Checkmate: how the first President of Kalmykia became the President of FIDE

According to Ilyumzhinov, Vanga herself predicted this post. Going to an emergency FIDE meeting in Paris in 1995, he did not apply for the presidency. Florencio Campomanes, who was then at the head of the federation, simply invited the president of Kalmykia to be present at the meeting. His presence stretched for almost a quarter of a century. Almost all the delegates of the General Assembly voted for the candidacy of Ilyumzhinov.

The young businessperson became known in the chess world back in 1990, when he bought the Korloff crown from Garry Kasparov, which the latter won in a duel against Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov put up his crown for sale to help the Armenian refugees, and then Ilyumzhinov came to the rescue.
The first President of Kalmykia planned to raise the rating of his region by proposing to hold the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista and setting a record prize fund of the tournament - 100 thousand dollars. Since then, the status of the Russian chess capital has been entrenched in Elista for many years.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov received FIDE in a miserable state. If you remember, at that time it was in a crisis, both financially and politically. The federation owed more than a million Swiss francs, employees did not receive salaries, and there was no money even to host matches.
After becoming president, Ilyumzhinov began to meet and consult with the world's leading chess players. By the way, Fischer at first refused to meet with Ilyumzhinov, since the leadership of our country did not pay the chess player a fee for publishing My 60 Memorable Games book, but then Ilyumzhinov himself closed the debt of 100 thousand dollars.
For 23 years, he managed to re-unite the chess world and introduce a unified system of drawing champion titles. If earlier there were champions according to the ‘brain games’ version of the Professional Chess Association, then an agreement that only one champion is possible in the chess world was signed in Elista in 2006.
In addition, during the presidency of Ilyumzhinov, the International Olympic Committee recognized chess as a sport, and FIDE as the only sports chess federation that can represent the interests of chess players. This event took place in 1999 in the capital of South Korea.
Over the past 25 years, chess has become popular all over the world, and more than half a billion people play this sport all in our planet.