Purple wheat?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Some farmers in northwest Ohio have noted purple-reddish leaves on their wheat crop (see picture). If your wheat plants turned purple, here are a couple of things to note.Environmental: Was the shift in color fairly sudden and widespread in the field? If so, the purple leaves may be weather related. With the abnormally warmer temperatures we experienced this fall, the shift to colder temperatures may have been sudden enough to slow the wheat growth and cause the leaves to turn purple. If this is the case, make a note and watch what develops. Also, planting too shallow, late planting date, abnormally dry compaction soils can accentuate the appearance of the wheat as it adapts from warm to cold temperatures. There is nothing you can do at this time and new growth should shift back to green when warmer temperatures return in the spring.Some of the purpling may be due to a build-up of sugars (sucrose) in the leaf tissue. The switch from warm to cool temperatures can affect the rate of sugar transport in the plant, which may trigger anthocyanin formation. Anthocyanins are reddish-purple pigments that form in stem and leaf tissue, and can help absorb excess light energy and divert it away from photosynthetic centers. These pigments act as a sort of “sunblock” to help the plant handle the sunny and cool environmental conditions while minimizing permanent damage to the leaves.Fertility: If your wheat has been purple for a longer period of time, it may be indication of a phosphorus deficiency. For wheat production, soil phosphorus should be at least 25 ppm Bray P, according to the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendation. We are currently re-evaluating P requirements of wheat through on-farm research to validate that wheat P needs are higher than corn and soybean. Between 2013-2015, we conducted statewide soil testing and found 41% of the soils tested had soil phosphorus levels < 35 ppm Mehlich P. If you haven’t had your fields tested recently, we suggest taking a soil sample to evaluate soil fertility.Disease: Purple leaf discoloration may also be caused by diseases, particularly, barley yellow dwarf virus (BRDV). Indeed, BYDV could have been one of the possible causes of this problem, since conditions remained warm for several weeks after planting, favoring survival of the aphids that transmit this virus. However, contrary to what is being reported, plants with BYDV are usually not found uniformly distributed across the field or associated with tile lines. Due to the fact that this virus is transmitted by aphids, affected plant are commonly found in patches, often close to the edge of the field where aphids usually land and feed. In addition, on plants with typical symptoms of BYDV, only the tips of some of the leaves usually become discolored, not the entre leaf or the entire plant. So, based on what is being reported, it is unlikely that BYDV is the problem, however if it is, there is nothing you can do about it at this time, we will just have to wait and see what happens in the spring.last_img read more

State retained 7.5% growth, but farm sector in distress

first_imgMaharashtra’s economy grew at an estimated 7.5% in 2018-19, the same pace as the year before it, but growth in the agricultural sector collapsed to a mere 0.4% and crop output shrank by a sharp 8%.With industrial growth also contracting, it was only a sharp 9.2% growth in the Services sector that helped the State retain the 7.5% growth rate, as per the Economic Survey tabled in the Assembly on Monday.The agriculture and allied activities sector is expected to grow by 0.4% compared to 3.1% in 2017-18 while industry may grow by 6.9% compared to 7.6 % in the previous fiscal. Only the services sector is predicted to grow faster than the 8.1% recorded in 2017-18. What should set off alarm bells about the State’s agrarian economy is the 8% contraction in crop production during the year gone by. “The State is facing consecutive droughts. The drop in crop production is a result of that. Despite that, we have managed to keep the overall growth rate at more than that of the Indian economy,” said Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. “We are expected to maintain the pace of the growth despite odds,” he said, adding that the real Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is estimated to be ₹20,88,835 crore with expected growth of 7.5%. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has set a target to make Maharashtra a trillion dollar economy by 2025. Maharashtra is presently a $400 billion economy.The Opposition has raised doubts about the numbers quoted in the survey, and demanded a close scrutiny. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan flagged some doubts on the authenticity of figures and said the agricultural growth rate had been revised by almost 12%. “As per the Economic Survey of 2017-18, the estimated agriculture development rate was (-) 8.3%. In the present survey, it has been revised to 3.4%. It is impossible to have such a big change of almost 12%. The government should show proof of such drastic changes,” he said. Dhananjay Munde, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council said there was a need to set up an “all-party members’ committee” for evaluation of the Economic Survey.According to the survey, the State witnessed average rainfall (84.3% of the normal) in 2017-18, 10.7 percentage points lower than 2016-17. Production of food grain, oilseeds and cotton decreased by about 15.1%, 17.7% and 43.3% respectively while that of sugarcane, fruits and vegetables increased by 53.3%, 10.3% and 17% respectively. The survey estimates the growth rate of mining & quarrying and manufacturing sectors within the industry as 2.9% and 7.1% for 2018-19, up from 7.2% and 7.7% in 2017-18. Mr. Mungantiwar said that the State has registered growth in per capita income during 2018-19 at ₹1,91,827 from ₹1,76,102 of 2017-18. The State however, ranks at number three behind Karnataka and Telangana nationally.last_img read more

‘Fan’ Valdez says team has a lot of fight to show

first_imgStay hungry, Chot urges PH Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Valdez, who leads the Philippines in scoring with 14 points a game, will look to swing the Philippines back into the win column after suffering a disappointing three-set loss to Kazakhstan at the end of the group stages.The Filipinos’ 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 defeat left them at second in Pool A with a 1-1 record while Korea, despite sitting out Kim for the first two group stage games, went 3-0 to top Pool C.And while Valdez played in all of the Philippines’ games, Kim played in just one as she had to rest after playing for nearly a month in the FIVB World Grand Prix.Valdez knows that the 79th-ranked Philippines will be a definitive underdog against the 10th best team in the world.“It’s going to be a tougher second round because there’s Korea, Vietnam but we’re here to fight,” said Valdez. “We’re here to learn, we’re here to win, we’re here to fight.”ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:21‘Bato’ says Robredo has to toughen up: ‘This is war…hindi ka pwedeng pa-cute cute dito’00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOAlyssa Valdez has been, arguably, the face of Philippine volleyball for the past few years. But on Sunday the Phenom will be the one doing the admiring.The Filipino superstar will be facing off against the resolute leader of Korean volleyball, Kim Yeon-koung, and Valdez admits she’s a fan of the Fenerbahce hitter.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “We’ll just continue fighting because this tournament is far from over.” “I’ve been watching her as a fan, and I’m really excited playing against Korea,” said Valdez as the team prepares for the quarterfinals of the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Biñan, Laguna.Valdez believes the game against Korea will help sharpen the Philippines for the future.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We all know that Korea is a well-known team in international volleyball and playing against such an experienced team will be a great lesson for us players.”After this tournament, the Philippines will fly to Kuala Lumpur for the Southeast Asian Games, where it hopes to gain a podium finish. LATEST STORIES LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension View commentslast_img read more

Vine: Dante Fowler Danced With The Rowdy Reptiles During Today’s Basketball Game

first_imgDante Fowler celebrating during a Florida Gators football game.GAINESVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 05: Dante Fowler Jr. #6 of the Florida Gators celebrates a fumble recovery during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)University of Florida defensive end/outside linebacker Dante Fowler is forgoing his final year of eligibility so he can enter the 2015 NFL Draft, where he is a projected top-10 pick. Even though he is leaving Gainesville a year early, Fowler has shown he has a lot of love for Gator fans and he did so again today.During UF’s 57-56 win over Arkansas, Fowler hung out with the Rowdy Reptiles, Florida’s student section. He waved pom-poms and even showed off his dance moves.  After the game, Fowler showed love to the fans via his Instagram account:Had fun with them #RowdyReptilesA photo posted by Dante Fowler (@6ixxgod) on Jan 31, 2015 at 12:15pm PSTIt’s always good to see college athletes have fun and support fellow student-athletes. Fowler is an excellent example of that.[ @ThomasGoldkamp ]last_img read more

Videos: Ohio State Football Releases “All Of The Lights” Videos To Boast About Program’s National Exposure

first_imgOhio State quarterback JT Barrett at Ohio State's media day.Ohio State Media DayNo college football team will be covered more by the media this season than Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a hefty local media contingent covering them on a daily – and, really, hourly – basis. Dozens of national reporters will also descend upon Columbus for days at a time to write about Urban Meyer and his elite program. Just look at how packed it was at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this afternoon for Ohio State’s media day. OSU’s video production team has released a couple “All Of The Lights” videos to boast about the team’s national exposure. Can Ohio State handle the spotlight? Most likely.last_img read more

Nunavut government facing heat over housing corp red ink

first_imgAPTN National NewsNunavut legislators are demanding a public inquiry into the territory’s housing corporation.MLA’s are calling for an inquiry to get to the bottom of the housing corporation, which has found itself $100 million in the red.The Nunavut government, however, is resisting the call.APTN National News reporter Kent Driscoll has more on this escalating political battle that could topple the premier.last_img

Targeted methane emission cut rules estimated to save billions says CERI study

first_imgThe first exceeds the target, resulting in an emissions reduction of 35 million equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide per year but at a cost of $3 billion to $5.5 billion to implement.The second achieves the 45 percent or 20-million-tonne-per-year goal and costs $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, while the third cuts more than 22 million tonnes of emissions and costs just $500 million to $1.5 billion.CERI is partly funded by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers _ along with the federal and Alberta governments and others. Its findings support a recommendation by CAPP that industry be allowed the discretion to make methane reductions on a cost-effective basis.Fogwill says a problem with methane emission targets is that data is incomplete and therefore implementation should be delayed.Environmental groups have said data, often provided by industry, is flawed but want the regulations to be implemented sooner.Methane, the main component of natural gas, is considered a potent contributor to climate change. CALGARY, A.B. – A study from the Canadian Energy Research Institute suggests the oil and gas industry could save billions of dollars if governments implement optimized methane emission reduction regulations instead of requiring the same level of cuts at every emitting source.The federal government has proposed regulations for methane emission reductions from the upstream oil and gas sector that would start early next year with the target of cutting by 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 _ Alberta has the same percentage target but compared with 2014 emissions.CEO Allan Fogwill says CERI’s study examined three scenarios, one in which all possible means were employed to reduce all emission sources, one which required every methane emitter to cut by the 45 percent amount, and one where emission cuts were implemented on a best-bang-for-the-buck basis.last_img read more

Morocco only country in Arab region to anticipate Arab Spring thanks

first_imgTangier – Morocco is the only country in the Arab region that has managed tonticipate the “Arab Spring” by undertaking, in the last fifteen years, an unprecedented political openness at the time, said Friday in Tangier, Special Representative of the European Union for the Southern Mediterranean, Bernardino León Gross.This openness, which began during the reign of the late King Hassan II, was evidenced by a a political openness which led more pluralism, and this is what helped Morocco manage the new situation in the Arab region differently, he said.Regarding the position of the European Union vis-à -vis the events of the Arab Spring, Mr. Gross, who was speaking at the 3rd plenary session of the Medays Forum, said the EU seeks to support, politically and financially, the dynamics of change and the democratic reforms in the countries of the “Arab Spring”, in the framework of the respect for the national sovereignty of each country. In the same vein, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley called for the establishment of national strategies in the Arab Spring countries, for balanced relationships between the governors and the governed.Regarding the dynamics of change in his country, Mohamed Abdulghafar, diplomatic adviser to the King of Bahrain, noted that the “Bahraini Spring” began long before the Arab revolutions in 2011, thanks to a series of social and political reforms to meet the aspirations of the people.last_img read more

When Should You Draft a Quarterback in the First Round

In “No Team Can Beat the Draft,” my colleague Neil Paine argued that the player-evaluation market in the NFL appears to be pretty efficient. No team or general manager has shown an ability to consistently pick players who earn better stats in their first five years than we would expect given where they were taken in the draft.Neil’s argument doesn’t imply that no teams are better at general draft strategy than others. Some add value by trading their picks for more valuable picks. Some get value by picking in the “sweet spot” — the area where the return on investment for a pick is the highest (typically late in Round 1 or early in Round 2) — more often than others. Some address their team needs better than others. And so on.Of course, there’s also a lot of uncertainty in how players are valued. For Neil’s analysis, that’s not particularly important, because any arbitrary metric will do: If someone drafts better players, they will generally have more fruitful careers as measured by most metrics. But one weakness that almost all of those metrics share is not really understanding how much each player contributes to the overall quality of a team. This is a completely open question in football, with a wide range of estimates.So rather than looking at how players perform, I thought I’d take a quick look at how teams making certain types of picks perform overall over the next five years, relative to how we would expect teams of their strength to perform over the same period.For example, here’s how teams perform relative to their SRS (Simple Rating System, or margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule) depending on where in the first round they drafted (using data from 1970 onward):Teams drafting in the top five slightly exceed expectations, while teams in the early and mid-round underperform; teams who draft late in the round do better than we’d think (again, this is in addition to the fact that teams who draft late are generally stronger).This is completely consistent (and, in fact, supports) the Massey-Thaler analysis, which suggests that early first-round picks are somewhat valuable, mid-round picks are not, and then the value of picks rises steadily until peaking in the second round.If we use this result to adjust for when a team makes its picks, we can start to look for other patterns, such as how teams have done after drafting players of certain positions in various spots.For the following table, I first calculated each team’s expected performance (in SRS) over the next five years based on its record, its SRS in the previous year and where it was making their draft pick. Then I compared that expectation to its actual performance, broken down by its draft slot and the position of the player it drafted. Here are the results for the eight positions most commonly drafted in the first round:Granted, these results are noisy. A lot of the difference is likely just variance, but slightly more results seem statistically significant than we would expect. A couple of the strongest results also reflect plausible theories:First, teams who take quarterbacks in the first five picks tend to perform better than expected (unsurprisingly), but teams who take QBs later in the round typically perform worse. This is the result I was hoping to find, based on the theory that marquee quarterbacks are easy to identify, but sorting out the rest is difficult. In other words: If the top QBs are off the board, it’s probably not worth spending a first-round pick (and more money) speculatively.Second, tackles possibly aren’t as valuable as people think. Guards didn’t make the list because a lot fewer of them were taken in the first round, though for those that were, the teams who took them did better than average. This could be explained by tackles being poorly-valued by the market relative to guards. read more

Russia Made The King Of Chess The US Dethroned Him

The end of Ilyumzhinov’s reignResults for World Chess Federation (FIDE) presidential elections Nigel Short🇬🇧 EnglandTBD– Ilyumzhinov’s dual tenures in Kalmykia and at FIDE were dogged by scandal.Once dubbed the “King of Kalmykia,” Ilyumzhinov allegedly used his homeland as a base of operations for illicit activity and intimidated those who stood in his way.In expert witness testimony submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, Louise Shelley, the founder and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University in Washington, D.C., wrote that, “Under the Ilyumzhinov regime, the Kalmyk public and law enforcement agencies were repeatedly accused of interfering in election campaigns, engaging in corrupt activities, [and] covering up and profiting from organized crime.”The allegations, which Ilyumzhinov denies, go beyond corruption. Shelley testified that Ilyumzhinov’s regime “was tainted with gross human rights violations, including suppression of political opposition and harassment of human rights activists.”Perhaps the “grisliest,” she noted, was the assassination “linked to Ilyumzhinov’s name.”“But when you start to touch the purse, when you start to uncover concrete things that touch on money and concrete people, then they kill.”As Ilyumzhinov prepared to welcome players and delegates from more than 100 countries to Kalmykia for the 1998 Chess Olympiad, the mutilated body of a local journalist was discovered in a pond on the outskirts of Elista, the region’s capital city.Larisa Yudina had been the editor of Sovietskaya Kalmykia, an opposition newspaper affiliated with Yabloko, Russia’s most prominent liberal party. According to two of Yudina’s former colleagues, Valery Badmaev and Batyr Boromangnaev, Yudina had discovered details about a scheme involving Kalmykia’s so-called “offshore zone,” a tax haven from which many of Russia’s best-known oligarchs benefited.Yudina’s colleagues said she was poised to report that money paid by companies registered in the offshore zone was flowing into a presidential fund and foreign bank accounts instead of Kalmykia’s budget.“In Russia, you can criticize about some kind of general questions as much as you like,” said Badmaev. “But when you start to touch the purse, when you start to uncover concrete things that touch on money and concrete people, then they kill.”The subsequent federal investigation into Yudina’s murder quickly yielded three suspects — Sergey Vaskin, Vladimir Shanukov and Andrey Lipin — and uncovered a direct link to Ilyumzhinov. The leader Vaskin, a former police officer, was a onetime member of his campaign team.The three men were convicted, and in a Russian court filing detailing their sentences, the judge presiding over the case described how one of the men posed as a disgruntled former employee of an Ilyumzhinov-controlled agency that Yudina was investigating. He appeared to be eager to provide Yudina with compromising documents, luring her to an apartment where she was beaten and stabbed to death.“Her professional activities are creating headaches for some influential people in the republic,” Shanukov testified Vaskin told him. “In connection with that, she needs to be removed.”But in the end the authorities and the court found that “the involvement of other persons in the commission of the crime is not established.”Almost immediately after Yudina’s body was discovered, Yabloko launched its own investigation into the murder, fearing a cover-up by local authorities loyal to Ilyumzhinov. Valery Ostanin, a former police officer with 20 years’ experience, was given full access to the case materials.He called the murder the most “bestial” he had ever encountered. “There was blood on every wall and even on the ceiling,” Ostanin said.According to Ostanin, there was credible evidence linking the murder to Ilyumzhinov, including a flurry of communications between Vaskin and members of Ilyumzhinov’s administration shortly after Yudina’s body was discovered. Yet the investigation stalled, he said, as case materials went missing and key investigators were transferred away.In an interview, Ilyumzhinov acknowledged his acquaintance with Vaskin and his familiarity with Yudina’s reporting, but he dismissed the accusation he had any involvement in the tax scheme or her murder, claiming that he “investigated it specially so that there wouldn’t be conversations” and personally invited the federal agents from Moscow to launch their probe.“There was a trial, there was an investigation, it was proved. The issue is finished,” Ilyumzhinov said. “Let me accuse you or your father of killing John Kennedy or Martin Luther King. It’s absurd.”No charges were ever brought against Ilyumzhinov. In his childhood years, Ilyumzhinov wrote in his autobiography, he “seemed to be living two lives,” one as a troublemaking child, the other (after a lesson from his grandfather) as a chess obsessive.“I became fascinated by chess; I would sit at the checkerboard for hours forgetting everything,” Ilyumzhinov wrote of his childhood. “The 32 white and 32 black checks on the board seemed to me to encompass the duality of the whole world.”After a stint working in a factory and then military service, Ilyumzhinov entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of Russia’s most prestigious universities and widely known for producing two types of graduates — diplomats and spies.He graduated in 1989, having studied diplomacy and Japanese in the midst of perestroika, an era when the Soviet authorities began to allow limited types of private enterprise.“I wanted to become a millionaire,” he said. So rather than enter, say, the foreign ministry, he became a car salesman. Ilyumzhinov said he made a small fortune importing Japanese and other luxury cars and wrote that he turned some “huge profits” on various high-risk, high-reward ventures.According to Michael Khodarkovsky, a professor of history at Loyola University Chicago who has both studied in and written on Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov quickly established himself among a new breed of post-Soviet powerbrokers.“His early biography is very murky,” Khodarkovsky said. “After the Soviet collapse, people [like Ilyumzhinov] knew what strings to pull and quickly accumulated sizable fortunes.”With wealth came power, as impoverished institutions looked to Ilyumzhinov and his considerable resources for a financial bailout.He was elected to the Russian parliament in 1990, at which point, he wrote, he “began to allot money from [his] personal funds” to fill the gaps in the state’s budget. A few years later, in 1993, he was elected president of Kalmykia.He was 31 years old. His first decree was to make chess obligatory in Kalmyk schools.FIDE came calling shortly thereafter, and Ilyumzhinov harbors no illusions about the reason behind the sudden interest in his leadership.“Why was I elected? Because FIDE was bankrupt then,” Ilyumzhinov told us. “There was no money. And so they asked me.”In 1995, he was unanimously elected president of FIDE, giving him control of the sport that had long ago captured his imagination. He immediately moved to close FIDE’s debts, spending $2 million, he said, from his personal fortune.It would become apparent, however, that both Kalmykia and FIDE had traded a short-term problem for a long-term ruler whose alleged activities were destined to make headlines around the world for more than two decades.Some headlines were just weird — he has repeatedly claimed he was abducted by aliens in 1997. Others spoke to something more wicked. 2006Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia64%– Garry Kasparov🇷🇺 Russia36%– Whatever lingering suspicions surrounded Ilyumzhinov following the murder investigation, they don’t appear to have loosened his grip on power. He remained firmly entrenched in his Elista headquarters for more than a decade after Yudina’s killing, where throughout his rule a trio of flags waved overhead — one for Russia, one for Kalmykia, and one for FIDE.In the months following the murder, Ilyumzhinov was re-elected president of FIDE. He ran unopposed.According to Garry Kasparov, then the world’s top player and now an outspoken critic of both Ilyumzhinov and the Kremlin, chess insiders were more than willing to look the other way.“[It] just put on display the indifference of the world of chess,” Kasparov said in 2017, “for the source of money that was being used to fund chess activities.”“It’s not a secret. He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”Ilyumzhinov maintained a packed travel schedule that saw him unexpectedly but repeatedly appear beside some of the world’s best-known strongmen leaders, typically under the auspices of promoting the game.In 2003, Ilyumzhinov flew to Iraq, less than two days before the start of the U.S. invasion, where he reportedly met with Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. In 2011, he flew to Libya, amid an ongoing NATO bombing campaign, where he played a chess match against Moammar Gadhafi. And in 2012, he flew to Syria, shortly after the outbreak of civil war, where he met with Bashar Assad to, in Ilyumzhinov’s telling, deliver chess textbooks to Syrian schoolchildren.At times, he appeared to be doing much more than promoting chess. Over the years, Ilyumzhinov has repeatedly been alleged to act as an informal envoy for the Russian government.His son David confirmed that Ilyumzhinov served a unique role. “It’s not a secret,” David told us. “He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”With 188 national chess federations scattered across the globe, Ilyumzhinov’s opportunities for chess diplomacy were all but endless.“It offers unique opportunities to be used as the unofficial embassy,” Kasparov said. “So Ilyumzhinov can go to different places as the president of the chess federation. … He’s a very useful ambassador. If you can call it ambassador.”Ilyumzhinov, however, scoffed at questions about his association with other autocrats.“If tomorrow Kim Jong Un from North Korea [contacted me],” Ilyumzhinov said. “I would also travel there and develop chess.”He denied working directly for the Kremlin but acknowledged that his trips served a dual purpose. He described himself as a “people’s diplomat,” one who promoted not only chess but also “peace and stability.” He became “friends,” he said, with businessmen and politicians around the world with whom he might have casually shared information over lunch.Peskov, who also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of Russia’s national chess federation alongside other senior Russian officials, denied any connection between the Kremlin and Ilyumzhinov.“He used his influence, and he used his authority to promote chess globally,” Peskov said. “And he’s got certain results. He was very successful.”But Ilyumzhinov’s globetrotting — which his longtime deputy Georgios Makropoulos said was often the largest line item in FIDE’s annual budget — contributed to another fiscal crisis for the federation.Several chess insiders agreed that the FIDE president’s well-publicized association with oppressive regimes made would-be sponsors increasingly wary of association with FIDE.Rex Sinquefield, an American philanthropist and the biggest benefactor of American chess, bankrolls his own tournaments rather than doing business with FIDE.“It’s not a group we could work with,” Sinquefield told us. “There’s a fundamental question of integrity and honesty, and it’s pretty clear to me the mess they’re in.”But just as in Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov’s money and Kremlin connections would make him especially difficult to remove from his perch atop chess.The first serious challenge to his presidency came in 2010, when the Russian former world champion and onetime Communist Party apparatchik Anatoly Karpov ran against him. Karpov initially managed to win the support of the Russian Chess Federation until an armed raid of its headquarters, reportedly ordered by a then-senior Kremlin advisor Arkady Dvorkovich, appeared to persuade its officials to reconsider.The second serious challenge came in 2014, when Kasparov ran against him. He appeared to attract significant support to his reformist agenda until what Kasparov described as “direct interference” by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the network of Russian embassies, including, he said, threats of retaliation and outright bribery, accusations Ilyumzhinov dismissed.“What do I need votes for,” he asked us, “if I practically kept that organization running for 23 years?”It would ultimately take an intervention of the highest order to precipitate Ilyumzhinov’s downfall — and it came from President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department. Kalmykia, where Ilyumzhinov was born in 1962, would seem an unlikely springboard to power, but that’s where his rapid rise began.One of Russia’s harshest and poorest regions, it is a sweeping stretch of arid grassland home to a largely Buddhist population that was once targeted for exile and extermination by Joseph Stalin. 2018Arkady Dvorkovich🇷🇺 RussiaTBD– YearCandidateCountryVote share 1995Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– 1996Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia65%– Vladimir Putin speaks with Ilyumzhinov during a meeting in the Kremlin in 2006. Like in other elections around the world, Russia has been accused of meddling in FIDE’s election for the top spot in international chess. DMITRY ASTAKHOV / AFP / GETTY IMAGES But what’s next for Ilyumzhinov? His work, he said, is far from over. He said he will focus on philanthropic efforts to further his new goal of “teaching 1 billion people to play chess.”He also suggested he might play a role in the reconstruction of war-torn Syria.“Maybe I will do business there,” Ilyumzhinov said. “They are inviting me to get into it.”According to Ilyumzhinov’s son, David, Ilyumzhinov’s “connections” remain valuable, and his presence can provide a measure of protection and influence in Russia’s notoriously ruthless business environment.“He just partners,” David said. “Sometimes he goes in as cover, so that people won’t have problems. … It’s kind of lobbying but in a different way.”Ilyumzhinov wavers between aggrievement and acceptance. He laments that the institutions he believes he saved have now turned on him, calling him “a fool” and telling him to “get out of here.” But he also adopts a kind of Buddhist serenity, claiming he “never look[s] back” and declaring “what’s past is past.”“When people do nothing, just criticize, then I’m silent,” he said. “Because I have nothing to say to them. Like with the aliens. Why do aliens not argue with us? Because they are on a different level. I am on a different level to people. Why should I discuss or talk?”He points to the Buddhist temples and “chess palaces” he built in Kalmykia and in countries around the world, monuments to the money he poured into his passions.“Is that corruption?” he asked. “It’s a gift from me. Look how many I have built. I built that with my own money. In every region. They are real. They stand. Is that corruption? You Western people, you don’t know. You Western people don’t understand. You are a different mentality. I give.” The actual Chess City in Elista, on the left, and a model of its original, grander plan, featuring a chess-decorated castle, on the right. The neighborhood sits largely neglected in the Russian desert. PATRICK REEVELL Bessel Kok🇳🇱 Netherlands36%– In 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Ilyumzhinov “for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria,” which had employed brutal measures to maintain control of its territory amid a popular uprising.U.S. officials provided few details about the exact nature of the activity that led to the sanction but alleged that Ilyumzhinov owned or controlled the Russian Financial Alliance Bank alongside Mudalal Khuri, its chairman, who “has had a long association with the Assad regime and represents regime business and financial interests in Russia.”According to a former U.S. Treasury Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, being placed on the U.S. list of sanctioned individuals not only freezes all U.S.-based assets but “really is a scarlet letter in the financial system.”“Banks around the world will stop doing business with those people,” the former official said. “I mean a lot of banks, even non-U.S. banks.”Ilyumzhinov vehemently denied allegations that he had assisted the Assad regime, but the sanction created a legitimacy crisis for him at FIDE. Despite that, Ilyumzhinov continued to enjoy a level of state support that revealed how important chess remains to Putin and his inner circle.Peskov called the sanctions “illegal,” pointing out that Ilyumzhinov has never been convicted of any crime.“We’re living in a world of allegations and fake news,” Peskov said.Ilyumzhinov did all he could to combat the sanction. He wrote letters. He hired a lawyer. He even appealed directly to “His Excellency” President Donald Trump, whose alleged affinity for Russia had been dominating headlines for months.“I know that you are completely and utterly committed to the principles and ideals of America,” Ilyumzhinov wrote to Trump in September 2017 in a letter obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight. “I ask you to use your power and authority to allow me to come to New York and face law enforcement … Mr. President! What I’m asking is not vital for either FIDE or Ilyumzhinov. This is required by the principles of justice and human rights.”None of his efforts appeared to make much progress, so with his colleagues within FIDE urging him to step down, he focused on doing what he did best.Running for reelection.“You are managing the responsibilities well,” Putin said. “You have accumulated lots of experience and have every chance to win … and I’d like to wish you success.”By 2017, he appeared set to face his own deputy Makropoulos and English grandmaster Nigel Short, each of whom sought to cast themselves as reformers of a corrupt federation too close to the Kremlin.In response, Ilyumzhinov began mobilizing state support behind his candidacy. In July, he secured Putin’s endorsement in a segment on Russian state-owned television. “I feel that Russia should not concede this position,” Ilyumzhinov told Putin. “And I have decided to run again for the post of the president of FIDE.”“You certainly deserve this position,” Putin replied. “You are managing the responsibilities well. You have accumulated lots of experience and have every chance to win. In any case, you have deserved the right to present your candidacy and fight for the position, and I’d like to wish you success.”In October 2017, the U.S. Chess Federation received a letter, which was obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, from the Russian Embassy in the U.S., urging the federation to support Ilyumzhinov’s candidacy.“Chess is developing steadily,” wrote Russian Minister-Counselor Denis Gonchar. “And Mr. K. N. Ilyumzhinov enjoys high credibility according to his merit in the chess world.”But just as a financial crisis gave Ilyumzhinov power, it would ultimately be a financial crisis that took it away from him.In January of this year, the Swiss bank UBS moved to close FIDE’s accounts, notifying the federation of the “termination of [its] business relationship.” Bank officials, Makropoulos told us, made it clear in private meetings that FIDE’s accounts had become toxic.Despite the financial problems, Ilyumzhinov remained undeterred. He bolstered his presidential ticket with an American named Glen Stark. But this would-be chess official, it was soon discovered, was neither named Glen Stark nor was he American; he was, in fact, a Russian named Igor Shinder allegedly peddling inflated credentials.This strange scandal appeared to be too much, and Ilyumzhinov’s candidacy suffered an abrupt end — he stepped aside in favor of the Kremlin’s new chosen candidate, former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich.Ilyumzhinov characterized his departure differently. He is merely stepping down, he said, because he has already “fulfilled all the tasks” before him and, like an undefeated boxer in his heyday, he has “already beaten the strongest.”“If you have beaten Tyson and everyone, why go on, right?” Ilyumzhinov said. “You’re already top.” Georgios Makropoulos🇬🇷 GreeceTBD– Whether he’s on the ballot or not, the upcoming chess election, like every chess election since 1995, is about one thing: Ilyumzhinov.And like so many elections around the world, the Russians are allegedly meddling in it.Chess leaders have convened in Batumi, Georgia, this week to elect the federation’s first new leader in 23 years. On Wednesday, they will choose between three men — Greece’s Georgios Makropoulos, England’s Nigel Short, and Russia’s Arkady Dvorkovich.Makropoulos, Ilyumzhinov’s longtime deputy, is the de facto incumbent put in the awkward position of running on reform, framing the election as a choice between the federation’s political independence and continued “Kremlin control.” And Short, the longshot challenger, appears to have made more accusations than progress — he hoped for “the removal of the Makropoulos administration, which is nothing but a giant cancerous tumour on the body of chess.”But the Kremlin-preferred candidate is the late-entrant Dvorkovich, the former deputy prime minister, who oversaw Russia’s staging of the FIFA World Cup earlier this year. Dvorkovich has supported Ilyumzhinov in the past — he reportedly ordered the raid on the Russian Chess Federation in 2010 — and in many ways represents a continuation of the sport’s alignment with the Kremlin.The contest is facing mounting allegations of Russian interference, including an intervention by Vladimir Putin himself.In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July, Putin appears to have offered Netanyahu a deal to shore up support for his chosen candidate.“The Russian president asked the prime minister for Israel’s support in favor of former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s candidacy,” wrote an Israeli official in a cable obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight. “Putin, in turn, said he would support Israel as the host of the next world championship.”Dvorkovich disputed the interpretation that Putin was pressuring the Israelis to support him, telling the BBC that the Russian president “didn’t do anything wrong” and was merely “informing” his counterpart of an “important” election.Makropoulos has also accused Russia of trying to boost Dvorkovich’s candidacy by promising money, positions of power and gifts — including 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets — to officials who have a vote in FIDE’s election.Dvorkovich acknowledged inviting chess officials to the World Cup but denied providing them with tickets, and responded to Makropoulos’s claims by filing a defamation suit.Peskov said the Kremlin has had no involvement in the candidacies of either Ilyumzhinov or Dvorkovich and rejected any allegations of interference.“It’s a free vote,” Peskov said, “and we simply don’t have any means to interfere and we don’t have the slightest intention to interfere.”So Ilyumzhinov’s legacy-defining battle rages on without him. Chess has been established as an effective instrument of “soft power” for the Russians, the former Treasury official said, and a “feather in the cap” like the Olympics or the World Cup that allows Russian leaders to project a polished image to visiting politicians and businessmen.Ilyumzhinov has endorsed Dvorkovich, hopeful that under the former deputy prime minister, the “status” he says he brought to the organization will be “maintained,” but he dismissed the suggestion of holding a position under the new administration should a Russian keep the post.“For what?” he scoffed. “I’m not a bureaucrat.” 1998Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– Anatoly Karpov🇷🇺 Russia37%– 2002Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– Jaime Sunye Neto🇧🇷 Brazil35%– In the days following the 2016 election, a large group of Russians gathered in New York to watch one of their own wage war in miniature.They were at the World Chess Championship, where a patriotic Russian grandmaster was challenging the Norwegian defending champion in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Members of Russia’s business and political elite gathered in the venue’s dimly lit VIP lounge and whispered over martinis as their countryman tried to restore Russia to its former chess glory.One person was especially conspicuous, and he wasn’t even there.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has lorded over the sport as the president of the World Chess Federation, more commonly known by its French acronym FIDE, for more than two decades. But the game’s most powerful figure had been barred from the country hosting its highest profile event. Ilyumzhinov was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2015 for providing financial assistance to Bashar Assad’s government in Syria as the regime inflicted a shocking degree of violence upon its citizens and purchased oil from the terrorist group ISIS.The sanction was an extraordinary allegation to level against a sports chief, but Ilyumzhinov is no ordinary chief, and chess is no ordinary sport.For years, he served simultaneously as the president of a Russian region and the steward of its national pastime. His authoritarian rule in those dual posts established him as a uniquely valuable Kremlin asset and has led his critics to bestow him with other, less flattering titles. Stooge. Spy. Madman. And perhaps worse.Now, after a 23-year reign atop the game, Ilyumzhinov is days away from the end of his colorful tenure. An election to replace him takes place this week.In a series of interviews with ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, former U.S. government officials, political rivals, criminal investigators, Russia experts, chess insiders, and top players dissected Ilyumzhinov’s career, revealing new details about the mysterious provenance of some of his wealth, the Kremlin connections that critics say kept him in power, and the ongoing battle for the sport over which he presided. Ilyumzhinov replaced a resigning president in 1995, and in 1998 and 2002, he was unopposed. The 2018 election is scheduled for Oct. 3.Source: FIDE The portrait that emerges offers a window into how Russia has used sport as statecraft, allegedly currying favor and peddling influence around the world under cover of an ancient board game.Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, denied that Ilyumzhinov had ever acted on behalf of the Kremlin.“He never represented Russia and the Russian Federation as a kind of envoy,” Peskov told us. “Of course, we’ve been proud of our citizen to be such a successful head of FIDE.”In a wide-ranging and often baffling one-on-one interview, Ilyumzhinov disputed or deflected the allegations against him, portraying himself as a builder and benefactor whose career defies easy classification.“I am simply a citizen of Russia and a simple person,” Ilyumzhinov said, “who sort of travels around the whole world.” 2014Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia64%– 2010Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia63%– Elista’s Chess City is one such gift, a relic of the city’s once-favorite son. Built by Ilyumzhinov to host international chess tournaments, it is a convention center surrounded by a semi-gated community that is now home to the city’s small upper class. Its tidy suburban streets are lined with about 150 houses, many of which appeared to be empty, with crumbling facades and broken windows.It is a rundown fantasy sitting neglected in the desert.As his tenure with FIDE comes to a close, Ilyumzhinov envisions a different fate for himself. Asked directly why he was useful to the Kremlin, he bristled at the suggestion that his useful days are behind him.“Why ‘was’? Have I flown away to the moon?” he asked. “I’m staying around!” Halley Freger, Emily Ruchalski and Jinsol Jung also contributed to this report.This story was initially developed with the support of The Hatch Institute, formerly The Contently Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that offers editorial guidance and financial support to aspiring investigative reporters. Madden has since joined its board of advisers.This story was featured in the Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, episode of ABC News’ daily news podcast, “Start Here.” read more