Ilyumzhinov: If you have to fight, do it over the chessboard

Hello, dear listeners of the Echo of Moscow!Today, I am back from8-day business trip, having visited eight countries: Poland, UAE, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Palestine and Israel.

Many important issues were discussed: from development andpromotion of chess inspecific countries andregions to the World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk.

There are many concrete results.For example, the leadership of Afghanistan National Olympic Committee has allocated land for construction of a chess centre.Soon a chess oasis will appear inKabul andthis, inmy opinion, is extremely important for a long-suffering country that is trying to recover frommany war years.

The leader of the Palestinian National Authority, Mr Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that hewould study Kalmykia’s experience and sign a decree ondevelopment of chess inPalestine.Wealso agreed withPalestinian andIsraeli parties on a match atthe border between children of both countries.Mr Abbas personally supported this initiative.
Now I will answer some of your questions.
- What would you do ifGarry Kasparov, having revised his views onchess policy, decided to return togreat sport and joinFIDE?
- The whole chess world, including me, would onlywelcome the return of the great champion onchess arena.For this, Garry does not need to reconsider his political views. He should only do what he is best at: play chess!
- Do you know how to playchess?
- Yes, I am a candidate formasters and was a champion of Kalmykia once.
By the way, I am often asked if I playedchess withKarpov.The answer is yes.It happened onLenin Square inElista in2007.   The game ended in a draw.I also played with Garry Kasparov andevenwith the 11th world champion Robert Fischer.I could not win against the great American.


- Are you an adventurer?
- It is impossible to be an adventurer andleader ofone ofsubjects of the Russian Federationfor 17 years and president ofone ofworld's leading sports federations for 15 years.
However,I believe that courage andthe ability to think outside the box is necessary for a modern leader.
- Are you doinganything to make the authorities allow the Dalai Lama to come toRussia?After all,Buddhism is very common in yourRepublic andyou must have received many requests on this matter fromlocal residents andorganizations.
- I think that this is too big problem that needs to be discussed separately.I will answer briefly now. I did it, do it, and will do.In 2004, we managed to achieve almostthe impossible: the 14th Dalai Lama made a 2-day visit toKalmykia.
- Do you think that they should teach chess at school instead of the basics of the history of religions?
- Iwould notput it this way.In my opinion, chess should be included inschool curriculum along withother important subjects aimed at student’s development.This is evidenced by the experience of Kalmykia, where all the schoolchildren have been taught this wise game for many years.
According to the Ministry of Education of Russia, the overall intellectual level of Kalmyk schoolchildren andstudents exceeds the average.Kalmyk schoolchildren were the best in Russian language, mathematics andother exact disciplines.At the same time, this data are also confirmed by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.
Sometimes you couldn’t help but laugh: officials came fromcapital and asked students to retake exams in their presence.They did it.However, it turned out that the new results were even better than the previous ones!