In 1993, the chess world split in two: Kasparov and Short played for the title of the world champion "according to the PCA version" in London, and Karpov and Timman fought for the crown of the champion "according to FIDE version" in Amsterdam.

At that time a dual power arose in the chess kingdom for the first time. After that there was Moscow 1994 – the 31st World Olympiad, where first appeared Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: a sympathetic, lively, full of incredible ideas and having colossal connections, the 32 years old President of the steppe republic, who proposed to hold the 33rd Chess Olympics in Elista.

About the first steps in FIDE

The delegates of the General Assembly of FIDE almost unanimously elected me President in Paris on November 24, 1995. If you remember, chess was in economic, financial and political crisis in 1995. And the World Champion Kasparov left FIDE and created an alternative organization "Association of Professional Chess Players" in New York. Championships were held in two versions. There were two Champions at the time: on the one hand Kasparov, on the other hand Karpov. I thought then: why cannot such clever people agree with each other?

- Welcome to Bonn, Mr. President! What is your impression after the first moves of the match ‘Human vs Computer’?

I congratulate Germany on such an important chess event, which attracts everyone's attention. The match in Bonn is very important in the popularization of chess.

- What is most important for you in this event?

When a grandmaster plays against computer, people root for the human. When Topalov and Kramnik played, the sympathies were divided. Some were rooting for Kramnik while others were rooting for Topalov. Now Kramnik is playing against the computer, and billions of people are rooting for him. This means that he is not alone.

 

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, everyone including the FIDE are making some plans for three or five years. Although, on the other hand, we are continuously told that the end of the world will come on December 21, 2012. Or has the end of the world been cancelled?
Very interesting question! You never know when the end of life will come. We are waiting for death and, generally speaking, we clearly know that our physical existence on the Earth will come to an end. The Lord has given us life, but it has both a beginning and an end. You can live for 80, 90 or 100 years, but still your life will end.

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, you have fought for the visit of the Dalai Lama to Russia for quite a long time and finally won. Why was it so important for you to fight and argument with federal agencies and even with the President?

No, I didn’t fight.  We, Buddhists, take all that’s happening in a Buddhist way. And I always reassured everyone for over 12 years: the Dalai Lama visited Kalmykia last time in 1992. We thought that he would come if not in this life then in the next one, the more so we live 108 lives according to Buddhism.

- You propose the introduction of chess as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. Why is this necessary?

It all started from the school when we began to play chess with classmates. Then we noticed that our learning progress had become much better. Therefore, in the 93th, when I became the President of Kalmykia, one of the first decrees signed by me, was the decree on the development of chess in the country.

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, last year's match Kramnik vs Topalov had probably caused you a lot of stress. Have you lost the desire to invite players to Elista?

It has become a tradition to hold the major tournaments in this city, which turned into the centre of world chess. We will continue to hold every year tournaments of the highest level here to promote the game. This is the custom for the chess life of Kalmykia. As for the toilet scandal ... Well, it only added spice to chess.

- Was your meeting with Muammar Gaddafi a private initiative or were you a mediator between the Russian leadership and the leader of the Libyan revolution?

- I had planned a trip to the Jamahiriya in January, but it was the Championship of Southeast Asia that month, so I asked to postpone the visit until late May or early June. I arrived in the country at the invitation of the Libyan Chess Federation and the National Olympic Committee on June 11. The visit lasted two days.

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, who have already had time to congratulate you with your birthday today?

- A lot of people:  more than a hundred calls, telegrams, text messages, which I do not have time to answer to. I received calls from Japan, South Korea's President, Mikhail Gorbachev, friends, businessmen... But I do not celebrate birthday. When I was the President of Kalmykia, I usually went to the most distant village and spend the whole event there. Today, it is the working day as well: we hold a meeting of the FIDE Presidential Board. But relatives and friends call to say kind words. I do not like feasts.

There is a need to urgently strengthen the civil society today. It's time to make a real contribution to the prosperity of mankind. The creation of the World chess party is our contribution to this common cause. We need to promote the popularization of chess to increase the intelligence of the nation and the harmonious development of the younger generation.

Our main advantage is that chess is the fair game. It is impossible to hide the trump card or king up the sleeve when playing chess and there cannot be the marked pieces. The clear and transparent principles of the game of chess are our principles as well.

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