4 FIDE presidential candidates

The FIDE presidential elections, which will be held on August 7, 2022, will be contested by no less than four candidates. This became clear after the FIDE Electoral Commission approved all four ticket nominations on June 7 (in PDF here, which was posted on the FIDE website on June 9).

The four approved tickets are as follows, with the first name for the president and the second name for the vice-president:

June 7, 2022 (exactly two months before the election) was the deadline for candidates to submit their tickets, which had several requirements. For example, the candidate for the presidency and the one for the vice-presidency cannot belong to the same chess federation. Most importantly, the ticket must be officially endorsed by at least five chess federations from at least four different continents.

Enyonam Sewa Fumey’s post with Stuart Fancy (interviewed here by Chess.com) was declared invalid and rejected because he only had the support of federations from Africa (Burkina Faso, Egypt, Togo, Senegal), Asia (Papua New Guinea) and from America (Haiti) but not from Europe. Fumey quickly published a furious letter about the lack of support from Europe.

Arkady Dvorkovich and Viswanathan Anand

Arkady Dvorkovich and Viswanathan Anand. Photos: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The Dvorkovich/Anand ticket has been endorsed by Tunisia (Africa), Mexico (America), India (Asia), Cyprus (Europe), Panama (America), Indonesia (Asia), Nigeria (Africa ) and Montenegro (Europe). Having the maximum number of supporting federations allowed for a ticket (eight) can be seen as a sign of confidence, and according to the Electoral Commission, this ticket also received other approvals, communicated directly by the member federations. It’s safe to say that Dvorkovich enters the race as a favorite.

The FIDE president announced on April 1, 2022 at a press conference in New Delhi that he would run for a second term with Anand as his right-hand man. Dvorkovich is the only candidate to have already announced several names of his team (not yet required at this stage): Joran Aulin-Jansson (Norway), Zhu Chen (Qatar) and Mahir Mammedov (Azerbaijan).

Andrii Baryshpolets and Peter-Heine Nielsen

Andrii Baryshpolets Peter Heine Nielsen
Andrii Baryshpolets (photo: Baryshpolets Twitter) and Peter Heine Nielsen (photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com).

The Baryshpolets/Nielsen ticket has been approved by South Sudan (Africa), Curaçao (America), New Zealand (Asia), England (Europe), Lithuania (Europe), Netherlands (Europe) and Norway (Europe). The Electoral Commission notes that a day after backing this ticket, South Sudan signed an endorsement for Dvorkovich/Anand but that a federation “is only allowed to back one candidate for each elected position and no approval cannot be withdrawn once approved and communicated”.

Baryshpolets, a 31-year-old Ukrainian grandmaster living in the United States, announced his candidacy on May 20 this year. In his official statement, he notes that FIDE is still struggling with its reputation and that, given the war in Ukraine, it is important to continue without a former Russian politician as president and to avoid what he describes such as “FIDE’s political and financial dependence on the Russian government.”

Nielsen for Vice President is interesting from different angles. The 49-year-old Danish grandmaster was part of Anand’s team as a second, and now the two are pitted against each other having the same roles. Nielsen has also recently been one of FIDE’s most vocal critics on social media.

Inalbek Cheripov and Lewis Ncube

Inalbek Cheripov Lewis Ncube
Inalbek Cheripov (photo: Wikipedia) and Lewis Ncube (photo: FIDE).

The Cheripov/Ncube ticket has been endorsed by Sierra Leone (Africa), Barbados (America), Timor Leste (Asia), Ukraine (Europe) and Zambia (Africa). This post is somewhat obscure, in the sense that Cheripov is a rather unknown personality in the chess world, and there is little to be found about him on the internet.

Born in Grozny, Chechnya, 50-year-old Cheripov (whose name is also spelled Inal Sheripov or Sherip) lived in California and now resides in Belgium. He had a career as a filmmaker, producer and screenwriter, and won several awards.

In 2017, Cheripov founded the international nonprofit World Chess Culture, which is currently developing an interactive chess museum. The museum plans to open in 2024 for the 100th anniversary of the founding of FIDE.

Ncube is a seasoned chess politician who served under former FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. In 2018, he was narrowly re-elected as President of the African Chess Confederation.

Ukraine’s support for this post is noteworthy, given that a Ukrainian grandmaster is conducting another post. According to Baryshpolets, the president of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, Victor Kapustin, acted on his own and without consulting the rest of the board.

Bachar Kouatly and Ian Wilkinson

Bachar Kouatly Ian Wilkinson
Bachar Kouatly (photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com) and Ian Wilkinson (photo: Ian Wilkinson Twitter).

The Kouatly/Wilkinson ticket has been approved by Congo (Africa), Jamaica (America), Australia (Asia), Monaco (Europe), Saint Kitts and Nevis (America) and Grenada (America).

Kouatly, 64, is the most experienced chess politician among the candidates. In 1990 he became vice-president of the Grandmaster Chess Association, and in the mid-1990s he almost became president of FIDE himself.

In 1994 Kouatly, backed by GM Anatoly Karpov, ran against incumbent President Florencio Campomanes, backed by GM Garry Kasparov. Campomanes won. A year later, Campomanes’ position became untenable and it was Ilyumzhinov who won the election with Kouatly as one of the two vice presidents.

Kouatly became the owner and editor-in-chief of the famous French magazine Chess Europe in 1997. In 2016 he was elected president of the French Chess Federation, and since 2018 he has been vice-president under Dvorkovich. Wilkinson is a longtime president of the Jamaica Chess Federation and an honorary vice president under Dvorkovich.

FIDE presidential elections, which will be held on August 7, 2022, are held every four years. He is part of the General Assembly, which will be held alongside the Olympiad in Chennai, India. Delegates from the nearly 200 member federations will vote and decide who will lead the International Chess Federation for the next four years.

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