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Russian Chess Federation votes for membership in Asian Chess Federation

It was stated that RCF’s membership procedure to join the ACF might take two or three months

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Members of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) have unanimously voted to join the Asian Chess Federation, the RCF press office said in a statement on Thursday.

"A virtual meeting of the Russian Chess Federation’s Supervisory Board has been concluded on April 14 and its members unanimously voted to make the RCF a member of the Asian Chess Federation [ACF] participants," the statement reads.

A source close to the situation told TASS that RCF’s membership procedure to join the ACF might take two or three months.

"This procedure may proceed for two or three months," the source said. "First of all, they need to submit an official letter with the Asian federation and, in case, it is approved, to forward it to the European [confederation] asking it to exclude them. In fact it is a very complicated bureaucratic process."

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, said commenting on the RCF decision that "it was the right step to take."

"Our athletes, who play chess, will continue participating in tournaments and this is what is the most important," Peskov said.

Reached by a TASS correspondent, Russia’s Grandmaster Russia’s Sergey Karjakin said the Russian Chess Federation’s decision to join the ACF was the right one to make.

"I believe that this is an absolutely right decision to make," Karjakin told TASS. "Just take a look at the policy of European officials in regard to Russia in all of its sports activities, and not chess only."

"We must not be humiliated and beg for forgiveness; we made the right move, initiating the transformation," the world chess star noted. "India and China have powerful chess schools. I believe that we will be holding joint tournaments soon. I see only positive outcome in today’s decision."

Karjakin, 32, is currently 17th in the FIDE Rankings List. In 2016, the Russian chess player won the Candidates Tournament and then lost the World Chess Championship’s title encounter to Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Karjakin is the winner of the Chess World Cup 2015. He is also the world champion in Rapid Chess (2012) and Blitz (2016).

Among the ACF member states are national chess federations representing Australia, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the United Aram Emirates (UAE), Singapore and many others. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifh Al Nahyan is the reigning president of the Asian Chess Federation.

On March 16, the FIDE barred athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in international tournaments. The organization, however, allowed representatives of these countries play individually under the flag and logo of FIDE.

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.

Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.

Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.