Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Association of Chess Lovers is a Union of Smart People

Apparently, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought not only losses and losses, but also records. The global gaming population is now well over the three billion milestone, according to a fresh report issued by DFC Intelligence.

According to its experts, about 40 percent of people regularly immerse themselves in virtual worlds in which everything is possible. Any mistake can be corrected simply by returning to the previously saved game, and any problem can be solved by applying a secret cheat code.
The findings of this research company can be trusted: for over 20 years, its specialists have been engaged in research and forecasting of the digital entertainment market, which reaches $ 150 billion and is growing by five to seven percent annually.

Unfortunately, the researchers did not bother to calculate how many people on Earth play chess. Is it because there is no such gigantic turnover in the chess world as in the video game market? But they found that the number of gamers increased by seven percent last year. And, probably, it will grow for some time, as serious money is invested in the development of technologies and advertising of virtual entertainment.

One could only be happy for the gaming industry, if not for one question: how does this craze affect the future of humanity? It would seem that the discussion around this problem has been going on for more than a dozen years, but there is still no definite answer. Both supporters and opponents of virtual entertainment easily lay out arguments in support of their position. It seems that computer games are equally capable of doing both good and harm. However, this applies to almost any technological achievements of mankind: it all depends on how to use them.
However, two years ago, scientists, to their surprise, found that in the last half century, the level of human intelligence is being decreased by about seven points per generation. The researchers were surprised that until the middle of the last century, the intelligence of people grew, as the quality of nutrition and medicine improved, and education became more accessible. But something, apparently, went wrong with the human intelligence.
It is not surprise, because over the past half century we have only developed the inventions of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, without creating anything of our own with the exception, perhaps, of the Internet. It, along with other information technologies, has become one of the reasons for the general dullness of people.
We still cannot really get away from the Earth, although the sci-fi writers of the last century were sure that in the twenty-first century, photon ships will carry our descendants to faraway stars and “the apple trees will bloom on Mars."
However, this is not even the real problem: previous generations left us such a technological reserve that it would last until the end of the next century. Much more worrisome, if I may say so, is the decline in public self-awareness, which ultimately leads to the degradation of the general instinct for self-preservation.

People who do not know how to use their brains and do not want to think become easy prey for the same politicians, in pursuance of their own interests, invent the most insane ideas inciting pogroms around the world. It will be scary if such politicians gain power in the countries with nuclear weapons (and there are today from nine to twelve if you count those who do not admit it). One of them will eventually press the button. And then, in accordance with Einstein's prophecy,  the next world war will be fought with sticks and stones.
There is a way to avoid this, which is quite obvious. Having identified the disease, we are not trying to somehow appease the virus, but we are applying the vaccine. If the reason for the current plight of human civilization were a general decline in intelligence, then it would be logical to try to somehow increase it. And the vaccine that allows you to do this effectively and quickly is chess.
I do not think it is worth listing the arguments showing that chess develops not only intelligence, but also memory, learning, creativity - a whole spectrum of extremely useful abilities of the human brain. Moreover, these are not speculations, but scientifically established facts.
When I put forward the slogan ‘One billion chess players means one billion smart people’ in FIDE, I emphasized the second part of it. A billion (or better, three billions) smart people would certainly change human civilization for the better.
But for some reason, while verbally recognizing the benefits of chess both for each person and for society, neither the authorities of different countries, nor the leaders of large corporations show much enthusiasm in their development.
It is clearly not a matter of funding; the development of chess costs much less money than the eSports.
Well, since nobody would come to our rescue, the chess fans have no choice but to unite and take the promotion of their favourite game into their own hands.
We are not talking about something enormous requiring huge budgets. In mid-July, on the eve of World Chess Day, the Oryol region enthusiasts from Chess and Checkers Federation, with the support of the regional government, organized the first Turgenev chess tournament held in the estate of the writer Spasskoye-Lutovinovo. As we know, Ivan Turgenev was not only a genius writer, but also an outstanding chess player.
As Oryol Governor Andrei Klychkov later noted, “it became a significant event in the sports and cultural life of the Oryol region, attracted the attention of not only chess fans, but also admirers of the work of Ivan Turgenev. It allowed to expand the understanding of the depth of the personality of the classic, one of the brightest sides whose talent was the highest chess skill for his time."
I would add that this chess festival has become a convincing example of the synthesis of the two arts and, if it becomes traditional, each such tournament will draw people's attention to both literature and chess. Those are the two best ways to develop your mind and perfect your soul.
What's important: such tournaments can be held in many places around the world. All that is needed is the initiative of local chess enthusiasts and a little support from the authorities.
Modern technologies can be of no less benefit. With the help of the same Internet, which, according to scientists, has contributed to reducing the overall IQ of mankind, it is quite easy to organize tournaments between cities and countries, the idea of ​​which I proposed more than once. This, I hope, will help the chess players unite.
In general, the "Union (Association) of Chess Lovers", I am sure, is vital. The world needs the unity of smart people more than ever, because not only its well-being is at stake, but the very survival of human civilization.