The Russian Chess Federation decided to support the candidacy of the current head of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the election of FIDE president. Thus, another Russian – the only Ilyumzhinov’s competitor, Grandmaster Garry Kasparov – will be forced to nominate himself from foreign federations. Four years ago, during the previous campaign, the support of the Russian Chess Federation helped Kirsan Ilyumzhinov defeat another world champion, an ally of Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov.

The invitation to act as the main arbiter of the President's Cup of Kalmykia was received rather late – a few days before the start of this first international tournament in Elista. After acquainting myself with an interesting schedule, I immediately agreed. I wanted not only to be an arbiter of a prestigious competition, but also to visit the native country of FIDE president and see with my own eyes the construction of Chess City – the venue of the 33rd Olympiad. On the plane to Moscow, I was sitting next to an American who was flying to Russia to continue his work.

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, you fought for quite some time for the Dalai Lama's arrival in Russia and it’s obvious now that you have won: finally, he came. Why was it so necessary to fight for it, quarrel with federal officials and even with the President?

There was no struggle; we, Buddhists, treat everything equally. I was a peace maker during these 12 years. The last time the Dalai Lama visited Kalmykia in 1992. We thought that it might happen if not in this life then in the next life; the more so because according to Buddhism we live 108 lives. But, probably, this is due to the ever growing relations between the Russian Federation and the PRC and the ambiguous attitude towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That caused a delay in issuing a visa to His Holiness.

And again I remember the plain, dusty streets of my boyhood. We grew up like weeds on the sun-baked, salty earth. Our fist-fights usually took place behind the sheds or on the sands where we walloped each other till we bled, always following the strict rule that you never beat a boy when he's

down. We fought, not out of rancour, but because we had to vent our excessive, seething energy, and because we wanted to test character, resolve and endurance. Later in life, these street trials helped me more than once to pick up the pieces, take a hold of myself and keep going, holding my will in my fist.

Ilyumzhinov is more than known in Kalmykia. His grandfather, after whom he was named, established Soviet power there. Later, according to family tradition, he doubted the need of the power, which kills half of the villagers and brain washes the other half. In general, the circumstances of the death of his grandfather are still vague.

Did the revolutionary glory of you grandfather affect your relations with classmates?

On March 10, a meeting with the President of FIDE, Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov was held at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU). The reason for it was an event that could significantly affect the education of students – the opening of the chess department at MGSU.

Many people wonder why such a department is needed in the construction university. The university gives us professional knowledge, but above all, it educates an individual and influences the world outlook of the youth.

...I read our mighty epic "Jangar" and I felt as though I had stepped onto firm ground for  the  first  time;  I  was immensely  proud of our small nation. I began to feel at one with this barren land. I learned that Kalmyk folklore is second only to that of India in terms of its richness and imagery.

l looked on my homeland from a new perspective and began to view our wind -blown,  dusty township swept by the sands and snows of the steppe in an altogether different light. Just as I was beginning to feel again that nothing, but nothing ever happened in our country, something did begin to happen. At that time there was a popular saying that when they start trimming fingernails in Moscow, people in Kalmykia lose their fingers.

I would like to remind the reader that Kirsan has made more for chess for the last 15 years than all his predecessors put together for all the years of FIDE existence (this article was printed in 2010, - Ed.)

City Chess alone, built by him in Kalmykia, is worth a lot. No one would be offended if this amazing (and unparalleled in the world) grandiose chess centre will be called New Vasyuki. However, City Chess is not the crux of the matter. The main thing is that Kirsan sponsored world chess elite at his own expense all these years.

- I know that you were recently nominated for the IOC presidency.

Chess players are striving to get in the Olympic family since 1924 especially in the recent decades. Although, it is difficult to prove the expediency of this aspiration. As they say, if you cannot defeat a movement, you should head it. To popularize chess, the FIDE presidential council decided to nominate FIDE leaders to the IOC leadership.

- Kirsan Nikolayevich, we all, including the FIDE, make plans for 3-5 years. However, they say that the end of the world would come on December 21, 2012. Has the end of the world been cancelled?

Very interesting question! We don’t know when we would die. We await death and know that we all would die eventually. Lord has given us life, which has a beginning and an end. You can live for 80 to 100 years but you will die eventually. Nobody knows for sure when he would die.

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