In a statement to Chess.com, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov today announced that he will be running for FIDE president again in 2018.
"One billion people playing chess" continues to be his motto.
"Today I was analyzing everything that has happened, and I have decided to run for another term as FIDE president," Ilyumzhinov told Chess.com on Tuesday. "I want to continue uniting the chess world. I will be working towards my goal to have one billion people playing chess."
Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Ilyumzhinov's decision comes a week after the extraordinary presidential board meeting, on April 10 in Athens. There, the other board members confirmed once again that if the U.S. sanctions against Ilyumzhinov remain in place, his candidacy in 2018 will be highly problematic.
Right after the meeting, FIDE's deputy president Georgios Makropoulos also made a statement to Chess.com.
"It is clear that we have serious problems because of the sanctions. A lot of western sponsors are very skeptical to deal with FIDE. And I don't think the sanctions can be removed," he said.
Ilyumzhinov, however, remains optimistic. "I have my friends, I have my lawyers. I will talk to them. I am 100 percent confident that the situation will be resolved."
The meeting in Athens took place after Ilyumzhinov had announced his resignation as FIDE president two weeks earlier in another meeting, also in Athens. This was claimed by board members, and announced on the FIDE website, but then Ilyumzhinov denied that he was stepping down.
It was suggested that a coup was taking place in FIDE, but the April 10 meeting was surprisingly peaceful. The result was that Ilyumzhinov was still the FIDE president, but with less power.
Until the elections in 2018, it's Makropoulos who can now represent FIDE officially, solely sign for FIDE, and preside over the meetings of the general assembly, the executive board and the presidential board.
In the period between the two meetings in Athens, many open letters were published. In one, Ilyumzhinov announced a new, $30 million investment in chess.
Asked about the $20 million that he announced in Tromsø in 2014 (which never materialized), the FIDE president claimed that this money has been used for top tournaments. "Since 2014 I have organized or helped [organize] Grand[s] Prix, Candidates' tournaments and world championship matches."
Ilyumzhinov will not rule out working with Makropoulos again after 2018. "I am open to anyone. I am a buddhist," he said.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. | Photo: David Llada.
Update 19 April
Makropoulos provided comments to some of Ilyumzhinov's statements. About the $20 million spent on top events, he said: "I suppose neither Garry [Kasparov] when he was promising 10 million for FIDE, nor Kirsan who re-raised him at 20 millions, included in those money the cost of world championship cycle events. In any case, for this money FIDE has a business partner which is Agon."
About the U.S. sanctions, he said: "At the last meeting of the Presidential Board, it was a unanimous conclusion of the members that Kirsan should not run in the next elections. This opinion had already been expressed by several Presidential Board members during the General Assembly in Baku 2016—except myself—I remember clearly Israel Gelfer and Jorge Vega.
"To be frank, I do not know anyone of the Presidential Board members with voting right, who has today a different opinion. Anyone. So, it is rather unlikely that someone of us would support Kirsan in the next elections.
"Unfortunately, today the problem is not only the U.S. sanctions against Kirsan, but also his rather severe offense of misleading the Russian media and authorities concerning the facts which occurred during the Presidential Board meeting on the 26th of March.
About Ilyumzhinov running again for FIDE President, Makropoulos duly said: "I wish him good luck."