It is long overdue for an African to take the lead of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), which is the world governing body for chess.
Since the creation of FIDE in 1924, chess administration has evolved, devolved, broken, mended, all the while being headed by various individuals from mostly European countries.
The most salient development, to both African federations and the global chess bodies (with organizer partnerships, reduction in cost of player participation, putting structures in place, etc.), has come from the current administration.
However, there is a niggling belief that the leadership of FIDE could have done much more, more so considering their promises in 2018. On this premise, Noel Enyonam Fumey has chosen to take up the mantle of leadership at FIDE to deliver in totality.
Who is Noel Enyonam Fumey?
A Togolese born in Lome, Togo in 1981. Noel Enyonam Fumey grew in stature and believed that “where one is at present, is not always where he/she is meant to be”.
His introduction to chess came when he was leaving his teenage years. The change experienced by the young man made him realize that the knowledge of chess is needed at various levels of life.
From that point, he dedicated himself to the knowledge and development of the game within his immediate environment.
This led to the formation of the Togo Chess Federation in the year 2003, where he served as General Secretary.
Furthermore, Noel ascended to the position of federation president in his country just over a decade later. A position he held until 2021.
His dedication to service made him one of the names to stand on the ACC ticket of Mr. Lewis Ncube in his charge to become president of the Africa Chess Union (now Confederation), as the Secretary General.
During this period, Noel earned the FIDE Arbiter title (2015), Candidate Master title (2015), as well as the International Arbiter title (2016).
He is currently the fifth best player in Togo (on the FIDE website), with an ELO rating of 1814 (classical).
Towards the end of the campaign (2018), not wanting to soil himself, Noel decided to resign from the ACC board. A move that showed the Arkady led team that they could work with this African.
Subsequently, Noel joined the Arkady team (with the tagline: Taking Chess Out of the Woods) and they won the election in 2018.
Noel served as the Secretary General until the FIDE statutes changed and he decided to work in another department to function better (in 2021).
Now, with all his experience gathered over the decades, Noel has decided to put himself in the running where the upcoming elections at the Olympiad in Chennai, India, will hold.
However, being a humble servant, he decided to inform the FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich, of his intention to run for the highest office in the global chess industry.
Noel’s Call to President Arkady
On April 30, Noel Enyonam Fumey communicated his decision to present a candidacy for the top job of FIDE, via a call to the current FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich.
Although, campaign formally begins on May 7, Noel believed it was a sign of respect to give the president a heads up about his intentions.
In the communication released by FIDE, Noel noted:
“FIDE machine is working effectively, but with my team, in a collaborative spirit with the current administration, we will ensure to deliver more and in a more efficient way, especially towards small federations”.
“Our team will develop a more sensible approach to the issue of sport and politics, while recognising the importance they have with each other. Our team will broaden FIDE sponsorship base, support all Level 4 and 5 federations by serious funding and help generate independent revenue for the federations. Our team will involve a broader range of countries in its operations”.
Although, the tickets are not official yet, Noel has announced that his Deputy-President would be Fide Master Stuart Fancy, who was born in London in 1959, and has been resident in Papua New Guinea for over thirty (30) years.
Stuart Fancy has represented Papua New Guinea at five (5) Olympiads (1982, 1992, 2002, 2004 and 2006). He is the Managing Director of Woolwich Group of Companies, a businessman that specialises in acquisitions and further development of companies.
In response, according to Noel Enyonam Fumey, “the FIDE President understood the will of the team, to offer an alternative solution to FIDE in view of the complex geopolitical situation, which is affecting FIDE.
He further stated that the ambitions will be treated well by the FIDE administration and the whole electoral process will be open, transparent and equitable.”
It would definitely be very interesting to have an African FIDE President.
Don’t you think!?