At the ordinary general assembly of the Fédération Mondiale du Jeu de Dames (FMJD or World Draughts Federation) held at the Euroopa hotel in Tallinn today, representatives of the its 65 member states elected Janek Mäggi as the federation’s president for the next four years – a step up from his current position as president of the European Draughts Confederation (EDC). The FMJD’s headquarters will now be divided between Tallinn and the Dutch capital Amsterdam. Another Estonian, Aare Harak, was elected the new Director of Finance of the federation’s management board.

The FMJD’s new board comprises Janek Mäggi (President, Estonia), Chen Zelan (Vice-president, China), Harry Otten (Director of International Relations, the Netherlands), Jacek Pawlicki (Director of Tournaments, Poland), Aare Harak (Director of Finance, Estonia), Juri Tsertok (Chief Secretary, Russia) and Daniele Macali (Director of Youth Tournaments, Italy).

The general assembly of the EDC is to be held in Tallinn tomorrow, during which Mäggi will step down from his post and the confederation will gain a new president. Its headquarters will be relocated from Estonia as a result.

“Janek and I have been working together since 2007 when he was elected president of the EDC,” said current FMJD president Harry Otten, who announced in spring that he did not intend to stand for re-election. “The work Estonia’s done in organising the title championships has been really impressive. Tallinn’s hosted the European individuals twice in that time, and a world championship match; at least one title competition each year, sometimes two. And tomorrow we’ll find out who’ll carry on the outstanding work Janek’s done in organising draughts at the European level.”

Urmas Sõõrumaa, President of the Estonian Olympic Committee, is glad that Estonians are aiming at leading positions of world’s sport organizations. “It is important that Estonians are involved in making vital decisions in world sports. This is an opportunity to influence the development of sports and shape the future in the sports, which are important for Estonia. Being involved in international sport organizations enables to bring know-how, contacts and other resources to Estonia, which help to improve sports. I would like to congratulate Estonian draughts for today’s victory and I call Estonian representatives to actively run for the leading positions of other international sports organizations,” said Urmas Sõõrumaa.

Janek Mäggi became the second Estonian who is President of an international sports organization. Last year, Leho Haldna was elected President of the International Orienteering Federation.

New FMJD president Janek Mäggi said that the federation’s headquarters coming to Tallinn was not only an honour, but the ultimate recognition for the work Estonia has done to date. “Compared to organising draughts at the European level we’ll have a lot more responsibility on our shoulders, since so far we’ve mostly focussed on organising competitions ourselves or helping to organise them elsewhere in Europe,” he explained. “Now we’ll be doing that all over the world, plus dealing with international sports bodies and developing, adding to and reckoning with rules and ratings. And more besides! That’s why I’m so happy that Aare’s been elected to the board as well – two Estonians, both us of having been on the management board of the EDC together.”

Estonian Draughts Federation (EDF) president Tarmo Tulva describes Mäggi’s election as president of the FMJD as recognition of the work the EDF has done over the last 20 years. “Janek ran our federation from 1999-2015 and is still a member of the management board,” he said. “He’s been involved in the running of the FMJD since he was elected president of the EDC in 2007 – the year the confederation’s headquarters came to Tallinn. What this all means for Estonian draughts and our players is that there’ll certainly be a lot of top-level tournaments in Tallinn and elsewhere in the country, broader opportunities to compete and a lot more to contribute in organising titles. We might be giving up the title of European draughts capital, but now we can show we’re worthy of the title of draughts capital of the world!”

World Draughts Federation (FMJD, www.fmjd.org) was founded in 1947 by four federations, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Its main purpose was to regulate the competition on the world championship. From 1897 onwards, world champions had been proclaimed only by France and the Netherlands, which gave rise to the desire by a number of countries to have more accurate competition and tournaments, and led to the establishment of an international organization. By today, the FMJD has grown to an organization with 84 participating national federations. The FMJD has become a member of Sportaccord, which unites all internationally renowned sports federations. As such, the FMJD membership (and that of FIDE and WBF) is part of a more general movement towards integration of mind sports in the regular sports arenas.

Estonian Draughts Association (www.kabeliit.ee) is an umbrella organization of Estonian draughts clubs and is also member of the Estonian Olympic Committee. The association is also member of The World Draughts Federation and the founding member of the European Draughts Confederation (EDC, www.europedraughts.org).