The World Chess Federation elected a new leader today bringing to an end the colourful two-decade rule of a Russian politician who claims he was abducted by aliens.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Moscow's preferred candidate, was installed as the new king of Fide after delegates from 182 nations voted at its congress in the Georgian resort city of Batumi.
Mr Dvorkovich, the chief organiser of the Fifa World Cup, replaces the eccentric businessman-turned-politician Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who reigned supreme over the chess world for 23 years.
Mr Dvorkovich's triumph followed a dramatic last-minute intervention from election rival English Grandmaster Nigel Short who withdrew from the ballot and declared his support for the Russian as he made his final speech.
Mr Short, who styled himself as the anti-corruption candidate, said Mr Ilyumzhinov had "brought Fide to the brink of oblivion" and the organisation's "culture of bullying must stop".
"United [with Dvorkovich] we make a great team," the former world title challenger added. "We all know change must come to Fide, and today it will finally come."
Afterwards, Mr Short, long-time critic of Fide, justified his decision to back Mr Dvorkovich by saying: "We realised we wouldn't win, and change is the main priority."
Mr Dvorkovich, 46, served as Russia's deputy prime minister for six years under President Vladimir Putin until May. In July, Putin publicly predicted Mr Dvorkovich would win and wished him success.
Putin's pick defeated the only other candidate left standing, Fide's longtime deputy president Georgios Makropoulos, by a margin of 103 votes to 78, with one vote invalid.
Mr Makropoulos was standing as the establishment candidate with England's Fide delegate International Master Malcolm Pein, who was penciled in to replace him as number two.
However, the Greek's final speech was low-key and interrupted by heckling. He described Mr Short's late switch as "dishonest" and said: “I am the only one who knows what the federations need.”
Mr Ilyumzhinov dropped out earlier in the race after it became clear he could not win. The campaign was increasingly bitter in the final weeks with allegations of corruption, the buying of votes and undue influence being placed on national federations flying about.
Mr Makropoulos referred Mr Dvorkovich and his team to the Fide ethics commission over alleged attempts to influence the Serbian federation's vote with "gifts" and "fraudulent sponsorships".
Mr Dvorkovich denied the allegations and Fide found his team not guilty due to insufficient evidence, but excluded Serbia's delegate from the vote.
Meanwhile, Mr Short ran without support from the English Chess Federation which said it could not support either him or Mr Dvorkovich.
Instead, the English vote went to Mr Makropoulos. Mr Ilyumzhinov's authority as president had been seriously damaged after he was sanctioned by the US in 2015 for allegedly facilitating transactions on behalf of the Syrian government.
He fiercely denied any wrongdoing claiming the allegations were part of a "smear campaign related to a power struggle".
But the fallout led to Swiss bank UBS closing the federation's accounts in April and the federation faced financial crisis. In July Fide suspended Mr Ilyumzhinov for "ethics" breaches.
Mr Ilyumzhinov was had been president of the Republic of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years.
His first decree was to make chess compulsory in Kalmykian schools and he spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players - building an entire village to host international tournaments.
In 1997 Mr Ilyumzhinov claimed he was abducted by aliens in yellow space suits who returned him to earth with a mission to bring chess to the people.
Then eight years ago, while an MP in Russia's Duma, he called on then President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate these claims. In 2016 Mr Ilyumzhinov claimed he was living his "69th life".