Dear All, I have read more than once, Mr. Filatov’s interview published on FIDE web site, and besides giving an excellent view of Russian chess and the tasks he faces as President of the RCF, he gives his personal point of view about FIDE and its future about which I would like to comment.
Before making any comments, it is necessary to speak about the origin of the situation created by the sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department on the FIDE President, forbidding US citizens or companies having any economic dealing with him and freezing all his assets in the USA. Mr Ilyumzhinov has filed a lawsuit against the US Treasury Department actions and shall fight against the sanctions in the US courts, claiming USD 20 billion for the damage done to his prestige.
Under these circumstances, at the 4Q Presidential Board meeting held at Athens in December 2015, Mr. Ilyumzhinov announced that he was asking to temporary step down, transferring all his functions in FIDE to the Deputy President according to FIDE Statutes. This was in order to protect FIDE and to have time to deal with the USA sanctions. His proposal was almost unanimously accepted by the Presidential Board and it was published on the FIDE web site.
First of all I agree with Mr. Filatov when he says that it will be very difficult for Mr. Ilyumzhinov to win the case. Personally, I believe that it will take a long time to reach a final decision, whatever it might be. I also agree with Mr. Filatov when he says that the sanctions are a serious blow to FIDE regarding the position of potential sponsors.
Then comes the question of the actual situation. As nothing has changed and the sanctions remain in force, I think the situation remains the same. So there is no reason to reverse the Athens PB decision, nor is it necessary to call for a vote to reverse it. I consider that at the moment the sanctions are lifted, Mr. Ilyumzhinov will recover all the powers as FIDE President.
Another question is what may happen in 2018. Mr. Filatov has said that he is not interested in running as FIDE President. Mr. Makropoulos, who is an excellent Chief of Staff, has said the same. Mr. Filatov also analyses the possibility that two Russian GMs may run in the 2018 Presidential race. I agree that although elections may seem very far off, it is necessary to think about it and be prepared well in advance. I am sure and shall not be surprised if other names are mentioned.
I appreciate very much the work Mr. Ilyumzhinov has done in the past as FIDE President, I cannot forget how he rescued FIDE from its financial problems in 1995 and how much he has spent from his own pocket for chess, nevertheless our main obligation is with FIDE as an institution and we must protect it from anything that may harm its work.
Continental President for America
Member of the Presidential Board