top tournaments and successfully worked to unite the chess world.
FAD FAD 8/19/2014 11:06
A quote from English Chess master Mason:

"He who takes a move back at chess will pick a Pocket"
billbrock billbrock 8/19/2014 03:13
If, as kamamura would have it, Kasparov is disqualified from FIDE office on account of the released piece in his game with Judit Polgar, what special dispensation was issued to Azmaiparashvili (who famously retracted a Fingerfehler in his 2003 European Championship game with Malakhov) so that he could be elected ECU President?
kurumban kurumban 8/18/2014 02:15
In politics, unlike in chess, the better man often loses.
kamamura kamamura 8/18/2014 01:47
LetsReason - on the contrary, for many countries, Putin is someone who stood up against the USA, an empire that has destroyed whole countries just to further their world dominance (Libya, Iraq), and installed puppet govts in others.
FAD FAD 8/18/2014 11:16
On the point of chess theory, his main acheivment seems to be "Kasparov on the KID"; the rest of his writings beeing mostly computer assisted analysis. still, even fischer had a more substasntial exposition of some theory of middle game in 60 memorable games.
Kasparov seems more of a commentator who looks for faults in previous encounters.
Dogmatism is his ennemy.
dunican dunican 8/18/2014 10:41
Does anybody know where I can find how each federation voted?
FAD FAD 8/18/2014 07:02
One Question :

What has Kasparov really done for chess and chess theory?
Mystical Mystical 8/18/2014 05:23
well, what can you say? congrats to Kirsan!
LetsReason LetsReason 8/17/2014 11:06
Seriously. For most of the world, if Putin publicly congratulates you and you seemed overjoyed by it, you are announcing that your organization is corrupt and questionable at best.

I come here a read about this because I am simply curious (like a bad reality TV show) what will be uncovered next in this lame organization. What a truly disgusting and corrupt organization FIDE must be.
daftarche daftarche 8/17/2014 10:47
Anyone makes mistakes including Kasparov. so since kasparov made a couple of mistakes some 20 years ago, does it mean he is not suitable for FIDE presidency now? Can you prove in game with Pulgar, he deliberately made that mistake? or his decision to separate from FIDE was because he wanted to fulfill his personal ambition?
kamamura kamamura 8/17/2014 10:31
No surprise, given Mr. Kasparov's political background and agenda. Third world countries are not blind, contrary to western opinion.

Now the current president is far from perfect, but I don't believe that the man that broke the chess world in two to further his personal ambition is a suitable FIDE president candidate. Plus there is always that violation of rules (dropping a piece and playing with it again) from the game against Polgar which I cannot personally forgive him.
vdpandit vdpandit 8/17/2014 09:17
Every chess lover must think in practical terms. We should not promote indiscipline. The game must remain bigger than the individuals. The moment an office bearer starts thinking that he or she is bigger than the game, the fall of the game will start. Just because someone is a big player, it does not guarantee he/she would be a good office bearer also.
ashperov ashperov 8/17/2014 08:06
why do we need these stupid federations. Just privatize chess. Players want strong competition and awesome prizes and venues.
tamtu tamtu 8/17/2014 04:17
Who sends telegrams in 2014? Email not cool enough?
VileCircuit VileCircuit 8/16/2014 11:50
This election was obviously rigged. FIDE is shit
Hamsuns Hamsuns 8/16/2014 11:50
Only one word: disgusting! Spare us please from putting these dictators on this nice website
semprun semprun 8/16/2014 08:28
I do not think Kasparov will do it this time (to break away from FIDE).

As Leontxo claims, it is pretty bizarre that Javier Ochoa has voted for Ilyumzhinov. It seems last good president was Olafsson... Still, Kasparov had a chance with the GMA (in 1989), but at the time, he was not prepared to compromise....
ChessHulk ChessHulk 8/16/2014 05:35
Based on some comments, I'm not sure if some of the readers are aware of the not-too-distant history of Kasparov's attempts to create a separate Chess organization - ten years ago!

pakka pakka pakka pakka 8/16/2014 04:04
As long as chessplayers are and will be member of FIDE Ilyumzhinov has nothing to fear.
VGerber VGerber 8/16/2014 03:34
The Western federations are a big shame for their countries. Just as Kasparov and Karpov, they seem to be completely unable to penetrate Ilyumzhinov’s strategy to remain in power. Instead of developing a vision for an independent organization, they are again and again ridiculed by the criminal intelligence of the Russian administration. While the democratic community of states imposes sanctions against the Russian warlords the delegates of our federations remain powerless pawns in an organization that enthrones them.
I fully agree with @Omoplata. With the FIDE voting system (one vote per federation) "our" only chance is to start something new. We have the better system, we would create the better results. Why Garry doesn't try to be at the spearhead of the movement without the post of a president with all its advantages. The gain in credibility would help him to further develop and to finally become the real headman of the chess community.
Omoplata Omoplata 8/16/2014 02:45
Another dark age for chess for the sake of a few greedy beaurocrats; can't they make their money some other way? There must be better opportunities for corruption for them in other fields, but maybe they are too lazy.

Professional chess missed out on a golden opportunity with Kasparov; respect to him for all his efforts. I wish Kasparov could create a rival chess organisation just like there are rival organisations in boxing and darts etc. Winning western sponsors that wouldn't touch FIDE with a barge pole, I can't see how FIDE could compete in the long run.
TMM TMM 8/16/2014 02:27
At the top it reads "...wrote Russia's President Boris Putin...", I suppose that's a typo.

On-topic: I'm a bit confused why Kasparov says "Europe is becoming a lost continent." Are the votes of the elections public? And did a majority of European countries really vote for Kirsan? Or what else does he mean by that?