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AICF to back Ilyumzhinov for FIDE chief post

Sports Reporter

Chennai: The All India Chess Federation (AICF) announced its backing of the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, for the office of the President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, at a press conference here on Thursday.

D.V. Sundar, Honorary Secretary, AICF, presented FIDE President Ilyumzhinov with a letter, confirming the Indian Federation's support of the Russian's candidature. The presidential elections for FIDE will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, this September.

Interacting with the press, Sundar said, “The AICF is honoured to extend its support to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's campaign to get re-elected.”

Ilyumzhinov, the President of the Republic of Kalmykia of the Russian Federation, has been heading the World Chess Federation for the last 15 years and it was during his tenure that the splintered chess fraternity unified in 2006.

“But for him (Ilyumzhinov) FIDE would have collapsed” said Sundar, commending Ilyumzhinov's achievements during his decade and a half reign as the President.

“India supported my candidature 15 years ago when I first ran for office and it is an honour again,” said Ilyumzhinov.

Ilyumzhinov proceeded to interact with Krishnan Sasikiran, B. Adhiban, G.N. Gopal, S.P. Sethuramanand other chess professionals.

India is currently classified in Zone 3.2 of Asia, and AICF's long-standing demand for a separate zonal classification neared fructification.

Ilyumzhinov announced, “I am happy to be here at the behest of the AICF and I would like to take this opportunity to confirm that FIDE will endorse India's proposal to be considered as a separate zone in the upcoming General Assembly meeting.”

The move to make India a separate zone (a status which countries like Russia and China currently enjoy) will make the achievement of requisite norms easier for players, while also enhancing the status of tournaments in the country.

Sundar also confirmed that other federations from the sub-continent including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal will back Ilyumzhinov.

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