SOURCE: Chess Review

September 08, 2010 09:25 ET

Chess Review: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to Step Down as President of Kalmykia to Focus on FIDE

MOSCOW--(Marketwire - September 8, 2010) -  Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of Kalmykia since 1993, has asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev not to consider him for another term as head of the republic. Ilyumzhinov intends to focus on developing chess around the world as President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

"I served as President of Kalmykia for a very long time. Now I hope to apply my 20 years of political and government experience as well as my friendship with heads of state and regional governments to my efforts of making chess more popular and successful," said Ilyumzhinov in a statement.

Ilyumzhinov backed Russian President Dmitry Medevev's initiative to replace long-serving regional leaders with new ones: "I am stepping down at the end of my term because I agree that the new people should come in. I also realize that promoting and developing chess around the world is a full-time job and it requires all of my attention. At the moment, we are implementing very important international programs, such as 'Chess is schools,'" said Ilyumzhinov.

Ilyumzhinov is running for re-election as FIDE president against former chess champion Anatoly Karpov. The chess federations of 93 out of 170 county-members have already come out in support of Ilyumzhinov's re-election bid, making him a clear front-runner. In the past week, Ilyumzhinov has received endorsements from the national chess federations of China, Aruba, Barbados, and Israel. It is currently unknown how many national chess federations endorse Ilyumzhinov's opponent Anatoly Karpov's candidacy, and the former champion's campaign website provides no official count.

The FIDE presidential election will take place on September 29 during the Chess Olympiad in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk.

The Chess Review (www.thechessreview.com) covers chess news and events around the world.