Arkady Dvorkovich: 'FIDE Is Not In The Position To Fulfill Its Role'
Arkady Dvorkovich. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Arkady Dvorkovich: 'FIDE Is Not In The Position To Fulfill Its Role'

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jul 27, 2018, 3:01 AM |
30 | Chess Politics

Last week, Chess.com sat down with FIDE presidential candidate Arkady Dvorkovich, to find out his plans for the future of chess. The recent allegations of bribery was an important topic.

All photos © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Dvorkovich runs for FIDE president along with Bachar Kouatly (France) as Deputy President, Sewa Enyonam Fumey (Togo) as General Secretary, Mahir Mammedov (Azerbaijan) as Vice President, Julio Granda Zuniga (Peru) as Vice President and Zhu Chen (Qatar) as Treasurer.

As a former Deputy Prime Minister and a former Assistant to the President in the Russian government, Dvorkovich has plenty of experience as a politician. He is also a chess lover and held an official position in the Russian Chess Federation between 2007 and 2014. His father was a well-known international chess arbiter.

Chess.com met with Dvorkovich in the Central Chess Club in Moscow on Thursday, July 19. It was only a few days after the FIFA World Cup had finished.

You just finished your work as chairman of the local organising committee of the FIFA World Cup here in Russia. First, tell us about that.

The whole World Cup in Russia was kind of a dream come true. We were hoping to host the World Cup for many, many years with many bids, losing the bids but eventually winning. The preparation took eight years, building stadiums, preparing infrastructure and also operational capacity to host the World Cup. Finally we did it.

I was involved earlier, in 2015, but I was appointed to the local organising committee only recently, in March, exactly at the point in time when we had to start the operational activity, such as hosting guests, security, holding the matches, everything. I came at that point, and had a great team. We hired a few hundred people more than was planned, and we did it.

Football has been one of my big hobbies throughout my life, probably second after chess, so I was really happy about this appointment. I could not reject it. Just watching the games, but also being part of this process from the inside, was a great experience.

"Football has been one of my big hobbies throughout my life, probably second after chess, so I was really happy about this appointment. I could not reject it."

It’s the biggest event in the world probably; bigger than the Olympics, bigger than summits, conferences, bigger than anything. Being the chairman of the local organising committee in partnership with such an experienced organisation as FIFA is a huge thing for me. I learnt a lot and as a part of our team I proved that we can do big things, we can put people and resources together and provide results. Most people believe this World Cup was the most successful in history and I think probably that’s the truth.

An important thing was also that I was able to get in touch with people, companies, partners that may serve for the future development of FIDE as well. We have been discussing some of those things already.

Yes, you said at a press conference last week that FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed his interest in cooperation with FIDE if you win the elections. How do you see a cooperation between FIDE and FIFA?

I believe this partnership can bring a lot to chess, and also to FIFA. One idea is cross-activities, for example inviting football players to chess events as role models for kids. With sports you can achieve lots of things. And the same from chess to football: in football academies we should have chess schools, a chess component that will help young football players to improve their intellectual capacity, to learn other things, to improve their education in general.

The second pillar is to join the infrastructure. I believe we will save resources if we will locate chess federations in the same places as football federations in particular countries. This way we will save money on lease, and other things.

And third: the same partners who work with FIFA can think about supporting chess. Many of them would wish to do that. Not with the same amount of resources of course; football requires much more, but even small amounts will help chess a lot. FIFA has long-standing sponsors; they have established long-term relationships by being transparent, providing good services to their sponsors… We can transfer this knowledge to FIDE: how to work with sponsors, marketing experience, how to approach sponsors with the same attitude: providing long-term benefits to the sponsors.

And we can get some people even, from FIFA. I think there is a chance to get high-class professionals from the management of FIFA and national federations into chess, to help FIDE and national federations to improve. People can really bring new experience, new knowledge to chess.

Somewhere mid-June you announced that you will run for FIDE President. Garry Kasparov tweeted: “I don't think you can say that Arkady Dvorkovich 'decided' to run for FIDE President. He was probably was told to do so. That's how things work in authoritarian regimes.” You yourself said: “I decided to nominate myself for the post of FIDE president after consulting with the country's leadership, the Russian Chess Federation and the international chess community.” To what extent was this a personal decision?

I started thinking about nominating myself as FIDE President back in November or December. I was discussing this with my friends, colleagues and also with my direct bosses. The reason is very simple: I had a clear commitment to work until May 7, when the presidential term would end, and a newly elected president was coming to power. That was a clear obligation from my side, and I am not breaking my commitments, ever. So I had to work until May 7. Then I was thinking about the FIDE presidency in March, and about campaigning, but the government service told me to finish my job first. So I was already intending to run even before, but I couldn’t do this openly. As soon as I finished my term in the government, I started making statements that I am thinking about going to FIDE. But because I was spending 99 percent of my days for the World Cup, I could not start campaigning. 

Arkady Dvorkovich

Regarding ‘being told’, I decided myself but I consulted with people who appointed me before to the positions in the presidential administration and the government. I truly believe that chess, all around the world, can develop only in a strong partnership between FIDE, public administrations, governments, corporations and the community. It would be a long-term and stable partnership. It is important to have a positive attitude from major countries, governments across the world towards FIDE, towards chess in general. That’s why I consulted with the prime minster and the president that it was my intention to become FIDE President, and they were positive about it. They were surprised that I was not going to a big company or something else, and they were not telling me: you have to do that.

But would it be possible that the government would be against it? And if so, that would prevent you from taking this role?

I would still do it but for FIDE it would be negative.

So you are saying it’s not the Russian government that decides whether you can run for FIDE President?

Yes. The Russian government made a clear proposal for me to work for the Skolkovo Foundation, a flagship innovation center in Russia, in Moscow. I got the proposal to chair this foundation as the government’s proposal for my future. Not chess. But I came with this idea because I believe in chess; I can continue the position of my father, help my friends in chess. Actually there is some synergy between working at Skolkovo—I mean not at the same level of involvement—and chess in mixing education, innovation and chess.

What do you think are the biggest problems the chess world is facing today, and that you want to change?

I see three main things that are clear for everyone, all around the world, but that haven’t been corrected for a long period of time. The first is management. FIDE is the driver of global chess but is not up to its role, and is not in the position to fulfill its role.

Second, FIDE is not transparent. There’s no transparency in management, in financing, in nominations, appointments, closing venues, world championship cycles, et cetera. The whole system requires major reshape, major change. It should be brought closer to the well-established standards of corporate governance.

"The whole system requires major reshape, major change. It should be brought closer to the well-established standards of corporate governance."

I know how it works in big companies, in big, public bodies including sport organisations like FIFA. There is no perfection in the world, no single example that can be taken and can be transferred to FIDE. But we should take all the best practices from the experience that was accumulated during the last couple of decades in corporate governance. All recent events within the FIDE management show that people who now run FIDE do not have any intentions to change anything. That’s very clear to me, and I will explain this further.

Why is this important? Chess requires resources. It will not develop in schools around the world and at a professional level without resources, with zero money. FIDE now has income from two sources. One is getting money from national federations; not actually earning money but taking money from chess. And second is shares of prize funds from big FIDE tournaments. But those resources are getting smaller and smaller.

Why? Very simple. Companies don’t want to work with an organisation that is not transparent and doesn’t provide for a long-term vision and doesn’t provide any services to its partners and sponsors. People don’t want to work with such an organisation. That has to be changed. We should change the organisation and by doing this, attract long-term partners who provide resources for chess. Stop taking money from federations, stop taking money from chess players, especially from kids, as FIDE is doing now. Most of the money is coming from kids tournaments to FIDE, not the other way around. This has to be changed immediately, not in the distant future.

The third thing is making chess modern, using the technologies that appeared in the world. One of the major examples now is the Chess.com platform. Everybody knows it. It’s way much better than the FIDE Arena platform, everybody knows. The reason is that you should do all those things professionally, and FIDE is not a professional organisation now. When you start doing things professionally, you can do huge things. That way we can get real access to chess in all places all around the world, we can change the chess in schools program, not just to learn chess, but also to improve the education system around the world through chess. That’s one of the things that will be in my priority list for FIDE.

Smaller things that require action immediately include the anti-cheating program and re-establishing big women’s tournaments including a normal world championship cycle, support veterans… 

That means you agree with Hou Yifan, that the women’s cycle should be the same as the open cycle?

Yes, I do.

I also a trick question. Because you haven’t been active in the chess world in recent years, I wonder to what extent you know the chess world; for example could you name the current top 5 players?

Carlsen, Caruana, Mamedyarov, Ding Liren, Kramnik?

I think you’ve passed this test. What about the women, who is the second player behind Hou Yifan? 

That’s a good one…

She is also the reigning women’s world champion.

Ah, Ju…

Ju Wenjun, yes.

Yes, I have a problem with Chinese names. But the problem with women’s tournaments is that there is no normal cycle. All the strongest players who are playing, including Indian, Russian, Ukrainian and others, they can just not play normal tournaments. They are going to open tournaments, Swiss tournaments, not really earning anything from that and that’s a huge problem. I believe that should be changed immediately. 

Will you change the format for the upcoming women’s world championship? The knockout in Khanty-Mansiysk in November?

No, we need to change the whole cycle, so it will require us to finish the current cycle first. But then we need a tournament of eight or 10 people, a Candidates’ tournament, and also a Grand Prix series. 

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About finding sponsors. Ilyumzhinov always received a lot of criticism, especially from western media, that his story about being abducted by aliens, and his visits to Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Bachar Assad, made it completely impossible to find corporate sponsorship. Do you agree with this assessment? And do you think this is the reason that it will be easier to find sponsors now?

Let me reiterate. I strongly believe that finding sponsors requires a transparent and efficient management system in general, not just one person. The leader helps, of course.

It’s also about image, the image of the sport.

I don’t like talking about myself, but in the campaign it’s probably impossible to avoid. With my image, my experience, with my knowledge and with the people I have in my broader team—not just the ticket as the ticket is just a small part of the team—yes, we can have a completely different approach to corporate sponsors, to partners. The whole current team lacks that kind of image, resources, and capacity to approach sponsors, not just president Ilyumzhinov but the whole team, including Mr Makropoulos and others. It requires team work to do this, but leadership qualities are certainly important.

"The whole current team lacks that kind of image, resources, and capacity to approach sponsors, not just president Ilyumzhinov but the whole team, including Mr Makropoulos and others."

You’re fairly critical to the current FIDE leadership that has been in office for more than two decades. Mr Ilyumzhinov has been the leader, the face of FIDE. He has been largely responsible for the current situation, the policies, keeping certain people in place. And at the same time, you are now working together with him. You just came back from Tashkent, Uzbekistan where Ilyumzhinov was also. So, isn’t this illogical? How can you cooperate with a person who has been responsible for years for a policy you criticise? 

First of all, I think Kirsan was wrong in particular in choosing his team members. But he also did some right things, including initiating the chess in schools program. As far as Tashkent is concerned, we were invited both by the chess federation of Uzbekistan to visit the chess academy in Tashkent. This chess academy was created with the support and the direct influence from Kirsan, so he deserved to be there. I think people should be appreciated for their what they deserve and they should be criticised for what they did wrong. That’s my approach.

I consult with Kirsan on those things where I think he made positive steps and criticise things where I believe he was wrong. And I’m telling this to him directly. I don’t think we should throw away any person who did lots of things. Also from the current team, there are some good people. I don’t think all people are bad and everything is bad. There are some good things, and we should take all good things into the future.

Also, an important point is that we should not deny what national federations are doing with FIDE. Many of them have long-standing relationships with both Mr Makropoulos and Kirsan and other people in the chess management, and I would like to listen to what they are saying about all people, and respect those opinions. That’s why I am talking to people all around the world, whether they support me or not.

For example, the Uzbekistan chess federation invited a dozen people and not all of them support me. But I was talking to them and taking their points, explaining my position; a really important part of the campaign. We discuss such things behind closed doors, but this will transform into the program, a program that can unite people. So the important thing is that I don’t want to just talk to the people who are already applauding for me; I want to talk to all people.

The following question is about the so-called ‘influence of the Kremlin.’ In 2014, Russian embassies contacted national chess federations and asked them to support Ilyumzhinov. As I understand, this is also happening right now, although I haven’t been able to confirm this yet. But what is your view on this? That embassies are contacting federations for support?

Let me start with the Kremlin. I don’t think it’s about influence. I don’t work in the government anymore; I am not under the direct command of anyone. One of the really important things for our president and the government is to have strong and independent, international organisations. If international organisations are weak, and are not able to fulfil the role that they have, it is not good for the global community. This is true for FIDE, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee. We believe it is not influenced by the Kremlin now, but by some other countries, heavily. It’s true about the United Nations of course, the most important international organisation. This is why we abstain from pressure and influence on international organisations. Yes, Russia works with them but we want to make those organisations stronger and more independent.

Regarding embassies, I always believed that the role of embassies is to protect the interests of its citizens in all countries. Whether we are talking about FIDE or other organisations, or just normal life, anything. Embassies should work in the interest of its citizens, in this case Russian citizens. If the Russian Chess Federation nominated me to the position of FIDE President, our embassies should tell others that yes, Russia supports the candidate.

But there’s a difference between saying that Russia supports you and asking federations to support you.

What should be completely avoided is corrupting other federations. If any person says: you support, and we will give you something for that, or we will build a power station in your country for that, or give you other resources of any kind, that’s corruption.

So you don’t think it’s a problem when an embassy sends a letter to a chess federation asking them to vote for you? Isn’t this potentially violating the code of ethics of the IOC, or FIDE?

What is against the ethics of sports organisations is to apply pressure. If it’s phrased: ‘Please take into account that Russia has its own candidate’, that’s a normal way to do it. People should know that the position of Russia as one of the biggest chess powers is to support a certain candidate for this position. People should know this information, but there should be no pressure whatsoever, of course there should be no corruption attempts regarding that. That’s my position.

I specifically asked our Minister of Foreign Affairs to avoid anything that can be interpreted as pressure against local organisations, not to do any steps like that. Hopefully they will not. As far as I know, up to now there were was nothing, not even an instruction from Moscow to the embassies abroad to do anything about my nomination. When I go somewhere I usually call the embassy as they should know I am coming. It’s normal; they have to protect me at any territory, that’s normal.

When FIDE announced the three candidates for the FIDE presidency, Nigel Short had six nominating federations behind him, you 13 and Georgios Makropoulos 64 while the requirement was five. What do you think of this?

I asked my lawyers what we needed. They told me five, but to be on the safe side wet should have a bit more. We were not even trying to reach big numbers because it was not formally required and we started the campaign afterwards. I think what Mr Makropoulos did was based on his campaigning during the last six months already. He got the letters over that period from those 60+ federations and sent them to the FIDE secretariat. That’s tactics, campaign tactics. Some of those federations told me: that was a long time ago, and we are not sure we will vote for him, we will think about it.

"I think what Mr Makropoulos did was based on his campaigning during the last six months already. He got the letters over that period from those 60+ federations and sent them to the FIDE secretariat. That’s tactics, campaign tactics."

Some said it was not a letter of nomination but just a support to Mr Makropoulos because they believe he’s an experienced man, but they also support me, it’s not a final decision for voting. But it all doesn’t matter right now. I think those numbers are formal and we should work on our campaign now, and appreciate people that support us based on our ideas, our program, our experience, knowledge, energy, that will show.

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Recently, the Makropoulos team accused you of bribery. They said you have invited delegates of chess federations to Russia, and suggested that you paid for their flights and arranged tickets to the FIFA World Cup.

First I’d like to give some background. As I mentioned, Mr Makropoulos has been campaigning for a few months already. For that, he was using FIDE resources, unfortunately.

Do you have proof of that?

Yes, I have proof of that. Seminars, subsidies, mostly to those who support him and not the other candidates. Nominating people for different positions depending on the level of support they give him. Traveling. Of course he is invited to some tournaments, but he is using this opportunity to campaign. When he goes somewhere, he is using the opportunities to campaign.

"Mr Makropoulos has been campaigning for a few months already. For that, he was using FIDE resources, unfortunately."

When I saw this was going on, I decided to discuss this with them, directly. I came to Bucharest at the time of the FIDE Presidential Board, to have direct contact with Mr Makropoulos and some of his colleagues. We met in Bucharest at 3 o’clock in the night, and we talked for three hours.

One of the important proposals I made to him was to sign an agreement on fair play principles for the campaign. These principles included not using FIDE resources on his part or state resources on my part for campaigning. I mentioned some of the examples. He asked me: does it mean that I should almost stop travelling to work on specific things, and I said: maybe not completely but these activities should be reduced substantially since it’s a clear way to campaign using FIDE resources. He told me: I am not going to do that. I will continue doing what I’m doing because it’s normal FIDE work, it’s not campaigning.

But federations have told me that he’s campaigning. He, Mr [Geoffrey] Borg, and other people who are traveling to different countries, to official FIDE events, they have increased the number of FIDE seminars, the number has tripled over the last few months. This way they can go to different countries visiting “official FIDE events” especially in Africa and Asia. It’s a very nice way of doing stuff of course: you can save your own money and use FIDE resources to travel. I am using my own money, that’s the difference. I follow what I said: I don’t use any embassies or state money. He is not doing that.

I also asked him: don’t allocate new funds to the national federations during the campaign; funds that have not been decided upon before. Of course FIDE should continue with funds that have been approved, but don’t make new decisions since it’s not transparent, we don’t know the criteria used for allocating funds across federations and all this can be interpreted as corruption. But they did it. They took the decision in the Board to allocate U.S. $200.000 more to the support of federations for development purposes, on top of the 1.2 million travel subsidies. The criteria should be transparent.  We already know from some federations that when they get money probably they will support him. 

On top of that, they issued those anti-corruption policies and created a committee without a description of terms of references and criteria for choosing the members, or anything. They just created an instrument without rules. And I responded with my tweet, with a response and allegations. I didn’t want to do it, but based on what I heard and what the decisions were in  Bucharest, I decided to do it.

"They issued those anti-corruption policies and created a committee without a description of terms of references and criteria for choosing the members, or anything. They just created an instrument without rules."

I heard that already in Bucharest, when I left the room, they started talking about me using the FIFA World Cup to get people to Russia and this way to corrupt them. As a chairman of the organising committee I had the right to invite partners, colleagues, anyone, from all around the world, to the World Cup. And I invited many people: football players, ice hockey players, tennis players, business men, from different countries all around the world, coming to the World Cup by my personal invitation.

I was also asked by some of the chess federations, not only from Africa; also from Europe, Asia and Latin America. I said: yes you can come; the thing I can provide for you is the invitation to the stadium. I could not give everyone tickets to the final, so some of them went to other matches, for example in Samara.

But I never asked them for their support at any moment of time. I just made their dreams come true; it was not linked to the elections.

But did you know that these people are the same people that are going to vote on October 3?

I got the request from federations. I don’t whether anyone of them will be a delegate or not.

Does it matter? In the end you are giving a gift to people who are, in the future, able to help you.

I don’t think it’s a correct interpretation. If you do things not based on promises, not linking your action to any action from their side, it has nothing to do with corruption, altogether. When I give gifts to friends on the occasion of their birthday, yes, you can say this friend will help me with something. Probably yes. But it doesn’t mean I should not give gifts or flowers to my friends. It’s the same with those tickets.

Let me explain an important thing: the way the tickets have been allocated. We had tickets that had to be paid for, and I paid myself for some of those tickets. Back in December I bought tickets for all the games, at least two, so I had the possibility to go to every game, if needed. It’s a World Cup. Also, we had ticket free of charge, so there is not even a money equivalent for this ticket. It was not me buying the ticket and giving it as a gift. Those were invitations that have been sent to Russian regions, to very poor people, to important people, to all kinds of people. A limited number of seats. Also to other sports federations; we had people from Olympic committees, from all kinds of sports. I personally thought it was important to have chess people as well; they have the same rights as ice hockey players and basketball players who wanted to come to the stadium. They did it through their own federations. Why cannot we do this for the chess community?

I tried to maximize the number of people coming, since I believe that those people have all the same rights. Some of them told me openly: we are not going to support you. Yes we came, but we will vote for Nigel or for Mr Makropoulos. But we came here because we just wanted to watch the FIFA World Cup and just to find out what your position in chess is, but we are not going to vote for you. And those people were from both Africa, Asia and Europe. All kinds of people were openly saying they were not in favor of my nomination. 

"They said: 'We came here because we just wanted to watch the FIFA World Cup and just to find out what your position in chess is, but we are not going to vote for you.'"

How many “chess people” in total came to Russia in total? 

Around 15.

Were you also covering their flight tickets?

No. They, or their federations, paid for their flights.

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Noël Fumey, delegate for Togo and on your ticket, wrote in a WhatsApp group for African chess that he was promised 100.000 euros. Is this true?

I was very surprised about this. I invited him to my ticket, during a phone conversation, because he was recommended by many of my colleagues from different communities, mostly in Africa and Europe. So I called him, and said: you are recommended by many respected people, I invite you to my ticket. He said: That’s wonderful; I will start talking to my people in Africa immediately.

Then, the next day people are writing me that he started to make statements about 100.000 euros of support. But we didn’t even discuss this. I called him and said: stop doing this, you’re talking complete nonsense. And he stopped. Now he’s on my ticket, he’s working on my campaign so of course I am paying some of his travel costs but that’s because I need him in Moscow sometimes, that’s part of the campaign. It’s normal, I think. Nothing to hide here.

Your ticket consists of a lot of new people, not new to chess, but new in (possible) leadership positions. Can the delegates be guaranteed, if you win, that people currently working in FIDE will not stay? For example, would there be a possibility that you would continue working with Mr Makropoulos, or Mr Borg, for example? Or are they going to be out of the picture?

First, yes, there are new people and I believe new people are needed. I have a high respect for all of my ticket members, and some other people who are now working with us. We’ll bring new, also younger professionals who are playing now, or organising tournaments, many good people who were not able to enter the chess management previously. We will take decisions on the basis of merit. If people deserve staying in the management, in the governance of FIDE, they will stay. If Mr Makropoulos and his team will continue to do the things they are doing now, I don’t think we’ll be able to work with them, any time. I doubt already that it is possible. They are closing the last doors to any administration.

When I came to Bucharest I thought that we could work together. Now I have lost 99 percent of the arguments why I should continue thinking about possible cooperation. I try not to say 100 percent ever, to anything, because I am a man of my word and I follow up on guarantees. But I lost almost all trust in him.

I will work with all people who really want work on a professional, fair basis, who are ready to be, and who are, really honest people. Besides, we need people who can spend a substantial part of their life on chess, not just once a week, but really working, since FIDE requires hard work now.

It has been suggested that before October 3, there might be a merge. For example, Mr Makropolous could come to you and suggest to step out of the race and work for you instead. Would that be an option at all?

He had the chance, but I think he lost that chance. In Bucharest he could do it, I think. I would think about it, because I have very specific ideas about the management. First, we should have an annual General Assembly, not once in two years. We need to report to the General Assembly, and get clear directions on the future. We should have four-year budgeting for FIDE, so a stable, long-term budget every time so people will know how many funds they have, what they have for the future, not just for the next few months. We should have term limits. Not more than two terms for one person.

"We should have term limits. Not more than two terms for one person."

Aha, so that’s something all three candidates agree on.

Yes. And we should have a rotation in the system. Even if I have a ticket now with clear positions for Deputy President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer and General Secretary, I believe we should change the regulations in such a way that I can rotate, maybe every two years. I think it’s good, people should get different experiences throughout their life. And we will have more Vice Presidents nominated and elected at the assembly, so we’ll have a broader team that we should use in different positions.

Also, I was thinking about substituting the Presidential Board with a normal Board of Directors, just like in big corporations, with the president being the CEO of the company and the board being the body that takes a number of decisions based on the regulations. One of the ideas, at some point, was to propose Mr Makropoulos to be the a member of that board, so he could continue serving chess in different positions without being part of the operational management of the organisation. Being part of the board discussing budget affairs, discussing some strategic affairs, as one of the members of the team. He declined basically, saying it’s not good for the next four years, and that maybe we can discuss this of the future. He declined, and I don’t have any other proposal to him.

We haven’t talked about Nigel Short yet. He seems to have ideas very similar to yours. What do you think of him?

I respect him. I respect him as a chess player in particular; I remember very well the match between Kasparov and Short back in 1993 in London; I was visiting London at the time. I think he is a great grandmaster, but he doesn’t have any experience in the management of big organisations, and no real political experience, as I have. But at some point I would like to talk to him, to discuss the future of chess and if being elected, I will most likely invite him to work for FIDE, if he wishes to do so. I think he is a good chess professional and he can play role in the organisation. I think we need him in the community.

Both Short and Malcolm Pein, who is on Makropoulos’s ticket, have stated that they want to terminate the contract with Agon/World Chess. What is your position on this?

My position is that we should review the contract and we should see how the upcoming world championship match in London will go. Usually when you terminate something just on the eve of the competition, it leads to to negative consequences. But we should do everything possible to have a good competition in London and then to review the contract, with potential consequences for that contract. But I’ve heard many negative things about it, I have discussed it with the managers of the company. They were trying to persuade me, saying everything is positive and everything goes in the right direction but I do have doubts about that. I didn’t see the contract; it’s difficult to cancel something that you didn’t see. But we need a transparent and clear rules for the championship cycles so that the chess community knows who is responsible for what, who is getting which money, how it works.

But we’re talking about the level of organisation, the quality.

Exactly, we are talking about quality, about visibility. There was no visibility of the world championship matches in the last few years. Most people in the world don’t know who is the world champion. That’s a clear sign of the quality the organisation.

I was heavily involved in the match in Sochi, between Magnus and Vishy, all people were saying: yes, that’s a good one. At least, certainly not a bad one. When we are talking about the next ones, I didn’t have any positive opinions.

Are you planning to be and accessible to the chess community? Will there be a way for them to provide feedback?

Let me describe my immediate plans. I will have my website ready in about a week, with the draft program published already for comments, discussions and questions. I will take those comments in an open way, so I will be available for any questions, discussions and contacts throughout the campaign and after the campaign. Based on my experience in the Russian government I know how to do this; people know that I was accessible, people could ask me questions via Twitter, email, open conferences, anywhere. And we did many things on the basis from what I got from people around, not through official discussions and organisation procedures, but feedback from people I was getting in my daily life, everywhere, all around Russia and in the world. I did this before, and will continue doing so.

What are the next months going to look like?

I will be travelling to Europe, Africa and Latin America and then I’m coming back to Europe again. After that, I will take the decisions for the campaign plans for the rest of the time. 


In an interview published a few days after Chess.com spoke to Dvorkovich, ECU President and Olympiad organiser Zurab Azmaiparashvili said: "I can confirm that Dvorkovich offered Makropoulos to join his team and be the second in rank, if Georgios [Makropoulos] gave up taking part in the elections." However, that didn’t mean Dvorkovich offered him to be his Deputy President, as he explained in an email shortly before we finalised this interview:

"I never offered him to be a part of my ticket. There was a discussion about the possible creation of the FIDE board and him being a part of that board. He was not interested. No formal proposals have been made to that regard either."

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