What are FIDE elections? Why are they conducted? Which body oversees it? Find out more in this article through the example of the 2022 FIDE elections.
FIDE Elections are conducted every four years. The main goal of the elections is to decide who will run the International Chess Federation for the next tenure.
To decide that, a meeting is organized where delegates participate and vote.
But which body oversees the election? Who are the candidates who can run for office?
In this article, you'll learn about this through the example of the 2022 FIDE election.
The 2022 elections were held on 7th August 2022 in Chennai. Arkady Dvorkovich won the Election and became the FIDE president. Vishwanathan Anand, a 5-time world champion, became the deputy president under him.
Even though he had a landslide margin of 157 to 16 votes, there were many twists and turns in the tale.
To become a FIDE president, one has first to become a candidate. For that, one has to fill out and send an application form to the FIDE office.
For the 2022 Elections, June 7 was the date before which all the official candidacy applications had to be sent. It's exactly 2 months before the election date.
However, most candidates start their election campaigns way before this period.
After a few background checks and ensuring all the candidates meet the eligibility criteria, the Electoral Commission, which is responsible for ensuring the elections are run fairly, announces the list of Candidates who are ‘officially' running for the top spot.
Now to qualify as an official Candidate, there are a few criterias one must meet among the others, like:
In the end, the 4 official Candidates (as President and deputy, respectively) were selected for the 2022 Elections:
So what was their vision? Or at least what did they say was their promise?
On 21st July 2022, an Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) invited the official candidates for a debate on various topics around chess. This meeting was conducted online.
Out of the 4, Inalbek Cheripov didn't show up. So this meant there were only 3 presidential candidates.
Let's have a look at what they promised:
To give you a little background, Bachar Kouatly is a French Grandmaster. And he isn't new to chess elections.
He was a deputy president of FIDE in the past.
He spoke about the importance of innovating and bringing flexibility to the current administration. One of the promises he made was to distribute over 1 million chess sets if he got elected.
He's a former Russian politician and the incumbent President of FIDE, running for his second term in office.
He spoke about all the good things FIDE achieved under his tenure, including bringing more sponsorships.
Since he has close ties to the Russian government, the other candidates did mention how him being at the helm could impact the chess world.
As for his vision for the future, Dvokorvich mentioned that his focus was on bringing top tournaments to different continents and countries.
Andrii Baryshpolets is a chess Grandmaster from Ukraine, who currently works at Price Waterhouse Cooper in the US.
He spoke about bringing more professionalism and transparency to the FIDE administration. At the same time, he also highlighted how that FIDE had to become less political (hinting at Dvokorvich).
You can read this excellent report on the roundtable discussion by chess.com for a more detailed overview.
4 days before the election day, the Electoral Commission held a meeting to discuss and resolve complaints. During that, they disclosed that one of the Candidates, Inalbek Cheripov, had withdrawn their candidacy, leaving only 3 candidates in the race.
Now a question you might have is who are the people who vote? Whom do they represent? For that, you need to understand what is a FIDE congress.
The FIDE congress was held from 31st July 2022 - 9 August 2022 in Chennai.
This is a meeting where all the delegates representing their national federations come together to vote and discuss chess-related matters.
Every national federation gets one equal vote. In total, 195 member federations had voting rights for the 2022 Elections.
This is where the president and his deputy get elected.
More drama followed on Election day. Bachar Kouatly, one of the presidential Candidates running for office, announced that he was withdrawing from the election.
The reason? Lack of support from the delegates.
So it was down to 2 Candidates - one from Ukraine and the other from Russia.
Each Candidate had 15 minutes to speak and present their points.
Andreii Baryshpolet (from Ukraine) started first. In his speech, he mentioned Dvokorvich's ties with the Russian military and how he indirectly supported Russian warfare. However, most of the delegates remained silent during and after the speech.
When Dvokovich introduced his deputy, GM Vishwanathan Anand it was met with a big applause. After all, let's not forget that the FIDE election was held in Chennai - home of the 5-time world champion.
After the vote count, Dvokorvich emerged victorious with a huge margin of 157 to 16 votes, becoming a FIDE president for the second term.
His deputy would be Vishy Anand, the 5-time world champion.
FIDE elections are just like any other.
A few Candidates participate in it. They undertake certain promotional activities and present their vision for chess. The one who wins the election gets to make important decisions for the future of chess.
The voters are the member countries, each having an equal vote.
The Electoral Commission oversees their actions. It ensures that these elections are held fairly, and the candidates who will run the office are competent and suitable for the position.