The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is considering an unlikely bid to become part of the Winter Olympic Games, it has been reported.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, has claimed chess would be a good addition to the Winter Games, which he said might be a more viable option after not making it onto the programme for the summer edition when applying some 20 years ago.
The Russian, who was elected to the ruling council of SportAccord last month, told Xinhua during the World Women's Team Chess Championship in Chengdu, China that players could use pieces made of ice to meet the requirements of the Olympic Charter, which states: “Only those sports which are practised on snow or ice are considered as winter sports”.
He is also quoted as saying that the chess competition could be staged in the afternoons during the Games when few winter events are taking place and that its fan base is significantly larger than the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires.
This comes as various sports - including baseball and softball, squash, karate, surfing, skateboarding and snooker - are attempted to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Summer programme, with a decision due to be confirmed at next year's IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.
Others, such as chess and cross country running, have seen the Winter Olympics as a more viable platform, although any attempt from a non-traditionally winter discipline to be added is likely to meet with fierce opposition from the sports currently on the programme, and appears to have little chance of succeeding.
Chinese Grandmaster and national women's team coach Yu Shaoteng said he backed the notion.
"I think FIDE is trying hard to promote the sport in order to benefit more players,” he explained.
“So I support his idea.
"It is difficult for chess to be added to the Summer Games schedule.
“Perhaps there is a chance for us in the Winter Games.”
However, FIDE vice-president Boris Kutin appears a little less optimistic and admitted, “It's not easy."
April 2015: New SportAccord Council member seeking to represent Russian interests and "keep peace" with IOC