Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "My "Chess in schools" project will work in Libya"

- Kirsan Nikolayevich, the entire world watched you playing chess with the leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi. How did you manage to meet him?

The National Chess Federation of Libya is a member of the International Chess Federation. Libya is a member of International Olympic Committee and UN. As the president of FIDE, I came to meet with legally elected authorities.

On the other hand, I responded to Muammar Gaddafi’s request. For three months, there were rumours that he was killed or hiding in some kind of bunker. We met in the building of the Olympic Committee. We talked and played chess for two and a half hours.
We showed the world that Gaddafi is alive, that he is adequate and able to play chess and that he is the only person with whom one can negotiate. But nobody listens to him when Qaddafi says: "Let’s sit down at the negotiating table".
- So you acted as a goodwill ambassador?
The situation that has developed in Libya is not entirely normal. We do not see a political platform for communication and for solving problems and conflicts. The UN Security Council resolution is misunderstood by NATO countries. This resolution does not authorize the bombing of civilian objects, residential quarters, hospitals, authorities -- legislative assembly, government, etc.
The resolution provides for a no-fly zone over Libya. I visited Libya twice and we were bombed two nights in a row. I was there a month ago. During that time, more than 500 sorties were flown. NATO destroys everything including hospitals and residential quarters, killing people.
I was in a house, in which about 20 people died -- the 29-year-old son of Gaddafi Seif, his two grandsons and several neighbours. Half a block was destroyed. By what right they interfere in the internal affairs of Libya in violation of the UN Charter? Why is the world silent? Therefore, I suggested creating a platform, at least the chess one, so that Gaddafi would come out for real negotiations.
- Many regarded your meeting with Gaddafi as a brilliant diplomatic move ...
It was a simple human gesture. He even had tears in his eyes when I expressed my condolences over the death of his relatives and friends. He said that he has many friends and acquaintances among the presidents and politicians. But you, he said, were the first person to express condolences.
The desire to at any cost to destroy and remove Gaddafi does not fit into logic. Libya surpasses many countries in terms of living standards, there is free medical care and education and everyone can buy a car for a third of the price. Russian citizens working there did not want to go back to their homeland because their jobs were highly paid. And then representatives of Western countries came and organized this revolution.
I'm going to visit Libya again. It is totally besieged today. Famine begins in Tripoli. Recently, I talked with the son of Gaddafi Muhammad and according to him, the situation is catastrophic now. There are several kilometres long queues for gasoline, food and water. A prosperous country with a high standard of living is being destroyed before our eyes.
- Did you manage to solve purely chess issues?
Academic year begins In September. The Libyans prepared a governmental decision on compulsory teaching chess in schools. Let's hope that this decision will begin to be realized in October.

August 2011