Kasparov, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, was the sole challenger against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy businessman known to be supported by the Russian president. Kasparov in the past has described Putin as an arrogant dictator, and in a recent interview he accused Ilyumzhinov of ‘working with Russian oligarchs in the Kremlin.’

Ilyumzhinov, who once claimed to have visited an alien spaceship, has headed the governing body of chess, known by its French acronym FIDE, for 19 years.

Supporters of Ilyumzhinov have said that Kasparov is too political for the job and that his advocacy of human rights is insincere. On the other hand Kasparov's supporters say Ilyumzhinov channeled federation resources to his election campaign and have accused him of other corrupt practices.

The two camps have accused each other of financial skullduggery.

In a letter in May to African chess officials, Lewis Ncube, a FIDE vice president from Zambia who supports Ilyumzhinov, said Kasparov was using ‘military contacts’ to pressure national federations into supporting his bid to become president ‘by hook or by crook.’

Russian embassies had reportedly contacted national chess federations worldwide to drum up support for Ilyumzhinov, but he denied any misconduct.

‘We have had no cases of corruption. I am very proud of my job,’ Ilyumzhinov said in a live stream broadcast and thanked Kasparov for participating in the election.

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