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World Chess Chief Ilyumzhinov Accuses Foes Of Plotting Revolution

World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gives a press conference in Moscow on March 29.
World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gives a press conference in Moscow on March 29.

Controversial World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has reiterated that he is not resigning, and says he is undecided on whether to seek reelection in September 2018.

The former Russian regional governor spoke at a press conference in Moscow on March 29, two days after FIDE announced on its website that he had resigned.

Ilyumzhinov, who issued a swift denial at the time, repeated that had not stepped down. He said he had come under pressure to do so at a March 26 FIDE presidential board meeting, and accused top FIDE officials of plotting "a small revolution."

"Some have already begun to think about the next FIDE presidential election in 2018. Others started to give advice that I need to quit," said llyumzhinov, who has headed FIDE since 1995 with the Kremlin's support.

As for the election, he said, "I don't know yet whether I will run or not."

In a March 28 reply to a letter in which Ilyumzhinov stated that he had not resigned, FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman said that Ilyumzhinov had "three times...repeated 'I resign' before leaving the room" at the March 26 board meeting.

At the March 29 press conference, llyumzhinov said that he had verbally indicated he was ready to resign but never submitted a written resignation request.

A new board meeting has been scheduled for April 10 to discuss the issue.

Ilyunzhinov was accused of oppressive rule during his 1993-2010 tenure as governor of Kalmykia, a region in southern Russia, and an aide was convicted of the 1998 murder of journalist Larisa Yudina.

His reelections as FIDE president in 2006, 2010, and 2014 were marred by allegations of corruption and unfairness in the voting.

A wealthy businessman with a flamboyant streak, he has said that he was once abducted by aliens

Ilyumzhinov, who has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and was hit with U.S. sanctions in 2015 over his alleged support for the Syrian president, said on March 27 that he saw "American hands" in what he called a plot to oust him at FIDE.

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