Kirsan Ilyumzhinov meets with Pelé

by Albert Silver
9/28/2015 – It was already a bit of a shock when it was announced that the FIDE Board members had suggested Kirsan Ilyumzhinov run for the FIFA presidency, and numerous readers thought this was either an incredibly late or incredibly early April Fool's prank. Not so, and reinforcing the seriousness, the FIDE president met with football legend Pelé in London whom he interviewed on video.

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Even today, nearly 60 years after his first World Cup conquest in 1958, and his final one in 1970, Pelé's name is synonymous of sporting greatness as such that it transcends time and frontiers. It was therefore fascinating to hear that on behalf of the Russia Today, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov met with Pelé very briefly in London where he interviewed the football giant (a metaphor since the King only measured 1m73) for a minute on camera.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the President of the Russian Chess Federation, FIDE
Vice President Andrei Filatov met with Pele at the London exhibition "Pele. Art. Life. Football."
The head of FIDE gave the football legend a Kalmyk chess set.

A few days ago in an interview with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for Russia Today the king of football said that he
respects and loves chess.

Pelé explains that while he does not play chess very well he admires it and what it teaches.
It should be noted that the Brazilian was very much the chess player even on the field. Prior
to each game he famously lay down for 20-30 minutes reviewing in his mind the players he
would face, for example whether they were stronger with the right foot or left, and adapt his play.

Here is a fan video showing some of Pelé's genius on the field in the 1970 World Cup

The 1970 Brazilian team is considered by many to be the greatest of all time. Here are some highlights.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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