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World Chess Federation sets Presidential Board’s urgent meeting for April 10

MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. An extraordinary session of the Presidential Board of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) has been scheduled for April 10, according to the federation's high-ranking official.

On Monday, FIDE’s official website posted a statement on President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s supposed resignation. It stated that FIDE’s president announced his decision to step down at a meeting of the organization’s council in Athens on March 26. However, Ilyumzhinov rejected this report while talking to TASS.

Ilyumzhinov told TASS that his attempts to get in touch with the federation’s secretariat were being ignored and his explanatory letter regarding the situation had not been considered as of yet by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos and was not published on the official website.

Ilyumzhinov’s letter, however, was published on FIDE website on Tuesday and in response to it FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman stated: "During the Presidential Board Meeting in Athens, you several times threatened to resign and at the end of the meeting, three times you repeated ‘I resign’ before leaving the room."

"At the request of board members, an Extraordinary Presidential Board meeting has been called on 10th April to discuss this issue," Freeman was quoted as saying by FIDE in his official letter.

Ilyumzhinov maintains that someone tried to play the card of his US entry ban to oust him from the presidential post of the world’s chess federation.

"I believe it all happened because of my inclusion in the US sanctions list, and certain members of the Presidential Council decided that I should leave," Ilyumzhinov said earlier in an interview with TASS.

"I have many tasks and problems that must be resolved," Ilyumzhinov said. "We are in a regular work schedule and are coping with it. It seems that somebody wants to take advantage of my inclusion in the (United States) sanctions list."

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.