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Dvorkovich Gets Green Light To Run Again As FIDE Formally Scraps Term Limits
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich speaking during the general assembly vote on whether to scrap his term limit. Photo: FIDE/Zoom.

Dvorkovich Gets Green Light To Run Again As FIDE Formally Scraps Term Limits

Leon_Watson
| 67 | Chess.com News

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has approved a controversial motion to scrap presidential term limits leaving Arkady Dvorkovich, a former deputy prime minister of Russia, free to run for a third term in 2026.

Delegates from 108 national federations voted in favor of the motion and 27 against it, thereby securing the two-thirds majority at FIDE's general assembly needed for it to pass. The meeting was full of praise for the 51-year-old with one delegate saying Dvorkovich cares for chess "like he is caring for a baby."

Article 18.12, which limits presidents to a maximum of two four-year terms, and was brought in by Dvorkovich as an election promise, will now be removed from the FIDE Charter.

The general assembly is FIDE's annual gathering of delegates, akin to its parliament, held online outside election years. Key decisions such as amendments to the Charter are made and nearly 200 member nations are represented. The general assembly operates a one-member-one-vote system.

When news of the proposal broke, Dvorkovich was accused online of orchestrating a power grab using tactics similar to his former boss, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

However, the motion was formally proposed by the tiny Andorra Chess Federation and endorsed going into the meeting by 20 other chess federations. It is not known how much influence Dvorkovich had on that.

Before Sunday's decision, GM Levon Aronian and then Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov voiced their concern about what was happening on the platform X. Aronian labeled the proposal "embarrassing" and warned of the implications if it passed:

In the meeting, U.S. Chess delegate Allen Priest was one of those who spoke out against the proposal, encouraging all delegates to vote no on the removal of presidential term limits.

He argued: "The charter revision was only adopted in 2020. It has not had time to function, we have not had time to see how well the reform works.

"I understand when people get into positions of power, that they like to hold onto those positions of power. But no one man is indispensable, no one man is irreplaceable.

Delegates from nearly 200 national chess federations attended the meeting. Photo: FIDE/Zoom.

"And while the current administration has indeed done an admirable job in many respects and made some very good reforms and very good changes, this amendment is premature and it is inappropriate.

"It takes us back to where we were and where FIDE has not been well served by long-term incumbencies. The power of the incumbent to get re-elected is very, very strong."

However, delegate after delegate praised Dvorkovich's tenure since 2018 and called for him to be allowed to extend it.

GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, president of the European Chess Union, said he has always been against term limits.

He added: "We have a good president who is doing a great job, and we have proved it for many years, for five years now, and Arkady is caring about chess like he is caring for a baby."

FIDE vice president Georgios Makropoulos supporting the motion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulos supported the motion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

IM Georgios Makropoulos, the delegate for Greece and FIDE vice president who ran for president against Dvorkovich in the 2018 election, was given the floor to make the final comments before the vote.

Perhaps unexpectedly, Makropoulos also argued in favour of scrapping the term limits, saying, "we need somebody to work for years, many years, eight or more years to succeed as an organization."

Makropoulos added that Dvorkovich is doing a "really fantastic job, and everybody accepts this."

The reaction on social media was swift. GM Peter Heine Nielsen, a frequent commentator on FIDE matters, called it a "bad day for chess, a good day for Russia:"

Two-time Ukrainian Champion GM Andriy Volokitin called Dvorkovich "Putin's protege:"

Others went further:

Another key decision at the general assembly was the venue for the 2028 Chess Olympiad. Delegates decided that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, will host the event. Abu Dhabi got 96 votes, beating the bid from Genoa, Italy, which received 60.

Dvorkovich has been FIDE president since 2018, having won a second term at the 2022 general assembly in Chennai, India. His current term ends in 2026, but he is yet to announce his intentions on whether to stand again.

It seems a safe bet that he will.

Chess.com has contacted FIDE asking Dvorkovich for a comment on the decision. No response has yet been received.

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