The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has elected a new president, picking Kremlin favorite Arkady Dvorkovich to replace eccentric longtime chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Dvorkovich, a former Russian deputy prime minister, beat out Georgios Makropoulos of Greece, the current FIDE deputy president, in the October 3 vote at a congress in the Georgian Black Sea resort city of Batumi.
A third candidate, British chess grandmaster Nigel Short, withdrew from the running earlier in the day and backed Dvorkovich, who is a member of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) Supervisory Board.
Ilyumzhinov, the flamboyant and controversial figure who has led the federation since 1995, did not run for reelection. He was suspended in July for allegedly violating the FIDE code of ethics, which he denied.
In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin wished Dvorkovich success and publicly predicted he would become FIDE president.
Makropoulos then referred Dvorkovich and his backers to the FIDE ethics commission over what he claimed were attempts to influence Serbia's vote with "gifts" and "fraudulent sponsorships."
FIDE found Dvorkovich and his team not guilty due to insufficient evidence but excluded Serbia's delegate from the vote.
Ilyumzhinov, the longtime former president of Russia's Kalmykia region, has been hit with U.S. sanctions for allegedly providing assistance to the Syrian government and facilitating transactions on its behalf.
Increasingly sidelined at FIDE in the past few years, he has claimed he is the victim of a U.S.-led plot to topple him.
Ilyumzhinov was accused of oppressive rule during his 1993-2010 tenure as leader of the region in southern Russia, and an aide was convicted of the 1998 murder of journalist Larisa Yudina
He once claimed on television to have met aliens on board a spaceship.