Viswanathan Anand elected FIDE deputy president

Viswanathan Anand

CHENNAI: Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand was on Sunday elected as the deputy president of the International Chess Federation — FIDE — while incumbent president Arkady Dvorkovich was re-elected for a second term.

Five-time world champion Anand was part of Dvorkovich's team. Dvorkovich received 157 votes against 16 by his rival Andrii Baryshpolets while the number of invalid votes was 1 and abstentions stood at 5.

“We hope to make a difference and thank everyone for their trust in our team,” tweeted Anand.

The elections took place during the FIDE General Assembly in Chennai, held alongside the Chess Olympiad, one of FIDE’s flagship events. 

During his electoral speech before the FIDE delegates, Dvorkovich cited the following points as his main priorities for his second term:

1) To keep improving its top events, those that are part of the World Championship cycle, like the driving force of FIDE. "Not only do they generate a large interest for the game - they are a source of income required to invest in different parts of the world where chess is being developed. That should help us to make FIDE a sustainable institution, financially stable, and independent of politics", he said.

 2) To expand FIDE's online projects, seeking new partnerships and reinforcing the existing ones, "leveraging both on the strong positive image chess has earned throughout the centuries - and the ability of chess to thrive with new technologies."

3) To maintain and strengthen the support to member federations. After fulfilling the goal of waiving or reducing most of the fees, Dvorkovich expressed his intention "to send our best people to help, to train, to share best practices. We will provide chess materials and help to raise a new generation of arbiters, organizers, and coaches, as well as school instructors".

4) To keep investing in promoting women's chess. "For years, the level of female engagement stood at 10-15 percent. We already see it rising above 20% - but that is not only about the numbers. We will continue creating a friendly environment, we will provide incentives, we will engage coaches and build programs", said the President. "These initiatives must be shaped like a long-term project, rather than punctual activities."

5) To continue expanding FIDE's social programs. "We will keep promoting the idea that chess is a culture and a tool to improve our societies - more than just a game or a sport. Chess is an excellent tool to develop useful skills for children in their future, like complex problem-solving, as well as socio-emotional intelligence".

Dvorkovich's second term will also be the last, as one of the first tasks that he undertook shortly after being elected in 2018 was to renew the FIDE Charter, introduce term limits, and other democratic reforms. Among them, the "FIDE Presidential Board" was replaced by the "FIDE Council", effectively limiting the President's powers.