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Controversial World Chess Federation Chief Won't Seek Another Term


World Chess Federation President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (file photo)

Russian news reports say that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, whose 23 years as president of the world governing body for chess has been shadowed by controversy, will not seek another term in office.

The Interfax and RBK news agencies quoted Ilyumzhinov as saying he would support the candidacy of former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich for the post at the World Chess Federation, which is known by its French initials FIDE.

"I have made the decision not to put forward my candidacy for the presidency at FIDE's annual congress in October of this year," Ilyumzhinov was quoted as saying. "I support Arkady Dvorkovich for the position of FIDE president."

A former governor of Russia's southern region of Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov has long been a controversial figure.

Since he first took the post as FIDE's president in 1995, he has suggested the game was invented by aliens and that he himself was abducted by aliens.

He also built a grandiose complex, known as Chess City, that is devoted to the game to the east of Kalmykia's capital Elista.

In 2015, the United States imposed financial and travel sanctions against Ilyumzhinov, accusing him of funding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Since then, he has openly battled other top executives at FIDE who have sought to push him out of the organization.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RBK
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