Russia's status in chess is expected to be discussed at the FIDE General Assembly ©Getty Images

Russian Chess Federation (RCF) delegate Mikhail Kobalia is set to question the sanctions on athletes from Russia and Belarus at the upcoming International Chess Federation (FIDE) General Assembly in Chennai.

FIDE is to visit the Indian city for the General Assembly on August 7 and 8.

Players from the two affected nations are unable to compete under the FIDE flag at international tournaments until December 31.

On March 16, the FIDE Council banned national teams of Russia and Belarus from participating in competitions.

Kobalia was one of 43 elite Russian chess players who signed an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, protesting the invasion of Ukraine by their home nation, as well as expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Others who had signed the letter include the most-recent World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Alexander Grischuk and reigning Russian champion Nikita Vitiugov had not signed, but had previously condemned the war in public.

Notably, Russian chess grandmaster and 2016 world title challenger Sergey Karjakin was granted a state award by Putin after he was suspended by FIDE for publicly supporting the invasion of Ukraine, which led to the sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

Sergey Karjakin was suspended by FIDE for supporting the invasion of Ukraine ©Getty Images
Sergey Karjakin was suspended by FIDE for supporting the invasion of Ukraine ©Getty Images

"Another issue that I plan to raise at the assembly is the fairness and validity of sports sanctions that are imposed for political reasons," said Kobalia to Russian state news agency TASS.

"I believe that this important issue should be resolved in an open discussion.

"As a long-term coach of the Russian youth team, I know how sensitive sanctions both for the growth of young athletes can be, and for professionals, and especially for socially unprotected groups of chess players, such as veterans and disabled people.

"I hope that representatives of the chess world will be able to develop a depoliticised approach to resolving this issue."

The FIDE General Assembly is to elect the President of the organisation, with the current leader being Russian Arkady Dvorkovich.

He is to be challenged by Ukraine's Andrei Barishpolets, Belarusian Inalbek Sheripov and Frenchman Baar Kuatli.