November 16

Kremlin lieutenant elected head of world chess governing body

first_imgAn influential Russian bureaucrat has been elected the head of the world chess governing body after a brutal election campaign that saw accusations of Kremlin meddling and vote-rigging.Arkady Dvorkovich, former Russian deputy prime minister for six years and close associate of the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, won a vote in Batumi, Georgia, after the British grandmaster Nigel Short dropped out of the race and pushed his support in the Russian’s favour.The win anointed FIDE’s first new president in more than 20 years, after the eccentric Russian millionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was ousted. He had been sanctioned by the United States for his close relations with dictators, including Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Chess insiders claim the sport has been plagued by corrupt dealings that have limited its growth.Dvorkovich, in a short speech following his 103 to 78 victory, promised “a professional, efficient and transparent institution,” according to He largely ran on a technocratic campaign, citing a tradition of elite chess in his family as the source of his interest in the post.But the presidency did appear a small fry ambition for a Kremlin lieutenant who had managed Russia’s economy and chaired the organising committee for Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.His opponent, acting FIDE president Georgios Makropoulos, had accused Dvorkovich of using Russia’s diplomatic power to mount a campaign to take control of the sport.Vladimir Putin encouraged the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a private meeting to persuade his chess officials to vote for Dvorkovich, according to a letter from the Israeli foreign minister seen by the Guardian.Other European chess officials told the Guardian about meetings with diplomatic officials to support Dvorkovich’s campaign. Dvorkovich had said that the lobbying efforts did not violate FIDE rules.Each country’s federation is given one vote in FIDE elections. Dvorkovich’s camp had made accusations that the current chess leadership could use its administrative resources to curry votes.The wildcard in the election was Nigel Short, a chess grandmaster who ran on an anti-corruption campaign but had riled many in the sport. Among his incendiary quotes was a remark that men were “hardwired” to play chess, as opposed to women.Nonetheless, Short had attracted significant levels of support. But in a surprise move on the final day, he withdrew from the election and threw his support behind Dvorkovich’s campaign.“You’re being milked by a very poor administration. It’s ‘Makroeconomics,’” Short said, according to He then dropped out of the race. Share on Messenger Who will be king? Three-way battle for control rocks international chess Share on Pinterest Europe Since you’re here… Russia Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian Share on WhatsAppcenter_img Topics Share on Facebook Share via Email news Read more Chess Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this contentlast_img read more