Nikolay: Why did you decide to run for the FIDE presidency?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: – During the Presidential Board which was held on the 5th of January 2010 in Bursa, Turkey, I have put the question whether I should run for president or not. The members of the PB representing more than 20 countries and all the continental presidents – Presidents of Africa, Europe, America, Asia – offered to support my candidacy. Thereafter, I consulted with the leadership of the Republic of Kalmykia and I came forward as a candidate.
What do you think about the recent developments concerning the Russian Chess Federation? This refers to the capture of the building with force on Gogolevskyi boulevard.
I think that RCF is developing dynamically. Arkady Dvorkovich and the previous President Alexander Zhukov are doing their best for the development and popularization of the chess in the Russian Federation. But as FIDE President, I do not understand why the subordinates of the President of RCF do not obey the orders of the leadership of the RCF. It is destructive for the position of the chairman of the board and also hurts the image of the RCF.
Do you have anything to say to the criticism of your opponents?
I have never been to court during my twenty years of activity as a political and public figure. Now, we have submitted a request together with the members of the FIDE Presidential Board to the Ethic Commission headed by the representative from Italy, in respect of the libel from Karpov’s side and we have also started court proceedings. A chess player, a former champion, in this case Karpov, must prove the instances of corruption he claims in FIDE to the Ethics Commission of FIDE, or, he should face the punishment for defamation and slander.
Can I specify in what court, when and what legal action you have requested for?
This is the collective appeal of the FIDE PB members to the Ethics Commission, to the Moscow court where the chess player resides, as well as to the International Court at the place of registration of FIDE. Why did we resort to this? Because the statements of this chess player discredit and defame the reputation of the international organization – FIDE.
Why have Karpov and Kasparov united against you?
They need the financial and political resources of FIDE. Fifteen years ago they did everything they could in order for FIDE not to be united. Now that FIDE is a prosperous and powerful international organization, financially and politically, they need this platform for their ambitious games. As chess players they have exhausted themselves, the people began to forget them and they are trying to attract attention with their inadequate statements.
Do you expect any scandals before the elections of the FIDE President?
FIDE is a democratic organization. Over the fifteen years of my FIDE presidency we have not had scandals before or after the elections. I support all the candidates for the presidency of FIDE. Everything should be in an open, transparent democratic way.
Holding the position of a state official and the head of the sport organization has been forbidden by the President of Russia. Why is it allowed to you? Are you special?
Indeed, I am the head of the Republic for 17 years already. Therefore, as a state official I asked the opinion of the leadership of Kalmyk Republic and as a subject of the Russian Federation I asked the leadership of Russia. I received a positive answer that I can hold two positions, as far as FIDE is not a national federation, but it is an international sports organization. This all adds more prestige to the image of Russia because over the period of 15 years the number of Russians who head and are in the leadership of FIDE has increased several times. The representation of Russia in the international commissions and committees of FIDE and IOC was strengthened and increased with my assistance. I am a member of the State Council of the Russian federation. All my actions as the Head of Kalmykia are the subject of the Russian Federation on the international scene and are strictly regulated in accordance with the Russian law and the opinion of the leadership of Russia.
There is an opinion that the position of the President of FIDE will be a kind of exchange for the position of the Head of the Republic. The supporters of this theory point to the coincidence of the dates when it happens. Just in autumn, in October the election of the FIDE President will take place. What can you say on this?
I heard it for the first time. This doesn’t overlap. One does not depend on the other. I have never had such a conversation before. Nobody has set any conditions.
Will you shake hands with Anatoly Karpov in the next meeting?
I have never quarreled and I am not going to do it with the 12th World Champion. For the last 15 years I have sponsored him. Several millions of US dollars. I, personally, and the money of my friends-businessmen were aimed at the improving of living conditions of the 12th World champion, including the renovation of his apartment, buying chess and other materials which would raise his professional activities as a chess player. There is the match in 1996 with Kamsky. There is the match with Vishy Anand. The participation in the Knockout World Championship in Kremlin and other events. The 12th World Champion was and is my friend. I have no personal animosity towards him and being a normal person I say hello to everybody.
Is it difficult for the authorities to nominate you and Anatoly Karpov to the post of FIDE President?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov – According to the Handbook of FIDE national federation can offer only one candidate. Although I have no objections. To this position may also run the 13th world champion and the 10th world champion. And also the women world champion Alexandra Kostenyuk. FIDE would only welcome it. If we have more candidates, we will have more programmes. It will promote the further development of FIDE and the popularization of chess. As the FIDE President, I support them. To date I know that two more candidates want to put the names down for the post of the FIDE President.
Are politics and chess compatible? In other words, should policy interfere with this kind of sport?
Everything is interconnected. They say that sport is out of politics, but, to my mind, we live in the society where everything is interrelated and depends on each other. Chess has always been in the center of the political struggle. During the period of ‘cold war’ in the confrontation between USSR and USA Boris Spassky represented ‘the right’ socialistic system, Bobby Fisher – ‘tainted’ American capitalism. Then Karpov was the personification of the ‘right’ Soviet ideology and Victor Korchnoi was a‘renegade, dissident, maverick’, exiled from the Soviet country to the Switzerland. Then there was a child of perestroika from Azerbaijan who was trying to ruin the Soviet ideology, the Soviet World Fund. As we can see, chess has always been at the forefront of the political struggle.
In the near future there should be Candidates Matches. When will the place and the date of the tournament be known? And the main question, will the holding of the tournament depend on the outcome of the presidential elections of the FIDE?
We have an offer from the chess federation of Azerbaijan. To date the venue is Baku. And we also consider another city in addition to Baku. That means that the candidates’ tournament can be divided into two cities. We have a proposal from London, the host of the next Olympic Games, to have the next World Championship there. And, probably, the Candidates tournament. It doesn’t depend on the elections, or anything to do with it. Because the FIDE Calendar and other events are approved by the delegates of the General Assembly and FIDE Presidential Board.
Kirsan, why do you need chess? It is ridiculous. You have business plus politics as an entertainment. Just leave the chess to the professionals and everything will be ok.
Chess is my hobby. I have been playing chess since five years old. I like to play chess, to help chess, sponsoring chess, and attract my business friends to chess in order to develop and popularize chess. Everybody has a hobby. My hobby is chess, boxing and Buddhism.
Does it make sense to have Ilyumzhinov-Karpov match? The winner will be a new FIDE President.
We have already played big chess with him last year on Lenin square in Elista, Russia. We drew.
Don’t you think that the knockout format World Championships did not result in anything but harm? And world received the Champions, who with all due respect, did not deserve being Champions?
In 1997 the FIDE Presidential Board introduced the knockout World Championship not as a luxury. I will give you the reasons why. First – the chess world was split. Second – chess was changing into a living-room, pastime game. The prize money was shared between few leading professionals. The other 100 were starving, because for many professionals, chess was the only source of income for chess players and their families. Therefore I made the decision to share this money between 100 top players, so they do not leave chess for poker and other types of human activities. So in 1997 we organized a knockout format World Championship in Groningen (Holland) with the finals in Lausanne (Switzerland) with an unprecedented prize fund of five million USD shared between 128 leading chess players. Further World Championships on this format allowed the 100 top players secure some prize monies. This made the chess players stay in chess, and allowed us to involve in the World Championships new national chess Federations, and to discover new chess stars, such as Ruslan Ponomariov, Etienne Bacrot, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian etc.
There are permanent problems with searching for the prize fund for the World Championship matches. Why?
These problems used to exist in the past, when the chess world was split. Now the chess world is united. There is one world champion – the grandmaster from India, Vishy Anand. There is one Federation – FIDE – recognized in 1999 by the IOC. Now we are under no financial difficulties. There are several bidders for each of our top international chess events. For example, four years ago – there were eight bidders from eight countries competing for the right to organize the Chess Olympiad, which is to take place this year in Khanty-Mansiysk. It is a fact that it is hard to attract sponsorship money to chess as chess has no TV format and it is difficult to have the attention of a spectator to the TV screen for six hours. Therefore large companies do not come to chess, as there is no TV coverage of this sport. But our partner CNC is working very actively with large Internet and computer companies with some real results. In September at the FIDE General Assembly a number of investment contracts shall be signed with FIDE.
The readers of gazeta.ru have been asking a lot of questions in respect of your conversation with V. Pozner at the first channel of Russian TV, especially the part which was devoted to your encounter with extraterrestrials, and which has caused so much interest. Our readers were bewildered by this part and they have a lot of questions. Could you give them any kind of reply now?
Of course I could. I am a little bit surprised why this has caused such reaction now, as thirteen years ago I said it openly on the air in Svoboda radio station and in 1999 at the press-conference in London in Chelsea, which at that period did not belong to R.Abramovich, with World Champion V. Anand. Twelve years ago there was no noise, everyone took this news normally. After twelve years this has caused such an emotional discussion. I was glad to know this, that people from any part of the Earth write to me, I receive hundreds thousands of emails, photos and descriptions. In the USA NASA only registered more than four thousand images of UFOs. I do not mention many Russian cities. I am only happy that a person starts to realize that he is not alone in this Universe, and stops being egoistic, being the only being with a mind, on this Earth. We are surrounded by lots of creatures with intellect. Horses, cats, dogs, – animals also feel, love and hate. I do not mention representatives of other civilizations. This is great. The faster we start feeling ourselves as part of universal intellect, the quicker wars and destruction of each other and creatures with mind shall stop. I am grateful for this to journalists and all those who write to me.
The thing is that regarding your discussion with Pozner, deputy Lebedev wrote an appeal to the President requesting an investigation, and asking you what your discussion was with ET. In this connection we ask – what do you think of his reaction and his actions and was there any reaction from the Kremlin in respect of what you had said and Lebedev’s appeal?
I told about this in September 1997, so it is kind of late to react in this way. I replied to him, following a telephone call from an Interfax journalist. I told him if Igor has any questions, I am ready to tell everything to him personally. But it is not my personality to publicly sort things out. This is something personal. Each person believes in God, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Shiva. Each person goes to a church, lights a candle, waits for Christmas, Easter, congratulates others. For two thousand years Resurrection is waited for. Hundreds thousands of churches, kostels, prayer-houses have been erected to meet with Him. But no one has ever seen Him.
Maybe they did. Baba Vanga was telling me that she had seen two angels. When she was 14 years old and her cart with a horse was elevated to the skies by a tornado. The horse fell down from several thousand meters, the cart crashed and Vanga fell down to Earth from eleven kilometers – without any single scratch. She told me that two angels were supporting her and brought her down to Earth. After that she became blind. But she had her contact channel open, she received an entrance into the Universal uniform field, and this is where her predictions come from. So no one has ever seen God, but all believe in Him. There are hundreds of thousands who have seen interesting things.
During his times, Giordano Bruno was burnt on a stake by the church because he was preaching that the Earth goes around the Sun. Also around five million clever and beautiful women were also burnt in Europe during the Middle Ages. And yet it turns. And yet they do exist. The US austronaut Armstrong when he landed on the Moon, said – They are here. Then it was coded and classified. This was ciphered. As for the Kremlin, I am not sure – I have not received any calls. But this is silly. He asked for a Commission to be created – let’s then create a Commission on the God’s existence. I think this is personal. For the first time I officially declare that I m not an agent of any extraterrestrial intelligence.
The question which we found several times in the letters of our readers. They are paying attention – is it true that nationalism is increasing in Kalmykia? In particular, readers say that the Russian-speaking population has problems, also it is known that there are inter-ethnical conflicts between Kalmyks and Chechens. What can you say?
I can officially declare as Head of Kalmykia and as a resident. I live there all the time, I finished school in Kalmykia, worked at a plant, now also have a job – I do not feel any interracial dislikes, as a citizen of Kalmykia, whose family, classmates and friend live in Kalmykia. This issue is not on our agenda at all as Kalmykia is a tolerant Republic. Second this is the only Republic where three religions – Buddhism, Orthodoxy and Islam co-exist together. Of course there are some fights but not inter-ethnically provoked. In our Constitution, article 10, where individual responsibility of each citizen is legally declared. It says all citizens of Kalmykia are responsible for everything taking place on this planet. This is a constitutional norm. It opens the borders of conscience in our children, our residents, so they are not restricted by the borders of the Republic of Kalmykia, Russian Federation, Europe. They are to think as people of Earth, who share one sun, one sky and one earth, and we should take care of this. As this was provided to us by God for universal intellect. Therefore we have no ideological, political or economical basis for disliking each other.
Kirsan Nikolaevich, thank you for the interview. What would you wish to our readers at the end of our discussion?
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: We started today’s discussion about FIDE activities. Our founders in 1924 very wisely signed an agreement for the creation of FIDE and the motto which they selected was Gens Una Sumus, which means We are One Family. Love each other. And you will be happy. At least for a moment.
On a related matter: today we received a letter from the Deputy President of FIDE, with a number of documents attached. We bring you this in full.
As you know from the previous elections of FIDE, the team of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov never announces the open support of a federation without having the relevant official document which confirms it.
Contrary to our opponents' practice, we do not even mention in our interviews or statements countries from which we do not have their written support. We therefore attach the support letter to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov from the Honduras Chess Federation in Spanish (with an English translation as well). The letter is officially signed by the President of the Federation Mr Denis Eugenio Diaz Zelaya.
At the same time, we also attach the letter of the Tajikistan Chess Federation in which it is emphatically clarified that Anatoly Karpov wrongly stated that they support him.
Best regards and thank you beforehand for publishing our reply,
For the campaign of "One World. One Vision"
Official website: http://www.onefide.com
Tegucigalpa M.D.C. May 22, 2010
Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
President, World Chess Federation
Greetings from the Executive Committee of the National Chess Federation of
(FENAH). Our Federation has been nominated to organize the 2.3c Subzonal, which
will be held from August 20-27, 2010. At this event, we will have the honor to receive
the best Central American players.
Furthermore, the main reason for this letter is to communicate to you that
Federation (FENAH) has decided to support you 100% in your reelection for the
position of FIDE President. Our decision is based on your trajectory and unconditional
support provided to World Chess, youth and children.
Ing. Denis E Diaz
President of FENAH
cc: Jorge Vega, President FIDE America
Tajikistan Chess Federation
To the FIDE Secretariat
After May 14th, 2010 a letter of Anatoly Karpov was published in several media and websites, stating that several Federations of several countries are supporting his candidacy to the position of the FIDE President, including Tajikistan.
This information is not correct. Moreover, at the meeting of the Tajikistan Chess Federation Board, (minutes N2 dated 2 June 2010), it was unanimously resolved to support the candidacy of the incumbent President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the forthcoming Presidential elections which shall be held in Khanty-Mansiysk in autumn of 2010.
Tajikistan Chess Federation