September 29, 2010 21:52

Ilyumzhinov wins FIDE Presidential elections 95 to 55

Ilyumzhinov wins FIDE Presidential elections 95 to 55Kirsan Ilyumzhinov remains FIDE President for at least four more years. He just won the vote for FIDE President in Khanty-Maniysk convincingly with 95 votes, to 55 for Karpov, and 3 abstentions. Update: we just heard that Silvio Danailov won the European Chess Union presidential elections.

According to our source in Khanty-Mansiysk, after his re-election Ilyumzhinov immediately invited Anatoly Karpov to become Vice-President, to which his opponent hasn't responded yet.

In case of a close result, the Karpov team might have considered taking legal action against the many irregular proceedings that took place today. However, with such a devastating loss (similar to the result of the presidential elections in 2006 won by Ilyumzhinov against Bessel Kok), they will most probably refrain from this.

The Karpov side was optimistic until the last moment, and expected a close race. However, again the incumbent president won with a large margin, with most votes coming from small federations in Asia, Africa and South America.

Mark Crowther at TWIC did many updates throughout the day and has photos. He sums it up like this:

The result of all the campaigning the Kasparov and Karpov did over the last few months is that they gained one vote over the 96-54 loss of Bessel Kok in the FIDE elections in Torino, Italy in 2006. There seems a block vote within FIDE that is practically impossible to dislodge. It is quite plausible to see Ilyumzhinov stay in power another 15 years and beyond. I don't believe this represents the view of chess players throughout the World. If this is the case then players need to start being active in their own national associations and replacing the FIDE delegates that voted for Ilyumzhinov. In this regard Karpov's campaign probably started two years too late.

This voting block has meant that essentially there hasn't been a change in power within FIDE since 1982, with Ilyumzhinov taking over from Florencio Campomanes (and his still Vice-President Giorgos Makropoulos) who sent the organisation bankrupt in 1995.

Let me make clear why I was so opposed to his re-election. Any investigation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's background shows that he was prepared to do business with anyone, including both Saddam and his even more vile son Uday Hussein. There are just too many stories of the dubious origin of his money. His record as ruler in Kalmykia was just dreadful. He was in power for 15 years in which time the population fell significantly and the economic indicators put it right at the very bottom of all the Republics in Russia. At the same time the opposition local press was harrassed by Ilyumzhinov officials and one reporter was murdered. In this regard support from people in the Russian Government through Arkady Dvorkovich is absolutely incredible. I believe his leadership of FIDE has followed the same pattern of low achievement being trumpeted as a triumph. One thing is clear, Ilyumzhinov is a formidable political operator, and no-one in his class has challenged him for the Presidency.

Update 17.11

The Ilyumzhinov campaign website doesn't claim victory yet now claims victory and the Karpov campaign website admits defeat:

In an election that confirmed the worst of our fears about the integrity of the process, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was reelected in Khanty-Mansiysk by the count of 95-55. Considering the rampant abuses that took place there, especially with the abhorrently corrupt proxy system, it is difficult, if not impossible, to consider this a legitimate election.

No matter how Anatoly Karpov decides to continue this battle to restore and transform the chess world, he wishes to express his thanks to everyone who joined us in this effort. We promoted chess worldwide to an unprecedented degree during this campaign. We proved beyond any doubt that a vast majority of the world’s chessplayers support our agenda and our vision for the future of chess as a 21st century sport and of FIDE as a modern organization. This election also showed how it has become impossible to effect this change from within FIDE, which has long ceased to represent the federations or the chess players.

Update 17.31

The elections for the post of President of the European Chess Union was won by the Bulgarian candidate, Silvio Danailov. In the first round Robert von Weizsäcker (the candidate supported by Karpov and Kasparov) was out, and in the second round Danailov beat Ali Nihat Yacizi with 30 against 24 votes.

Update 18.32

We were told that shortly before the ECU elections started, Von Weizsäcker fainted. The incumbent ECU President, Boris Kutin, suggested to postpone the elections a day, but when Von Weizsäcker was conscious again he said that this wasn't necessary. Eventually Ivan Sokolov addressed the delegates on behalf of Von Weizsäcker, but as said before, the team was out in the first round.

Update Sep 30, 08.28

In the comments Shaun Press puts everything a bit into perspective:

It is worth noting that the dispute in th General Assembly was mainly a procedural one. At the start of the meeting a report was presented by Geoffrey Borg on the proxy verification meeting held the night before. Once that report was finished the meeting moved to a roll call to identify all voting federations. At this point objections were made that the report needed to be voted to be accepted.
But the difficulty here is that you can't have a vote without a roll call as you don't know who is valid or not. So the FIDE side argued roll call then voting, while the Karpov side argued a vote, then roll call. This isn't a problem with corrupt process, just a procedurally flawed one. However it is worth noting that FIDE followed their own statutes on this matter (as the Karpov campaign had requested), it was just the outcome that the Karpov camp did not like.
Of course this a de-facto election battle as once the proxy issue was resolved, the way the vote would go would become clearer.
The figure of 56 proxies being bandied around is also an incorrect one and based on a misunderstanding of the report. There were 56 countries checked by the verification committee, but some of this were holding proxies, rather than requiring them. In the case of my federation PNG, we were listed in the report, but only because we held the proxy for New Zealand. And in both the case of PNG and New Zealand, neither country was a supporter of Ilyumzhinov , but our proxy arrangement was approved as our paperwork was correct according to FIDE statutes.
Now people may not like the outcome, (and I argued for the Karpov ticket within my federation), but from what I saw (for the first hour of GA) and from talking to people later, that the electoral procedures itself were legitimate. There may be an issue with the electoral campaign, but if you move away from the flawed premise that "everyone wants Karpov to win", you can look at why Ilyumzhinov won by a majority of 40 votes. Were federations offered 'inducements'? Yes, by both sides. Was pressure bought to bear on delegates in Khanty-Mansiysk? Again, yes on both sides. And while from afar this always looks terrible when your side loses, up close it it is (a) part of a system that both sides were part of and (b) not so far removed from elections I've seen in the wider world.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Mark Crowther's picture

Of course I wouldn't advocate players in countries where its dangerous to oppose the chess leadership to do so. But in many countries the officials are elected by the membership. In those countries some players don't take an interest because they play chess not politics and that's quite normal. But if they want change, they're going to have to fight for it. I'm not one who "blames Africa". I would ask the delegates some questions, have you even had a small look at the information available on Ilyumzhinov, if not, why not? Then if you have, how do you justify voting for such a man. We could probably start with Austria.

Martin's picture

@ ChessGirl, 16:45
I am by no means an expert on that issue, but Kirsan did also offer Bessel Kok a part in FIDE. I'm not sure if that did well or bad, but surely he didnt manage to turn things around for real. I hope Karpov rejects and somehow tries to fight back. (although I don't know how at this point).

BigFoot's picture

Yay!! WTG Kirzan!! :)

Guillaume's picture

As much as I can understand that Iliumjinov got elected by buying the votes of the small federations a long time ago, I don't understand how a majority of European federations can have elected Danailov. How does it work exactly? Are the European federations corrupted as well? Do they genuinely believe Danailov can bring anything good to chess? Who voted for the man who brought the toilet-gate on us?

Peter Pan's picture


kees's picture

Well, it was to be expected. I am curious however about the perceived irregularities.
Ilyumzhinov claimed to have 102 supporting federations publicly supporting him with
maybe more to come. He has won the election with 95 votes. No doubt, the best stories about this election (campaign) are yet to come! Tonight, the Dutch programma Een vandaag has scheduled a broadcast about the FIDE elections.

Joeri's picture

Damn. 4 more years with this idiot.

Jim Scott's picture

Doomsday!! Sad...

Arne Moll's picture

I guess it's time for a real revolution... :-(

Ben's picture

Real revolution takes real money, To legitimize legal revolution, if it can't be done at the voting booth, you have to get a large share of the top GMs to totally abandon FIDE. Even then, the bureaucrats of some countries can influence the top players considerably, so it would take superhuman effort all around. Also, even if Kirsan died from a heart attack tomorrow, how hard is it to envision Makropoulos beginning a 12+ year reign in his stead? Then his successor, etc., etc. I don't see a way out, even with 'revolution.'

Serdal's picture

Can't national associations get out of FIDE? And build their own super-association? Probaby not realistic.

V's picture

Congrats to Kirsan, nice try for Karpov! Anywayzzz, Russia rulezz!

vladimirOo's picture


Without Russia (and Ukrainia), it is highly irrealistic.

Slookeur's picture

Of course he won, and I won't be surprised to learn sooner or later that the alien federation also brought is support to the idiot.

Guillaume's picture

I would tend to disagree with your wording, Peter. An election that was tainted with many irregularities cannot be said to have been won convincingly, regardless of how overwhelming the announced result looks like. And I do hope Karpov takes legal actions because if he doesn't then nobody will ever be able to end Iliumjinov's reign.

Bert de Bruut's picture

FIDE is beyond rescue, time for a new start is long overdue.

hanseman's picture

It makes me truly sad

john's picture

FIDE is finished, it is rotten to the core.

Martin's picture

Sad, but expected.
I hope for revolution as well.

andi's picture

It's Power of Dirty Money.FIDE had fininshed many times ago and Dirty Money like septic blood ill every thing.I'm sorry for Chess...

anonchess's picture

A revloution of a minority to uproot an administration voted in by the majority in an election conducted under the spotlight of the whole world. Really, what legitimacy can the revolutionary administration claim even if it were to succeed through the force of arms, money, media-control or otherwise. Grow up, kids!

noyb's picture


V's picture

yeah, Dirty Money needs to be laundered, especially in US Chess Federation and most'ova European Chess Federations, who r unable to organize normal chess tournaments for years.

ChessGirl's picture

Do you think Karpov should accept the position as vice president? On the one hand it means joining the dark side, but on the other, you could control it from the inside??? I´d appreciate an expert´s opinion on this.

Bobby Fiske's picture

A sad day. Only a funny José Diaz cartoon can save my mood now.

unknown's picture


Paolo's picture

A very explosive and detailed description of Karpov's dirty campaign tactics:

Yetispotter's picture


reality check's picture

To all the ''euro-northamero-revolutionaries'' out there: your beloved leaders, Car/Cass (Karpov/Kasparov) are dead meat. Mad cows.
They should clean up their own act in the coming years and try again.
I am no Illyumzhinov fan, but i am sure as hell glad Kar/Kas lost this match!

Zagreb 1959's picture

After this sad day it can only be worse if Danailov wins too! Players are responsable for accepting this situation too.

Peter Doggers's picture

Danailov did win, as I just heard.

George's picture

From Karpov 2010:

"This election also showed how it has become impossible to effect this change from within FIDE, which has long ceased to represent the federations or the chess players."

Jim Scott's picture

Peter Doggers: I would be interesting for the chess world is you can make a guess of the 95 countries for Kirsan and de 55 to Karpov, just to know and analyse!!


noname's picture

any news for ecu?

Ludo Medemblik's picture

Within a revolution people will think and walk in the same direction.
During this trip, more and more people join because of the charismatic character of the tour.
At the end of the walk, even the largest strongholds yield.
This is not @Vladimir - highly irrealistic - but has proven to be thru over and over again.
Examples? The Berlin Wall - Chausesku - etc.etc.etc.

Mehul's picture

Of course Kirsan was gonna win.

Mark Crowther is also dead wrong and also dead right. Yes, players on the ground in Africa on the whole support Karpov. But changing or ousting officials in our national feds...he's's very difficult to do that. It's basically asking guys to risk jail. That's the kind choke hold african chess officials have on the players.

I suggest the likes of Karpov stop wasting time and simply form something parallel. They will NEVER remove kirsan or any FIDE dictator who has the African and asian votes in the bag. NEVER.

Peter Doggers's picture

The elections for the post of President of the European Chess Union was won by the Bulgarian candidate, Silvio Danailov. In the first round Robert von Weizsäcker (the candidate supported by Karpov and Kasparov) was out, and in the second round Danailov beat Ali Nihat Yacizi with 30 against 24 votes.

George's picture

Jim Scott: For Kirsan: Brazil... unfortunately.

Mig's picture

Just an FYI, the Karpov2010 statement is a placeholder pending a formal statement from Karpov. The scene in KM was a total mess with multiple abuses of the sort strictly prohibited by the Lausanne decision and if the lawyers say something is actionable, "concede defeat" may not be a valid sentiment at all.

Ricardo's picture

Ilyumzhinov and Danailov. The world is crazy, I don't get it. I'm guessing it's time to go to my happy place for the next four years.

rooster85's picture

just on a side note, didn't Argentina change its support to Karpov?

"1.President - Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov nominated by Russia, Argentina and Mexico,"

Mehul's picture

Mr. Mark Crowther,

Let me make you understand your own idea "Officials are elected by membership"...first of all in many african countries national membership numbers are very small...most players do not pay up membership because there are no benefits, even something small like a pencil, to be gotten back in return. Furthermore come election day you will find faces you have never seen before aka 'imported voters' way is it easy to get in a well-meaning individual in as a chess official in my neighbourhoods.

As for "I would ask delegates some questions"....keep dreaming the only questions they wanna here is "How much $$$ do you want?"...otherwise anything you say goes in through one ear and comes out the other.

I said it some months back here on chessvibes...if Karpov wants to win he's gotta play the same palm greasing game of his opponents. Otherwise forget about it and set up a parallel organisation.

It seems to me many of you well meaning people don't grasp how Kirsan has won. It's not just K-M. The guy laid the foundation over the last 2-3 years. Yazici helped him big time with the chess in schools thing which is being rolled out in all the '3rd world countries'. Karpov was way behind the curve. A clueless loser.

After Karpov beat Kramnik in 1994 linares, Kramnik said something like "I don't know why I lost"...I think Karpov doesn't know why he lost.

CAL|Daniel's picture

a sad day when a World Champion loses an election to a psycho, alien abducted thug. And you wonder why chess can't get sponsorship and be taken seriously as a sport. Wonder no further.

CAL|Daniel's picture

oh lord not Danilov too! bad day for chess! I'm not sure whether Danilov or Kirsan is worse. At least Danilov can claim the hosting of Mtel at least ONE positive thing to say about this wretched man. Its clear the only loser today was the game of chess.

Mark Crowther's picture

Mehul, you miss my point. I wouldn't advocate players getting involved in Africa in nations like you describe. Not all nations are like that. I'm saying in nations where it is possible the delegates need to be asked these questions. Africa is by no means the margin of the vote. In countries where officials are elected by players which is I believe common, should be the starting place. There must have been some very big western democratic nations that voted for Kirsan, lets start there.

ozan's picture

most of the chess lovers are against kirsan and danilov gang!
it clears the clouds...

but chess needs to get rid off the people who have no tight relations with the chess sport itself.
karpov and kasparov loses, topalov's elista mind wins: so sad.

Castro's picture

Karpov should at least decide.
1. Going all the way in "taking legal action against the many irregular proceedings that took place today"
2. Refrain from (and in fact deny) declarations like "it is difficult, if not impossible, to consider this a legitimate election".

Not none, not both!

(But who am I --- or how much naive am I --- to expect good for chess from K+K??)

kees's picture

Again an interesting report, this time a photo report from the Austrian delegate!

Nima's picture

This is like a Lord of the Rings story. The dark lords (Ilyumzhinov and Danailov) are in power.

Felix's picture

Actually the voting of Danilov is good for chess I think. von Weizsäcker didn't even manage to find sponsors for the German national team and Danilov has good connections to players and sponsors. I know that he's not the most diplomatic person and some things he did were just provocative and stupid (I hope he will shake hands with everyone as president :) and make peace with the russian chess players), but after all he seems to be a good manager and organizer.


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