Today, more than 600 million people are passionate about chess, its popularity is growing in Africa and Asia. FIDE is one of the three most influential sports associations in the world. In many respects this is the merit of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who successfully leads FIDE since 1995.

This is confirmed by election in Tromsø in 2014, where Kirsan Nikolayevich won almost two-thirds of the vote against his main competitor Garry Kasparov.

The only region officially professing Buddhism in Europe is located in the south-east of Russia. You can visit the largest Buddhist temple, meditate and taste dishes of Asian cuisine in Kalmykia.

It was practically bare steppe in the USSR. And everything changed only when Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became the President in 1993. Nowadays, pilgrims from all over the world come here to see the Golden Monastery of Buddha Shakyamuni.

First vice-president of the Moscow Chess Federation Nikita Kim talked about the introduction of the Chess in Schools programme in Russia.

"It is important for children not only to study but also to apply knowledge, that is, to play chess. Currently, we are developing a system of tournaments together with the Ministry of Education and departments, so that children of any skill level in chess would be able to realize their abilities. We are working on an electronic platform that would unite children of the whole of Russia," he explained.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov supported plans of Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation to make school chess lessons compulsory.

"When I was head of Kalmykia and we introduced chess in schools, pupils’ academic performance increased by 40 percent. Children began to study better and to win prizes at Olympiads. Chess allows us to develop not only logic but creativity and imagination," FIDE President said.

The first issue of Kommersant-Daily was published 25 years ago. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gave his comment on the anniversary date.

"My political life, after I became the head of Kalmykia in the early 90s, was very closely intertwined with activities and formation of Kommersant, and since then we have been moving along together -- I in politics and you in media," FIDE president said.

Answering the question of Sputnik radio, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted that "Chess in schools" project contributes to the comprehensive development of children.

"The overall level of children’s academic achievement increased when chess was introduced into the school curriculum in many countries such as is Spain, Armenia, Azerbaijan and others. Children’ skills are better mastered at exact sciences -- mathematics and physics as well as humanitarian," President of FIDE said.

According to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Armenia's hopes for winning the world chess crown are linked to the World Cup winner Levon Aronian.

"Armenia has been waiting too long for great chess victories. Aronian is an outstanding chess player, an experienced tournament fighter; he is good at training before matches. In recent years, he made sure he was ready for the title match, and he is one of the leading figures in the world chess movement," FIDE President said.

The success of Levon Aronian at the World Cup in Georgia highlights the consistently high quality of the Armenian grandmaster's play, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said.

Recall that on September 27, Aronian defeated the Chinese Dean Lichen in the World Cup final in Tbilisi. He won both games on a tie-break, first playing with white pieces, and then with black pieces. Previously, the opponents finished in a draw all four games in classical chess.

Candidates Tournament, which will determine the rival of the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in a match for the world chess crown, will take place in Berlin on March 10- 28, 2018. Berlin will host this competition for the first time.

"Germany has traditionally been a chess country. The Second World Champion, Emanuel Lasker, was born there. More than 20 percent of Germans play chess. This sport is very popular there," Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said.

The Azerbaijani authorities and business representatives provide very important support to world chess, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said.

"I would like to thank the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR for having sponsored many international chess events for a long time, including the 2013 President’s Championship in London," FIDE President said.

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