Tue | Feb 19, 2019

Wilkinson doesn’t want FIDE presidency

Published:Monday | January 21, 2019 | 11:22 PM
RJRGLEANER Communications Group CEO, Gary Allen (right), presents Ian Wilkinson with the Chairman’s Award for excellence in the field of chess.
RJRGLEANER Communications Group CEO, Gary Allen (right), presents Ian Wilkinson with the Chairman’s Award for excellence in the field of chess.

Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) president, Ian Wilkinson says he has aspirations to lead the sports’ international governing body, the World Chess Federation (FIDE), one day but says to do so now would be premature as he was only recently appointed honorary vice-president of the federation.

Wilkinson was speaking with The Gleaner after receiving the Chairman’s Award for his outstanding work in the sport for more than a decade and a half, at the recent RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards ceremony at The Pegasus hotel on Friday.

Wilkinson was nominated for the vice-president position by FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich, the former deputy prime minister of Russia. His nomination was then ratified by the governing board on October 3, 2018, and Wilkinson has no intention of challenging his close ally so early into his tenure.

“I have been encouraged to do so by some persons, but it is a little premature to consider that,” Wilkinson said. “The current president, Mr Dvorkovich, has my full support. He is not even six months into his term, and it’s a four years term, so I won’t even consider that as a possibility. I will have to wait until his term is up or he indicates what his future plans are.”

However, the long-standing local president wants to use his new found position to get better recognition and more opportunities for Jamaican chess.

“I want to bring recognition internationally to Jamaica’s chess,” he said. “I want to get more assistance from higher-level coaches and players, especially grand masters, get more equipment and better equipment. Get more exposure to international competition and support for our players to travel and also to bring people to Jamaica to play our players,” he reasoned.

Seeking opportunities

“I am also going to advocate from an administrative standpoint, for better recognition of our events and better opportunities for international certified coaches and arbiters. We have a lot of things in place and we are lining up support. We are going to see more tangible benefits in the near future ,” he said.

But Wilkinson, who has had four resignations as local president refused by the board, believes it’s time for a new leadership of the local level.

“I have been president of the local federation since 2003, and I made it quite clear that this is going to be my last term, and in June when my term is up, I will not be seeking re-election. I am hoping that the baton will be passed and the organisation reenergises itself. I will still be on the governing council, but no organisation can grow properly if one person remains at the helm too long.

“I have resigned four times, and it hasn’t been accepted, but I remained because the work wasn’t done and I did not have a successor properly in place. I have had persons but it never materialised,” he said.

“The current minister of finance and public service, Nigel Clarke, I was hoping he would replace me. He is my vice president, but greater duty called and we have to respect that,” he added.