Ilyumzhinov: Chess lovers need to unite to make the motto “Gens una sumus” – “We are one family” a reality

I read the news today and see that even the air is ringing from the tension between different countries. It is especially unfortunate that the tension is building up on the eve of a big sporting event: the Winter Olympics, which is about to open in Beijing. But Pierre de Coubertin, who revived this wonderful tradition, dreamed that the guns would fall silent and all bloodshed would stop like in ancient Hellas during the Olympic Games.

I am far from thinking that there are too few people of good will on earth, or that the Lord has turned his back on his creatures. But, as they say, he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, and he helps those who help themselves. So, maybe we should try to change ourselves?
According to many scientists, humanity is now in a deep intellectual crisis. And this, admittedly, is a scientifically established fact: as studies have shown, in the past half century, the average intelligence quotient, the notorious IQ, has been declining by seven points from generation to generation. Despite the betterment of nutrition, the availability of education and a general improvement of living conditions.

Israeli futurologist, historian and sociologist, writer Yuval Noah Harari, at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, stated with alarm that humanity is behaving so irresponsibly, as if “there are no adults at home.” “Prosperity is illusory: countries forget how fragile the world order is, and underestimate what we have. The planet resembles a house with people live in it, but never look after it. It will last for a few more years, but one day, if we do not change our ways, it will collapse. And we'll go back to the jungle." And all because we behave like little capricious children.

"I want it!" has become the main motivation, replacing the "I must" and, moreover, "I shouldn't". The ideal of modern man and mankind has become unrestrained consumption without regard to the consequences. For the sake of this, entire populations of animals - from fur-bearing animals to ants - are thoughtlessly destroyed, unique forests are massively cut down, water and soil are polluted. For the sake of this, entire countries and peoples are plunged into poverty and devastation by stronger neighbours.
I'm afraid Harari is too optimistic, believing that we will have to return to the jungle. It could be a scorched, radioactive and contaminated land with all kinds of poisons. Of course, in a couple of hundred millennia, the planet will cope with such a disaster, and life will flourish, as before. But will there be a place in this world for deprived of memory, culture and moral guidelines Homo sapiens who have not justified their proud name?
I’d like to hope that things will not come to the complete self-destruction of mankind. First, because I know that there are still quite a lot of smart people among us who can estimate and predict the future of civilization. There are many! If they are united, they will become a serious force, whose opinion will have to be considered by the powerful of this world.
Secondly, it is necessary to raise our general intellectual level so that there are more and more smart people with responsible approach to one's actions. Our ancestors left us a wonderful tool for developing the mind, “the only way to train the brain muscle,” as Albert Einstein joked. This is CHESS.
No, chess is not obsolete at all, it has not been relegated to the past by 3D computer games. At the very beginning of my leadership of FIDE, we commissioned a special study that showed that at that time about six hundred million people all over the world played chess regularly, which makes this game the most popular sport (and, by the way, art).
I am sure that since then the number of adherents of the ancient game has only increased. In many countries, including Russia, chess has been included in educational programmes, starting from the kindergarten level. This is logical, since it develops a whole range of human abilities and skills: memory, learning and creativity. Chess develops the ability to see the situation as a whole and pay attention to details, to foresee the consequences of one's actions and the moves of a partner, self-control and the habit of thinking first and only then making decisions.
My optimism about the number of chess fans is based on the growing popularity of films and TV series dedicated to it. Over the past two decades, their number has increased, and many have gathered their grateful audience. "Pawn Sacrifice" and "Queen's Gambit" became hits. Even the Russian “World Champion”, released at the very end of last year, has managed to pay off at the box office.
But the main thing is that these films motivate people to turn to the ancient game. There is evidence that "Queen's Gambit" provoked an incredible surge in sales of online chess training courses, and eBay reported a 250% increase in searches of the chess sets.
It is not surprising. Chess is one of the most democratic sports. It is played by rich and poor, healthy and sick, left and right.
Therefore, I am sure that there are many more chess fans in the world now than there were at the time of the study mentioned above. Perhaps even my old slogan "One billion chess players - one billion smart people" is more relevant today than ever.
Does this mean that you can relax? It seems to me that this would be a mistake. I think the time has come to unite these people all over the world around the International Association of Chess Lovers (IACL) not only to prevent a decline in interest in the game (and, as a result, further dumbing down of mankind), but also to ensure the further development of chess.
I want to stress: IACL will not become an alternative to FIDE. Because FIDE is still an organization of professionals and grandmasters. I have already said once that everything FIDE does is priceless. There can be no talk of any split or competition at all. I declare this responsibly, since I myself headed FIDE for many years and I know what a great job it is doing.
First, FIDE is a World Sports Organization that unites and coordinates the activities of the National Chess Federations. Most of its time is taken up by the organization of international professional sports tournaments, chess Olympiads and other official international events. The main duties of FIDE are the organization of matches for the title of world champion, the assignment of sports titles, the publication of official ratings of chess players in the world.
The Chess Lovers Association, in principle, cannot compete with or duplicate any of the functions of FIDE. It's like saying that there could be competition between the Writers' Union and of Book Lovers Society or the Readers' Club.
Chess lovers have the right to have their own organization, to create their own International Association. You just need to help people get organized. I am in favour of as many people as possible playing chess in the world. After all, chess is an exciting and, at the same time, very useful activity that develops attention and logical thinking. I am also absolutely convinced of the super-positive impact of chess on people's lives and I believe that the time has come for chess lovers, who are most intellectual and creative people, to unite. Not only for the sake of your favourite game, but also for the benefit of all mankind.
By the way, during the study, chess lovers were asked why they are so attracted to chess? The most popular answer was: "It makes one think." Probably, this is exactly what is needed today by all people on the planet. Think. And maybe it's not so bad if thinking people start to unite? Then the motto of the founding fathers of the federation "Gens una sumus" - "We are one family" will become an obvious reality.