Illumzhinov: Gaddafi is alive and well in Tripoli

8/24/2011 – The rebels stormed his compound in Tripoli, NATO and US Intelligence are searching with satellites and surveillance drones for him, without success. But in the middle of the manhunt for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi the President of FIDE received a call on Tuesday evening. The Libyan dictator told Ilyumzhinov he was alive and well, and 'certain to win'. His forces would 'drive the rats out of the city.'

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Illumzhinov: Gaddafi is alive and well in Tripoli

Business Insider: Meet The Russian Chess Chief Who Is Best Buddies With Qaddafi
With his back against the wall, it appears Muammar Qaddafi felt he had one person he could rely upon. That man, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, told Interfax news agency earlier today that Qaddafi had called him and told him "alive and well and still in Tripoli and not planning to leave Libya." He added that the Libyan dictator was "certain we will win".

Atlantic Wire: Why Is Information on Qaddafi Coming from a Russian Chess Player?
Late this morning, as fighting between rebels and loyalists intensified near Muammar Qaddafi's Tripoli compound and NATO admitted that it had no idea where the Libyan leader was, Al Arabiya issued a baffling tweet, "Qaddafi says he is in Tripoli and will not leave the country: world chess chief." The message was in reference to a breaking Interfax news agency report that a defiant Qaddafi had called Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian head of the World Chess Federation, on Tuesday to let him know that he was "alive and well and still in Tripoli and not planning to leave Libya." Ilyumzhinov added that Qaddafi's son Mohammed, who had placed the call for his father, claimed that Libyan forces would "drive the rats out of the city." The report raises several perplexing questions.

Why is Ilyumzhinov friends with Qaddafi? The Guardian explains that Ilyumzhinov and Qaddafi first met when Tripoli hosted the World Chess Championships in 2004. In June Qaddafi and his Mohammed played chess with Ilyumzhinov while the chess chief was visiting Libya as part of an effort to promote chess in Africa. Why would Qaddafi call Ilyumzhinov, of all people? Okay, so Ilyumzhinov and Qaddafi are, improbably, friends of a sort. But why, as his regime teeters on the brink of collapse and rebels surround his compound, would the Libyan leader decide that the person he really needed to speak to was his chess partner? There's always the possibility, of course, that the call didn't take place. But if Ilyumzhinov's account is accurate, it's possible that Qaddafi may have simply been calling his few remaining friends. As The Guardian noted back in June, "Qaddafi appears to have very few friends left, with China and Russia having made overtures to the rebel administration in Benghazi in recent weeks. He does still have President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela on side, however, and, of course, Ilyumzhinov."

We can only speculate: perhaps the Libyan dictator will end up not in Zimbabwe, the only country that has so far shown any inkling of accepting him, but in City Chess in Elista?! Also: if you take offence to our orthography know that there are 112 different ways of spelling Qaddafi's name.

ChessBase reports

Ilyumzhinov-Gaddafi encounter: international media reactions
16.06.2011 – News and TV channels picked it up with glee: while NATO aircraft were (probably) targeting Muammar Gaddafi directly, the Libyan dictator sat down with the "eccentric" President of the World Chess Federation for a friendly game. Not really a positive picture, and harsh criticism has rained on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. He sees his visit as a mission of peace and has appealed to people not to politicize the issue.
Ilyumzhinov visits the beleaguered Gaddafi
13.06.2011 – In a somewhat precarious move FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has visited the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is under siege by rebels across the country and by Nato air strikes. The visit was part of FIDE's “Year of Africa”, and Ilyumzhinov, who has had good relations with Gaddafi for years, played a game of chess against his eldest son Muhammad, Libyan state television reports.

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