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Saturday, 14 Sep 2019 2:50
2019 3rd Quarter FIDE Presidential Board Meeting

The new FIDE Charter was the main point in the agenda of the 2019 third quarter Presidential Board meeting, held in Budapest last weekend. During the gala dinner, the Hungarian Chess Federation took the opportunity to express their will to bid to organize the Chess Olympiad in 2024.

The Presidential Board meeting opened with the report from the FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who informed the attendants about his recent trips to South America and Morocco. The main outcome from these trips has been a firm commitment from political authorities in the visited countries to support chess and to organize some top events in the near future. The President also briefed the Board about the incoming events (World Cup and Women's Grand Prix), and about the new FIDE website that is about to be launched.

On behalf of the Global Strategy Commission, Emil Sutovsky reported on the progress regarding FIDE's flag-ship competitions. The Candidates tournament 2020 is confirmed to take place in Ekaterinburg during the second half of March (exact dates will be confirmed soon). As for the World Championship, there are three cities interested in hosting the match, but since the three of them requested some extra time, the bidding deadline has been postponed to November 1st.

The chapter about the Chess Olympiad sparked an interesting debate regarding the role of captains. Should they be allowed to talk to their players during the games? In many cases, a strong Grandmaster is acting as a captain for a team where the average rating is 2300. Is it fair in a case like this that the captain can instruct a player to accept or offer a draw? Different views were exchanged on this topic, with the general conclusion that the matter deserves a longer discussion in the near future.

Another important point that was unanimously approved was the fees reduction. FIDE will cut or waive fees at youth events by 120,000 euros annually, starting in January 2020. This will mean an approximate 40% cut in that concept. A small panel (for more agility) will be created to finalize the details on how this reduction will come into force.

Viktor Bologan was in charge of reporting about the Planning and Development Commission and he presented very detailed figures about how the Development Fund has been used so far to support and develop federations to the members of the board. Some members of the board took the chance to exchange views on the best ways to promote chess. Bachar Kouatly strongly suggested investing in formation, rather than in events, while Judit Polgar offered her views and experience on how to use online tools for chess promotion. In general, the consensus was that FIDE should shift a little from supporting events, to support activities that imply grassroots promotion and growth.

The most important point of this Presidential Board meeting was probably the reform of the FIDE Statutes. Roberto Rivello was given the task to chair a group of experts charged to prepare a proposal of full reform of the current Statutes, drafting a juridically correct and comprehensive text that the Constitutional Commission proposed to call "FIDE Charter". "FIDE needs this reform, not only because the current FIDE Statutes were written many decades ago and the role of international sports federations is completely different today, as it is our society. But mainly because we need to move in the direction of a more modern, transparent, democratic and efficient institution, and the main rules of our organization have a fundamental role to play in making this possible.", explained Roberto, who received warm applause when he finished his presentation.

The members of the Presidential Board were invited to a gala dinner at the Hungarian Parliament. Pál Schmitt, former Hungarian Olympic fencer, member of the IOC and politician who served as President of Hungary from 2010 to 2012, gave the opening speech before the dinner. Mr Schmitt told the attendants how he uses to play chess online for more than an hour a day and expressed his firm support to the recognition of chess as a sport by the IOC.

State secretary Tamás Menczer emphasized that the Hungarians are famous for being good organizers, with great experience in organizing major international sports events, and the country has a sports-friendly government that supports the efforts of the Hungarian Chess Association.

But the biggest announcement came from László Szabó, recently elected as the new President of the Hungarian Chess Association (MSSZ). After stressing the close links between chess and some of the biggest personalities in the history of the country, on behalf of the Hungarian Chess Federation he expressed their will to bid to host the 2024 Chess Olympiad.