Kirzan Ilyunzhinov re-elected President of the World Chess Federation, defeating Karpov

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ilyumzhinov re-elected pres. of Chess Federation

MOSCOW — A mercurial former Russian provincial governor was re-elected President of the World Chess Federation Wednesday, news reports said.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov won 95 votes at Wednesday’s congress of the federation, which is known by its French acronym, FIDE. The congress was held in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk.

The other candidate was former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, who received 55 votes, according to the RIA Novosti and ITAR-Tass news agencies. After his victory, Ilyumzhinov offered Karpov the vice presidency.

Ilyumzhinov was first elected president of the federation in 1995. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2006.

Earlier this month, he stepped down as leader of Russia’s predominantly Buddhist southern province of Kalmykia, which he had led since 1993. The arid, impoverished area is dominated by Mongol-speaking Kalmyks.

Ilyumzhinov has claimed to have visited an alien spaceship and said he uses hypnosis in daily communication and consults clairvoyants in his business affairs.

Rights activists have accused him of cronyism, corruption, rights abuses and squandering government funds on chess championships and Buddhist temples — allegations he has denied.

(This version CORRECTS spelling of Ilyumzhinov’s name in overline.) )

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