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Kremlin says world chess tournaments should go as planned despite FIDE’s presidential row

The International Chess Federation’s official website announced earlier in the day that the federation’s president submitted a letter of resignation, which Ilyumzhinov himself denied later

MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. Dmitry Peskov, the chairman of the Russian Chess Federation’s Board of Trustees, told TASS on Monday that everything should be done to settle a contradictory scandal around FIDE president’s alleged resignation to secure the upcoming international chess competitions.

"We believe that everything possible must be done to avoid any possible disruption in the organization (of upcoming international tournaments) and most importantly to evade all barriers in the direction of further development and popularization of the sport of chess," Peskov, who is also a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said.

The International Chess Federation’s official website announced earlier in the day that the federation’s president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, submitted a letter of resignation. Ilyumzhinov denied the reports later saying in an interview with TASS he believed it was "a set-up" on behalf of "the US Chess Federation and its allies."

The FIDE was quoted as saying in its statement earlier in the day, that following the federation’s session in Athens on March 26, Ilyumzhinov announced resignation plans from the post of the president. The statement added that an extraordinary session of the FIDE Presidential Council would convene next month to regard the issue.

Ilyumzhinov told TASS earlier on Monday that the recent fuss over his alleged resignation was sparked by the US Chess Federation and their allies.

"This intrigue has been whipped up by the US Chess Federation and its allies," Ilyumzhinov said. "And this attempt is the latest among many."

"They tried to raise the issue of my resignation during the session in Athens, but it failed," he noted. "In general, I sometimes receive threats demanding that I resign."

In November 2015, the United States Department of Treasury slapped sanctions on Ilyumzhinov stating that he had been "materially assisting and acting for, or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria." Ilyumzhinov denied the allegations saying he had no commercial interests in Syria.

The FIDE chief announced his plans last spring to go to New York for the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship in November of 2016 and hoped that the US-imposed sanctions would be lifted by that time. However, his hopes were dashed and Ilyumzhinov had to watch the battle for the World Chess Crown online.

Russian businessman and longtime FIDE President Ilyumzhinov was re-elected to this post in August 2014 beating former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov. Ilyumzhinov won 110 votes, while Grandmaster Kasparov garnered 61 FIDE mandates.

In 2010, Ilyumzhinov faced a similar challenge by another former world champion, Anatoly Karpov, Kasparov's long-time rival. Ilyumzhinov plans to run for re-election again in 2018.

The 54-year-old FIDE president, who has headed the federation since 1995, promised to put chess into the Winter Olympics’ program.