Will it be the current FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov or will it be the FIDE deputy president Georgios Makropoulos or Grandmaster Nigel short?
For as long as I can remember, the FIDE elections have always had 2 presidential candidates. However, 2018 will see a departure from the norm as three candidates square off against each other.
Its been said that a week is a very long time in politics. With the elections still months away, there is still room for plenty of drama and intrigue in the buildup to the event. There has been a flurry of activities in the online space, about recent developments regarding the FIDE elections with plenty of debates about the pros and cons of the respective candidates running for FIDE presidency and even the African continent.
What’s in it for us
At Africa Chess Net, our biggest concern is what the elections will mean for chess on the continent of Africa. Will the continent move forward, will we stagnate or would we move backwards after the elections? African Chess is on the rise and we want it to get to even higher levels and standards. So the FIDE elections in 2018 are of huge interest to us.
Who is going to win
Who is going to win this election? What will it mean for FIDE and global chess? Will it be more of the same with Kirsan, will it be a new dawn in chess with Nigel or a different direction for chess with Makropoulos. I have been playing chess for a very long time and I have felt that there has to be a better way of doing things, when one looks at all the problems we have had in the game over the decades. So there is a huge amount at stake in 2018. From a chess perspective, this is quite a busy year already but the FIDE elections will be one of the highlights of the year for sure, in addition to the World Chess Championship at the end of the year between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of the US.
The voting system at FIDE
Voting at the FIDE elections work on a ticket system. Delegates do not vote for one position at a time but they vote for the President and his entire team, which is tagged as “the ticket”. Every chess federation has one vote regardless of the size. At the time of writing this article, all the Presidential Candidates are yet to fully disclose their tickets but this should be public knowledge over the coming weeks, as candidates will be embarking on their election campaigns to garner support. The ticket system has its pros and cons but most of the focus will be on the top candidate, that is the presidential candidate.
An unusual election in 2018
It is quite unusual for an incumbent FIDE president to face off against his own deputy, but the past few years have been anything but usual for the World Chess Federation. Currently the president is under sanctions from the USA, and the world chess Federation has no bank account at the time of writing this article. The sanctions go back to the year 2015, when the FIDE president was hard hit by the sanctions from the US. He then delegated some of the presidential powers to his deputy Makropoulos, who eventually took up full presidential power at the helm of affairs at FIDE
Big surprise from Kirsan
In what was surely a big surprise to many people, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, instead of stepping aside as president because of the sanctions that have crippled FIDE, decided to run again in this year’s elections. If this were a game of chess, it would be fair to say you never know what move Kirsan is going to play. How many lives does this man have? On the chess board he may only be an international Master but off the board Kirsan has accounted for one rival after another in previous FIDE elections. It will be folly to count out Kirsan, given his track record at the elections. However, 2018 will be the biggest test to date and some have gone as far as saying that this is the biggest election in the history of FIDE.
Makropoulos will be running against his boss
It will be the first time for Georgios Makropolous to contest for FIDE Presidency and the same goes for Grand master Nigel Short. Makropoulos, who is no slouch himself at the chessboard, being an international master, has been involved with FIDE since 1986. According to his wikipedia page, “Makropoulos became vice president of FIDE in 1986. In 1990 he moved to the position of secretary-general of the organization, which he occupied until 1996. Since then he is Deputy President of FIDE. In 2006, Makropoulos supported the renewed candidacy of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who prevailed at the Congress in Turin against Bessel Kok with 96:54 votes.” I think it would be fair to say that few people know Kirsan as his deputy Makropoulos which will make the 2018 FIDE more intriguing.
Nigel Short, former world chess challenger global citizen
Former world chess championship challenger, and one of the most well traveled chess players, Nigel Short, is no newcomer to chess politics, but this will be his first time contesting the FIDE Presidency. According to his Wikipedia page,” Nigel David Short MBE (born 1st June, 1965) is an English chess Grandmaster, chess columnist, chess coach and chess commentator. Short earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 19, and was ranked third in the world by FIDE from January 1988 to July 1989. In 1993, he became the first English player to play a World Chess Championship match, when he qualified to play Garry Kasparov at the World Chess Championship ’93, in London, which Kasparov won, with a difference of five (5) points (result 12.5 – 7.5). As of February 2018, he is the oldest player ranked among FIDE’s top 100 players and is ranked number sixty five (65).
As someone who has been involved in chess for a very long time and at a very high level, few people understand the intricacies and challenges of chess from a player’s perspective as well as Nigel Short. He is not only a very active chess player, having taken part in all the Chess Olympiads since 1984, but as a result of his travels, understand to a large extent, what a number of countries are going through in their various chess federations.
All the candidates for the FIDE presidency have been involved with chess for a long time in different capacities, both Kirsan and Makropoulos as administrators and Nigel as a player. Counting for and against Kirsan and Makropoulos is that they have been at FIDE for so long and may be seen as part of the problems bedeviling the organisation. While Nigel Short will be a complete outsider in this regard, and not tainted by the problems and challenges that have affected FIDE for a long time.
In your own view, who do you think is would win the FIDE Presidential election and why? Take part in the poll now