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FIDE chief: Still unclear when to expect Russia, Belarus at global chess tournaments

Arkady Dvorkovich stated that the General Assembly in India tasked the FIDE Council to study the issue of Russian and Belarusian teams’ participation in world tournaments during a separately organized session

CHENNAI /India/, August 9. /TASS/. It is still unclear when national chess teams representing Russia and Belarus will be able again to play at the level of international tournaments, President of World Chess Federation (FIDE) Arkady Dvorkovich told TASS on Tuesday.

"I have no answer to this question," Dvorkovich said in response to a question when the national chess teams from Russia and Belarus would be back playing on the international arena. "The whole chess family’s stance is about seeing all available conditions paving the way for this to happen."

At the FIDE General Assembly, held in India’s Chennai on August 7-8, Russia’s Dvorkovich has been reelected for another presidential term leaving behind his closest opponents - Ukraine’s Andrey Barishpolets, Inalbek Sheripov of Belarus and Bachar Kouatly from France. As many as 179 delegates out of 194 attending the Congress in Chennai took part in the vote. Five delegates abstained and one ballot was recognized as invalid. Dvorkovich secured 157 votes in his favor.

The FIDE president also stated that the General Assembly in India tasked the FIDE Council to study the issue of Russian and Belarusian teams’ participation in world tournaments during a separately organized session.

"The family of FIDE wishes to see them as our full-fledged members," Dvorkovich said in an interview with TASS adding that the current suspension had been issued based on recommendations from the International Olympic Committee.

"However, I would like to reiterate that the chess federation [FIDE] is among the few to permit [individual] games for all chess players [from Russia and Belarus] under the flag of FIDE," he said. "We have already achieved this and it was an obvious signal that Russian and Belarussian chess players have the right to play [under the flag 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. The World Chess Federation followed the instructions and suspended players representing Russia and Belarus from all of its tournaments.

Dvorkovich, 50, who has been the president of FIDE since October 2018, also said in an interview with TASS that FIDE’s top priorities in the future would be the development of women chess tournaments, the availability of the game of chess and its social significance.

"We have outlined a number of priorities," he said. "One of them is the women chess. There is still a huge gap between them and men’s chess. For instance, it concerns major tournaments and the amount of prize money offered."

"It also concerns an issue of raising a new generation of female chess players - beginning from schools and ending up with academies - the provided support for all talented [female] players and a motivation background for them," Dvorkovich continued.

Speaking about the prospects for the women chess, Dvorkovich said that one of the "indicators of success" would be a representation of all countries by their women’s teams at the 2026 Chess Olympiad. The FIDE chief said that at the ongoing 2022 Chess Olympiad in India, women national chess teams are represented by 160 out of some 190 countries.

Commenting on the decision of Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen against defending his world champion’s title, Dvorkovich said that it did not devaluate the significance of the world chess crown’s title.

On July 20, Norwegian Chess Grandmaster Carlsen decided against defending his world champion’s title in a match for the world chess crown against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi.

"No, it does not devaluate it in any way. However, it is very regrettable that he had made such decision," Dvorkovich said.

"I am sure that there will be great interest toward the match for the world crown. It [the interest] will be on behalf of huge chess audiences in China and Russia, as well as in other countries, where the game of chess is valued, including in India," the FIDE chess noted adding that he keeps contact with Carlsen from time to time "and our talks are respectful, normal and positive."

Carlsen, 31, has reigned as the world chess champion since 2013, when he outplayed India’s Viswanathan Anand. He defended his world chess champion’s title in a match with Anand in 2014, beat Russia’s Sergey Karjakin in a match for the world chess crown in 2016, outperformed US Fabiano Caruana in 2018 and fended off Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021.

On July 3, Nepomniachtchi won the 2022 Candidates Chess Tournament and was granted the right to face Reigning World Champion in the World Chess Championship in 2023. Nepomniachtchi, 31, holds the European champion title (2010) and is a two-time world champion in the team tournaments (2013, 2019). He won the Candidates Tournament in 2021 but was edged by Carlsen in December.

Following Carlsen’s announced decision on Wednesday, Nepomniachtchi is most likely to clash for the world’s chess crown with China’s Ding Liren, who is his runner-up at the 2022 Candidates Chess Tournament.

Commenting on a possible date of the next encounter for the world’s chess crown, Dvorkovich said "It will be more likely to be organized in late spring next year."

"Talks are underway about the venue. I cannot name the venues at the moment, but we have several options to consider," the FIDE president added.

Asked about a possible prize money budget of the tournament for the world’s chess crown, Dvorkovich replied "It should be no less than two million euros (over $2.04 million).