US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer reports from Abu Dhabi:
US Chess is participating in the FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The US Chess delegation includes (see photo below, left-right) FIDE Vice President Michael Khodarkovsky , Executive Director Carol Meyer, President Allen Priest, US Chess Member IA David Hater (a candidate for the FIDE Ethics Commission), and Executive Board Member Mike Hoffpauir. The EGA was scheduled last fall with a primary goal of adopting a new charter that modernizes FIDE’s organizational structure.
Prior to the opening of the formal EGA, the Verification, Ethics and Constitutional Commissions met to finalize business for the EGA. FIDE Vice President and US Chess Delegate Khodarkovsky also participated in a closed Presidential Board meeting.
On Friday, the EGA kicked off with a report from FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, who touted several accomplishments during his 16-month tenure. Among the accomplishments highlighted:
- New FIDE Website
- Increased investments in developing nations, with 77 nations receiving funds for projects for tournaments, trainings, coaching and equipment
- New external collaborations with the International Olympic Committee and United Nations, including a World Chess Day designation of July 20, 2020
- First Paralympic chess tournament, to be held alongside the 2020 General Assembly and Olympiads in Russia
- Reworked World Championship Cycle for both men and women and increased prize funds for the women’s world championship
- Moved FIDE offices from Greece to Lausanne, Switzerland
Despite concerns about coronavirus impacting participation and the ubiquitous aroma of hand sanitizer, a quorum was established with 122 Delegates present.
In EGA business, several new member federations were admitted: St. Lucia, Equatorial Guinea, Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and Chad. The addition of these new members brings the FIDE membership total to 195 member nations.
Discussion ensued about the proposed charter, a document that has been circulating in various versions since July 2019. US Chess had substantial input into the new charter along the way, including contributions since arriving in Abu Dhabi. Allen Priest speaks on the floor at the 3 hour, 46:30 minute mark:
The new charter modernizes FIDE’s organization structure and promotes more democratic procedures within the organization. Additionally, the charter clarifies roles and responsibilities of the organization and includes checks on Presidential authority. The charter was approved overwhelmingly after discussion, with only one vote against and one abstention recorded.
FIDE’s financial regulations were amended with a vote by acclamation, eliminating the fee for the World Senior Team Championship and the World Senior Championship. Further, all non-membership fees are waived for Level five developing countries. The Council may make changes to the assessment structure. In addition, the General Assembly approved the appointment of an External Auditor for the annual audit of FIDE accounts for 2019.
US Chess Ethics Committee member David Hater was elected to the FIDE Ethics Commission from a field of 14 candidates for three open seats created by the adoption of the new charter. In addition to Mr. Hater, Johan Sigeman of Sweden and Khaled Arfa of Tunisia were elected and represent three different FIDE continental associations. Had the new charter not been adopted, a single vacancy on the Ethics Commission, which was created when WIM Ruth Haring passed away in November 2018, would have been all that was open. US Chess put forward David Hater’s name as candidate back in December 2018 for this opening to be elected at the next General Assembly.
Saturday’s meeting includes the FIDE Executive Board to complete the week’s events.