The international chess federation FIDE re-elected its Russian leader at a boisterous, some said “wild,” meeting during the Chess Olympiad now going on in Norway’s northern city of Tromsø. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov beat challenger and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that 110 nations that are members of FIDE voted for Ilyumzhinov while 61 voted for Kasparov. Four votes were disqualified.
Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy Russian businessman with reportedly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he was “proud” to be re-elected and would devote his “whole life” to FIDE. “I also want to thank the greatest chess player of all time, Garry Kasparov, for being part of this,” he said in a gracious gesture.
The meeting and campaign leading up to Monday’s election was anything but, full of allegations of “dirty tricks” and corruption. NRK reported that the meeting on Monday turned into a sort of bidding contest, with each candidate claiming he could attract more funds to the federation, while others resorted to shouting and loud laughter.
Norwegian chess officials and chess star Magnus Carlsen had hoped Kasparov would win, saying it was time for a change at the top of the international organization. Kasparov has also coached Carlsen in the past.