Garry Kasparov, arguably the world's best chess player, has told a Canberra audience he will never be able to hide his intense dislike for his president, Vladimir Putin.
Mr Kasparov was in the capital on Monday to push his own presidency ambitions - for the World Chess Federation (FIDE) - and to attend the ACT's 52nd Doeberl Cup at the Woden Tradies.
The 51 year-old grandmaster turned activist said that if elected, he would not water down his convictions about Russia's government. ''I'm not going to change my views about the corrupt nature of Putin's regime,'' he said.
Never one to play politics poker-faced, he also took aim at the present FIDE president and fellow countryman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Mr Kasparov said the incumbent's strange behaviour was giving chess a bad name.
Mr Ilyumzhinov has publicly announced he had been abducted from his apartment by aliens and was frequently photographed with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi before his death.
Mr Kasparov said the Australian government should recognise chess as a sport and that the game must try to attract more sponsors globally. There seemed to be no corporate backers of the game apart from a few clandestine deals involving Russian oligarchs, he said.
The Canberra tournament attracted 350 players and strong local competitors. Canberra's Junta Ikeda, 22, came equal eighth in a field of more than 90 premier players.
Mr Ikeda was within striking distance of winning the top prize before he lost his final game against Romania's Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu - ranked 58 in the world and who eventually won the tournament.
''I was on exchange in Japan last year and was looking forward to returning and playing in a big tournament again,'' said the Australian National University student whose Hungarian coach instructs him via Skype.
The tournament puts him one step closer to becoming an international master and one day, he hopes, a grandmaster.
Canberra businessman Baldev Bedi, who sponsors prizes at the tournament, said he was most impressed by Mr Ikeda's play.
''Canberra is a small chess community; it's easier to develop and progress in a larger city,'' he said.
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