Vladimir Fedoseev | photo: Maria Emelianova, Chess.com
As of July 27, 28-year-old Russian-born GM Vladimir Fedoseev's federation transfer is complete and he will represent Slovenia in future chess tournaments. With a 2676 published rating, Fedoseev is now the Slovenian no. 1.
Fedoseev stopped representing Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and has played under the FIDE flag instead. He first moved to the Valencia region in Spain, and was one of four Russian grandmasters who spoke to Chess.com in 2022 about leaving their native country. He said last year, "I really do not want to represent them [Russia] anymore, even once in life."
In a brief interview for this article, Fedoseev mentioned that he still has a residence in Spain but also more recently in Slovenia. Although he said he's been in Slovenia for just 10 days this summer, he also stressed that he plans to spend more time there:
It's a life-changing decision... and also a forced decision, as I see in my case because I have no will to represent Russia in any competition anymore.
I hope that, for now, I will not need to change federation in my life. It's basically a life decision and I am serious about playing for Slovenia for many years, that's for sure.
In the conversation, he referenced the FIDE rule change that was also the catalyst for several other strong Russian grandmasters to change federations recently. Normally, a federation transfer can be expensive (for Fedoseev, upward of €30,000); now the fees to the Russian Chess Federation are waived until August 31, 2023.
Other top Russian grandmasters have transferred since the rule change, including former Candidates participant Kirill Alekseenko to Austria, former Russian and European champion Alexander Motylev to Romania, reigning European Champion Alexey Sarana to Serbia, and former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk to Switzerland.
Elite players still playing under the Russian flag include former world championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk and Daniil Dubov. After his six-month ban, Sergey Karjakin has been inactive in FIDE-rated tournaments outside of Russia.
There are Russian-born players who are missing from the list who are playing under the FIDE flag and have not transferred federations to another country, the highest-rated one being 2720-rated Nikita Vitiugov, who moved to Spain. Andrey Esipenko is also currently under the FIDE flag, but last week signed a long-term sponsorship deal with the Russian Chess Federation.
The top 20 players still listed under Russia on the FIDE website — FIDE has differed from most major sporting organisations in not removing the flag from its rating lists
Fedoseev achieved a peak rating of 2733 in 2017 when he was the world no. 24 at the age of 22. He has remained in the world top 100 since and is a regular participant in online tournaments such as Titled Tuesday and the Champions Chess Tour, where he recently participated in Division I of the Aimchess Rapid. He qualified for that by winning first place in Division II of the ChessKid Cup.
Fedoseev thanked the chess club in Maribor, which helped him attain his residence in Slovenia. He also thanked Slovenian chess federation members, Ukrainian-born Slovenian GM Adrian Mikhalchishin, who helped him in the process, and his coach IM Roman Vidonyak who had the idea of working with Slovenia.
His first tournament under the Slovenian flag will be the World Cup, starting this Sunday, which he felt was "nice timing."