Stalemate in the FIDE power struggle?

by Frederic Friedel
4/10/2017 – After the turmoil of the past weeks – the official FIDE web site announced the resignation of its President, followed within hours by emphatic denials from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov – an Extraordinary Presidential Board meeting was held in Athens today. It was attended by Ilyumzhinov, Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, and fourteen other voting members, representing a quorum. Ilyumzhinov apologized for making certain statements, and seems to remain in power. FIDE press release.

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Athens, 10th April 2017

An Extraordinary Presidential Board meeting was held in Athens on Monday 10th April 2017.

Present for the meeting were Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President and Mr Georgios Makropoulos, Deputy President, together with fourteen other voting board members, representing a quorum. Also present were FIDE Honorary Vice-Presidents and Senior FIDE Executives.

1. Legality of meeting

Based on legal opinion presented to the EPB, the Board unanimously confirmed the legality of the meeting.

2. Powers delegated to the FIDE Deputy President by the FIDE Presidential Board

Legal opinion was again presented and the Board unanimously reconfirmed its decision of 6th December 2015 and is reproduced hereunder:

“Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s decision to withdraw from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE is to enable him to concentrate on clearing the situation with the US Department of the Treasury.

Until further notice, under section A.9.5 of the FIDE Statutes, if the President: “duly authorises, then he can be represented by the Deputy President who shall exercise the powers of the President. The Deputy President can thus represent FIDE officially and can solely sign for FIDE.” Therefore Mr. Makropoulos will now be exercising these powers and representing FIDE officially.

Mr. Ilyumzhinov advised that he has initiated legal procedures in the US aiming to request additional information and reverse restrictive measures put by the US Department of the Treasury. During the next Presidential Board meeting, Mr. Ilyumzhinov will update the Board as to the progress of the legal procedures.

In the circumstances, the Board also approved the removal of Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s name from the trade register of Canton Vaud, and the removal of his name from all documents with UBS Bank”.

Also the Board decided that the Powers of the FIDE President, as described in Chapter 9 of the FIDE Statutes and is reproduced hereunder, are fully delegated to the FIDE Deputy President:

“Chapter 09 - The President and Deputy President

9.1. The President represents FIDE officially and can solely sign for FIDE. All contracts signed by the President shall be subject to prior approval or subsequent ratification by the Presidential Board. Any contract that commits FIDE to an obligation or exposes FIDE to a potential liability of more than €100,000 must be submitted for ratification by the Executive Board or General Assembly.

9.2. The President presides over the meetings of the General Assembly, the Executive Board and the Presidential Board.

9.3. The President presents an annual report to the General Assembly.

9.4. The President’s decisions may be appealed to the General Assembly, Executive Board or Presidential Board.

9.5. If the President is unable to act or if he duly authorises, then he can be represented by the Deputy President who shall exercise the powers of the President. The Deputy President can thus represent FIDE officially and can solely sign for FIDE.

9.6. In certain cases the FIDE President can also delegate specific tasks to other persons; this includes authorising in writing other FIDE officials to sign contracts on his behalf.”

3. Statement of Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov regarding revocation of his powers

Mr Ilyumzhinov withdrew his statement of 6 April regarding the revocation of his powers.

4. Resignation of Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Mr Ilyumzhinov explained that in the previous board meeting he had emotionally expressed his desire to resign but he now felt that he had more time to contribute to Chess.

Mr Makropoulos and several board members then commented on the current situation. It was clear that nobody during the FIDE PB of March 26th 2017 had asked for his resignation nor did they make any calls for his removal from office.

Mr Makropoulos stated that FIDE always wants to maintain excellent relations with the Russian Chess Federation, which may not have had complete information regarding the present situation.

5. Misleading Statements to the media by Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Mr Ilyumzhinov apologised for making statements regarding FIDE Presidential Board members and FIDE Executives.

It was unanimously agreed by the Board that no statements would be made on behalf of FIDE, or purporting to represent FIDE, unless such statements are made with prior approval of the FIDE Secretariat.

It was also unanimously agreed that everyone would co-operate productively for the good of FIDE, National chess federations and the worldwide chess community.


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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chessta chessta 4/23/2017 11:29
Maybe it's well past time to set up an alternative federation?
johan1234 johan1234 4/12/2017 06:59
Everybody else will be the same, so this does not represent any kind of a real change.
daniel64 daniel64 4/12/2017 10:30
Kirsan himself claims he said "If I am doing something wrong for FIDE I will resign". Stating this almost 19 years after the murder of Larisa Yudina and about a decade (?) after being allegedly abducted by aliens indicates either extreme cynicism, or that he is living in some parallel reality. Resignation is of course very long overdue; calvinamari is spot on!
calvinamari calvinamari 4/12/2017 04:32
Translation: you're an internationally recognized profiteering crook who has used FIDE for personal gain and who now materially cripples its mission by your mere presence, but the Russian federation wants to maintain you as its representative stooge so as to continue to use FIDE as a front organization for it own nefarious purposes, both chess and otherwise.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 4/11/2017 05:16
I don't know why Chessbase is calling this a "Stalemate". If Kirsan has succeeded in staying in office and the Board has failed to hold him to his resignation, then Kirsan has won and the Board has lost. This is no more a draw than the Black Knight's battle with King Arthur.
Chessspawnvt Chessspawnvt 4/11/2017 01:41
@exo: The problem for FIDE centers on Kirsan's financial interests in FIDE projects such as Agon, Ltd. Despite denying that he has a financial interest in Agon and other entities, it appears that he does have interests that put at risk any sponsor dealing with FIDE due to the sanctions. This doesn't matter much to Russian oligarchs who might be FIDE financial backers as many of them are also on the Treasury Department's sancions list. Potential Western sponsors have much to lose associaing with Kirsan and/or FIDE.
ex0 ex0 4/11/2017 12:07
Why would all FIDE board members go jail in the US just because Kirsan stepped down as pres in order to free up FIDE?

US sanctioned Kirsan, not FIDE, no..? Yes, it's very transparent because there's nothing unethical and i'm guessing nothing illegal about it. What's pathetic is you hating on FIDE/Kirsan for no reason and just taking the US's side. What are the sanctions even about? Just the US playing geopolitics with Russia, no? They can't do anything to Putin, so they go after all his friends/family etc. THAT'S what's pathetic. Not them doing something obvious which everyone would also do if they could..
Aighearach Aighearach 4/11/2017 11:05
If he is still in control, but they're taking his name off the paperwork as a (very) transparent attempt to avoid US sanctions, then the other board members can expect to end up in a US prison. Truly pathetic.
AWSoP AWSoP 4/11/2017 08:22
@mitfit: both won't do it so there is no hope....
radegoist radegoist 4/11/2017 08:22
The whole situation has become farcical.
Chessspawnvt Chessspawnvt 4/11/2017 12:30
Stalemate? No. A continuing, sordid saga? Yes. This is about money, which is to say, FIDE power. Reasserting the removal of the FIDE President from active exercise of presidential powers pending resolution of his US Dept. of the Treasury sanctions problem merely buys time for FIDE to see if it can function effectively in a financial sense. Clearly, it has become quite disfunctional absent the President's actually stepping out of the spotlight. I doubt that Kirsan will be able to quietly pursue his non-existent legal action in the US courts to lift sanctions.
Hopefully, some of the major Western and Americas federations (Is it too much to hope for India and China joining the good guys?)break away and form a new organization with better funding than that which FIDE presently has. That would leave the chess world with a functional new organization and a dysfunctional Neo-Russian Empire Chess Federation.
mitfit mitfit 4/11/2017 12:20
What do we want more? For Kirsan or for Trump to resign?