Threatened by checkmate, Putin has made a strong move by the Bishop
Vladimir Putin at the closing ceremony of the competition for the title of the World Chess Champion, which was held between Carlsen and Anand in Sochi (Russia) on 25 November 2014. SASHA MORDOVETS

Irun 10 AGO 2018 - 19:40 CEST

Chess plays an important role to Vladimir Putin as it creates a good image of Russia. This explains why one of the three candidates for the presidency in the World Chess Federation (FIDE) with units 190 countries and has currently come under suspicion of corruption, is none other than Arkady Dvorkovich, a former Deputy Prime-Minister (2012-2018), who served as the Chairman of the Organising Committee Russia-2018 for the FIFA World Cup a month ago. A FIDE clique wants to take away the status of the great chess nation from Russia, which causes Putin's decisive response.

"Returning the title of World Chess Champion to Russia is one of the greatest priorities of Russian sports". Putin said this or something very similar to this phrase at least twice, including the final ceremony of the 2014 FIDE World Championship in Sochi, Russia wich was attended by the author of this article. The consequences were immediate: the youngest GrandMaster in the history of chess, Sergey Karjakin, who was born in Ukraine in 1990, adopted Russian citizenship in 2009 after getting a proposal he couldn't refuse. In 2016, he challenged the World –°hampion, Magnus Carlsen from Norway, who had an almost unlimited budget for the preparation (long travel arrangements at the ultra-luxury hotels located in the Persian Gulf countries, with his own team of analytics, powerful computers etc.). Karjakin sponsored by a Russian fertilizer manufacturer, Phosagro, owned by Andrey Guryev, who was part of a circle of people close to Putin, behaved with dignity, but lost to his opponent in a quick match held in New York. Though the Russian President likes to be photographed during physically demanding sports activities, he remembers that as recently as 25 years ago, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, chess was as popular as football (and even more). He also knows that a high reputation of chess is popularly related to the intellect of players and, therefore, if a citizen of Russia becomes the World Champion again, this will boost great pride cause of Russian people in their country .

But Putin's interest in gaining control over FIDE goes much deeper. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, recently resigned as FIDE President has become notoriously known for his inappropriate visits to the countries blacklisted by the USA . His plane was the last to leave Baghdad early in the morning on 18 March 2003, just a few minutes after an ultimatum of war was announced by President George Bush Jr. to Saddam Hussein, which was a prelude to military attack started in the same week. Ilyumzhinov was personally present together with Uday, one of Saddam's sons, in the presidential palace while the announcement was being made. In June 2011, the photograph of Ilyumzhinov picturing him playing chess with Gaddafi in Tripoli went viral four months before the death of Libyan President. Ilyumzhinov also prided himself on being a friend of the President of Syria, Bashar Assad, whom he visited in Damascus in the midst of war. There is little doubt that his mission during these meetings was to hand over confidential messages from Putin or to pull off shady business deals .

Ilyumzhinov actually left the post of the president of FIDE that he had held during 23 years after being blacklisted by the USA because of his close relationship with the government of Syria. This punishment has caused FIDE huge problems in various fields: banks refuse to open accounts of this organization; they experience great difficulties in obtaining sponsorship; FIDE"s reputation has been damaged and etc. Therefore, two years ago, Gerogios Makropoulos from Greece, the Vice-President of FIDE, who has had a profound influence within this organization since the eighties, and a Cuban-born Guatemalan living in Mexico, Jorge Vega, who managed FIDE in America with an iron hand organized a rebellion to overthrow a millionaire Ilyumzhinov, whose money they used so freely to their mutual advantage. They no longer needed him, and he became a problem to them.

Gerogios Makropoulos is to the right, next to Vladimir Kramnikov from Russia, a former World Champion, last March, during the press conference before opening the candidate tournament WORLD CHESS in Berlin.
So, Makropoulos is the second candidate running currently for the presidency in FIDE. He doesn't mean to confine himself to demads for clear and fair play. For example, now he requests Russia should not use its embassies around the world to exert pressure on the election campaign. It's more than curious, because these embassies led the campaign against the candidacy of Garry Kasparov, a former World Champion and a staunch opponent of Putin, after his emigration to New York during the elections of 2014, when Makropoulos still remained Ilyumzhinov's right- hand man.

However, the extraordinary transformation of Makropoulos into an advocate for fighting against corruption is attributable to the fact the second candidate in his tiket is Malcolm Pain from Great Britain, a man of a spotless reputation,who runs the prestigious London Classical tournament and manages the fund supporting the successful promotion of chess as an educational tool in the United Kingdom. Possibly, Pain's plan is to clean up FIDE from the inside and become a FIDE president in 2022 on reliance of the Greek's consent and support. Journalists covering FIDE's shady business since 1984, including of this article, believe that it is even more impossible than green snow falling in July.

It won't be easy to provide documentary evidences to prove in court that corruption is widespread within FIDE. However, the number of facts that may lead to well-founded allegations of corruption is overwhelming. Here is just one of many examples, which may serve as a proof of such suspicious practice is the elections held in a Siberian city, Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia), in 2010, when Ilyumzhinov's opponent was another former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov.

Corruption is routine practice in the majority of 190 member counties of FIDE. That's why the chances of the third candidate, Nigel Short from Great Britain, who became the candidate for the World Champion in 1993, to win are virtually close to zero, although , if a survey was conducted among millions of fans on choosing the most trusted candidate of those three,he could defeat his rivals by a prevailling majority. However, your votes could have been casting if you had to start the second round.

Nigel Short during the conference held last January at SOPHIE TRIAY (TRADEWISE GIBRALTAR)
So, there will be an intense struggle between Makropoulos and Dvorkovich during the elections held on 5 October in Batumi (Georgia), where the Chess Olympiad will also be held. The Greek has a great advantage in managing the complicated FIDE's administrative apparatus: it is no coincidence that a few months before the elections, the budget of the committee responsible for rendering aid to the third world countries, has significantly increased; another remarkable coincidence is that a significantly larger number of teams and delegates will be sent to the Olympiad at the expense of FIDE as compared to the time when elections do not coincide with Chess Olympiads.

However, it is not entirely clear whether Makropoulos has additional money to fund his campaign, especially that there is reason to believe that the Russian government exerts pressures on the Persian Gulf countries to avoid trading a good relationship between the Greek and Pain with some Arab sheikhs into cash.Conversely, it is dafficult to assume that Dvorkovich suffers from the lack of funding and, moreover, he can exercise his broad experience as a manager at the highest level and his contacts with powerful sponsors. As a finishing touch to his good image ,it is worth remembering that he is a chess player and the son of a chess player in the most remarkable country in the history of chess.

So, there is a high probability that Putin will continue controlling the fourth largest sports federation by a number of member countries alongside FIFA,FIBA and IAAF, despite the fact that currently Makropoulos can draw on Latin American support led by Vega. The victory of Dvorkovich would help the Russian President to link his image and the image of Russia to high intellectual prowess at least in the next four years. A bright consolation prize in anticipation of one of his most desirable photographs featuring the President playing a match with a Russian World Champion. It won't happen until 2022, because Fabiano Caruana, an American Grandmaster has defeated three Russian participants of the candidates Tournament, and will challenge Carlsen in London from 9 to 28 October. PUTIN is in check, but the bishop of Dvorkovich will cover him up.
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