By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, April 2 (IANS) India is expected to have a larger say in the International Chess Federation, commonly known as FIDE, if the incumbent management led by former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich wins the polls, chess officials said.
The elections for FIDE Congress will be held in August this year on the sidelines of the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held at Mahabalipuram near here in July-August. It is learnt that the officials of the chess administration in the national federation normally get a relatively higher number of posts in FIDE.
This time around, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is on a stronger wicket to claim a better representation in FIDE.
It was AICF that came to the rescue of FIDE to hold the Olympiad after the latter decided to shift it out of Moscow following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Given the geopolitical situation, Dvorkovich’s nationality and his past position in the Russian government, he and his team would prefer a neutral venue for holding the FIDE Congress.
And Mahabalipuram near Chennai is an ideal location.
On Friday, five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand had said: “I have agreed to support Arkady Dvorkovich. We have discussed this, but we haven’t decided yet as to in what role or capacity I will be involved. The team led by Dvorkovich has done a lot for the sport.”
“We have discussed that Anand will be a huge part of our team,” Dvorkovich said.
Interestingly, Anand was appointed as Asia’s Continental Assistant to FIDE President by Dvorkovich in 2019.
A senior FIDE official told IANS: “The role to be allocated to Anand will be decided after the elections.”
Queried about AICF asking for a couple of critical posts for its nominees to contest, a senior FIDE official, not wanting to be named, told IANS: “I would assume you are right.”
“At the FIDE elections, the Olympiad hosting nation normally gets some additional posts,” a former senior AICF official told IANS preferring anonymity.
While some of the existing Indian officials will exit FIDE, more Indians are likely to enter the international chess body.
“My term as FIDE Zone 3.7 President will come to an end in August. Similarly, D.V. Sundar’s term as Vice President will also end,” R.M. Dongre told IANS.
Both Sundar and Dongre belong to the faction that unsuccessfully contested the elections against the present office-bearers of AICF.
The AICF does not recognise Dongre as FIDE Zone 3.7 President.
Last year, the AICF informed FIDE about nominating Gujarat State Chess Association President Ajay Patel as the country’s nominee for the Zone 3.7 position when Dongre was holding the post.
On receipt of the communication from AICF, FIDE had replaced Dongre’s name with that of Patel’s on its website as Zone 3.7 President.
Objecting to FIDE’s move, Dongre wrote to the global chess body.
“I wrote to the FIDE President citing its own rules on the circumstances in which a person can be changed for a post. The FIDE then referred the matter to its Constitutional Commission which deliberated the matter and decided in my favour,” Dongre had told IANS.
Dongre said only the FIDE General Assembly can change a Zonal President and the AICF should have sufficient reason to recommend the change.
Subsequently, FIDE amended its website uploading Dongre’s name and picture in the place of Patel’s.
Dongre also said that he has two more years as the member of FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission.
AICF President Sanjay Kapoor declined to comment when queried by IANS on the FIDE posts for which the Indian chess body would be nominating its nominees.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)