Africa supports Ilyumzhinov’s fight for FIDE presidency

The participants of the African Chess Confederation (ACC) unanimously supported the candidacy of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the forthcoming FIDE presidential elections in August 2018. The ACC includes the leaders of the national chess federations of 47 countries of the Dark Continent. According to NG experts, familiar with the chess issues, ACC members provide more than 50% of the votes needed for the election of FIDE president.

As follows from the statement of the confederation, which meeting was held on 21 January in Tunisia, Sousse (a copy is available to NG), its participants declared "official support for the will of the esteemed Mr Ilyumzhinov to continue serving as leader of FIDE". "Considering the current situation in the FIDE, the prospects for the development of the African chess federations, the permanent attachment Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to African chess development, the process of the African Chess Foundation creation, we offer him (Ilyumzhinov) our support," says the final statement of ACC, signed by Confederation President Lewis Ncube and Secretary General Enonyam Sewa Fumey.
The election of FIDE president will be held in August 2018 in Baku. According to the experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in order to win elections, applicants need to enlist the support of 90 national chess federations. Therefore, the support of the ACC already gives Ilyumzhinov more than 50% of the votes needed to retain the post of FIDE president. "Nevertheless, there is still a bitter struggle because the United States is up against Ilyumzhinov," the source of Nezavisimaya Gazeta close to FIDE leadership commented on the situation. "The Americans imposed personal sanctions against Ilyumzhinov and this was done with one goal -- to prevent his re-election, as a Russian citizen, to the post of FIDE president."
"The struggle for the post of FIDE president appears to be another platform for the hybrid war between Washington and Moscow," said political expert Sergei Krotov. "In this situation it is difficult to comment on the position of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF), which has not yet announced its support of Russian citizen Ilyumzhinov in the fight for the post of FIDE president."
Sources of NG in the chess circles explain the behavior of the leaders of the Russian Chess Federation differently. Some believe that the RCF leadership plays the role of an "ambush regiment", which, at the culminating moment of the struggle, will announce the support of its candidate ("of course, it will be Ilyumzhinov, since Putin openly supported him"). Others, on the contrary, believe that Ilyumzhinov should not count on the help of his compatriots, since allegedly "RCF leadership has influential persons who have real estate and business abroad and are afraid of Western sanctions, and therefore, inclined to support a foreign citizen in the FIDE presidential election." As an argument these sources cite the fact that the Crimea chess federation had not been accredited to the RCF for almost four years." In fact, the Crimean chess players are not accepted into the Russian federation and it is noteworthy that RCF leaders have never visited the Crimea since 2014. It is hardly possible to explain this by some special employment. This is, rather, a political position," Sergei Krotov believes.
According to Krotov, "the main voters of Ilyumzhinov in the 2018 FIDE presidential elections will be chess federations of Africa, Asia and Latin America."