At the Threshold of the Era of Mercy

Finally, a decision has been made: a rematch between the current World Chess Champion, Ukrainian, Maria Muzychuk and her contender, Hou Yifan from China, to be held at Maria's hometown of Lviv.
Frankly, this is some kind of a political decision. Lviv was opposed by Beijing, whose representatives not only filed the properly executed application in a timely manner, but also reinforced it with a bank guarantee for part of the prize fund.
The Ukrainians did not comply with all the formalities. And yet, I insisted on making a decision in favour of Lviv. Why is that? In short, my visit to Lviv let me see for myself that it is a great city, quiet and friendly. Their chess traditions and chess school are very strong.

Today the Lviv Chess Federation has 20 grandmasters such as Adrian Mikhalchishin, Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Belyavsky, who coached Mary Muzichuk. However, the last major competition held in Lviv was in 1984 during the USSR Chess Championship.
Since then 31 (!) years have passed. In my opinion, this is too unfair for a city whose residents so appreciate and love chess.
In addition, I would like to open Lviv to the whole world and not only to the world of chess. I would like to dispel the myths around it, as the bastion of 'Western influence', 'Bandera supporters' and other abominations.
I sincerely hope that soon we will be able to restore the building of the Lviv Chess Club (we agreed at a meeting with the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko that it would be a joint project between Ukraine and FIDE). And in 2016, we will hold a rematch between Maria Muzychuk and Hou Yifan, most likely in the Lviv Opera House.
I never get tired, all these years, repeating the same words that chess stands outside politics. This is fact. However, there are no rules without exception. And the decision to hold a rematch in Lviv is just the exception that proves the rule. In this case, we deliberately put chess to serve a political purpose, for the one and only reason-for the sake of peace in the Ukrainian land.
They say that there is a war between the Russians and Ukrainians in Ukraine. I do not think so. I do not divide the Ukrainians and Russians. I believe it to be one nation. The people have a common history, a common ground, having passed, side by side, through many trials (in its history, Lviv has belonged to eight different states!). And I was shocked how easy it is to brainwash the people to such an extent that they started to hate each other with a readiness and desire to kill.
With common sense and the ability to compromise restored to the people, peace may be regained in the Ukrainian land. I do not know a better way to do this other than chess. However, there is one thing, perhaps no less important. In Beijing, we have repeatedly carried out championships at various levels, and another match will simply be drowned amid the avalanche of events. However, for Lviv, this may become a significant, long remembered celebration, especially for the children. We have made an exclusive agreement with the Mayor of Lviv, Andrei Sadovyi to arrange school trips to this event, so that the children, during the matches, can feel the spirit of chess. I must say that when Petr Poroshenko learned about this agreement, he immediately instructed the Minister of Education to organize students’ excursions not only from Lviv and the local region, but also from other regions of the country.
In general, chess is loved and appreciated in Ukraine. The mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitchko told me that he has organized 10 chess areas in the city parks of the capital of Ukraine (FIDE will equip them for the games with ground sets), and that from the new academic year, five hundred schools will start teaching chess in Kiev. We agreed that I should present a lecture to the University of Kiev on 1st September and to the Pedagogical Institute where Vladimir Kramnik will give a multiplayers game.
I should note that both Vitali Klitschko and Petr Poroshenko (who, incidentally, will head the Organizing Committee for the match preparation) continue the tradition of Ukrainian leaders who pay much attention to chess.  
The first President of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk concurrently held the presidency of the country with the presidency of the country Chess Federation. Leonid Kuchma joined us in two chess Olympiads in Artek Crimea. Viktor Yanukovich, when he was the Governor of the Donetsk region, came to Moscow for the closure of the World Chess Championship. Playing at the hotel 'Metropol' at that time were two representatives of the Ukraine- Vasiliy Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov. I hope this attitude continues in the Ukrainian leaders and will be beneficial in the near future.
As you know, the night is darkest before dawn. If you look at what is happening today, it is impossible not to notice that the darkness is deeper than ever. It is not only because nearly half of the world is in flames: Syria, Libya, Iraq, or the very Ukraine.
Earthquakes and floods have become more frequent and the usual natural phenomena such as rain and snow are unusually violent. Disasters such as tornadoes occur where they never have before or at least in the last several hundred years.
As a Buddhist, I believe these are signs of the approaching change of epochs. The epoch of Buddha Sakyamuni, the Buddha of Compassion is being replaced by the epoch of the Buddha Maitreya, the Buddha of Love.In addition, it is largely dependent on the people and their behaviour how smooth the change will be.
The sooner people realize that they are only a part – albeit an important part – of a singular system, the better it will be for humankind and for the Earth as a whole. No wonder I insisted on the inclusion of a personal responsibility clause in the Steppe Code (Basic Law) of Kalmykia for every citizen of the Republic, for everything that happens in the world.
Unfortunately, people today are made short sighted by consumerism and in their pursuit of cheap entertainment. Littered with political, ideological and religious prejudices, there is little hope for them. Our only expectation is for our children. And our duty, not only for the future of human civilization, but also for the future of the planet and even of the whole universe is for the continual cultivation and stimulation of a child's intellect.
By inserting the clause in the Steppe Code about personal responsibility for everything that happens in the world, I did not mean it for adults. My goal was to instil global awareness in school-aged children. I would like their intellectual horizons not to be limited by Kalmykia, Russia and even Europe. They should ask themselves before doing anything: «How will my deeds affect our planet and the universe?»
We must teach our children to think and make correct decisions with the full awareness of their responsibility. I repeat again: I do not know a better way to do this other than chess. As Einstein said, Chess is «the only way to exercise the muscles of the head.» That is the brain.
Therefore, I strive to ensure that all of our games are attended by as many children as possible. Judging by the matches in Elista, and even by my son's experiences, I know how susceptible children are to the game of chess and how it captures them. Not only do kids want to grow up strong but they also want to be smart. Inviting them to our competitions, we show them how to achieve the two goals at once: advocating chess and stimulating their mental activity, motivates them to study better.
Television is a good tool for this, despite being largely accused (we have to admit, not without reason) for the mass duping of people. Currently TV is called the 'zombie box'. This isn't new: Vladimir Vysotsky called it 'the stupid box for idiots' in the 1970's.
Meanwhile, in the very 70's and 80's, Central Television produced the super popular 'Chess School'. I, myself, looked forward to every to Thursday, when Yuri Averbakh and other leading TV presenters revealed the magical world of the ancient game. Such programmes still exist but only on the margins of television: on cable or UHF channels.
I talked with the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, the first Vice-Speaker of the State Duma, Alexander Zhukov, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, with the Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, the head of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation and with the spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov.
Eventually, I wrote to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin with a proposal to revive 'Chess School' on Federal television channels. After all, if you have the opportunity to give expensive airtime to programmes like 'Home-2', why is it not possible to find 20 minutes for chess? Moreover, I, myself, am ready to go to this 'Home-2' and lead chess lessons, why not?
And you know what? Everyone supported this idea, from the State Duma deputies to the President. But when it came to the television heads, I heard: «Excuse me, Kirsan Nikolayevich, but it is not for us, the advertisers will not invest in it.»
Well, then, we will look for another way to promote the idea of 'One Billion Players - One Billion Clever People'.
I know one thing – we cannot stop progress. With every year, there are more people whose minds, from birth, are open to change. Children receive information about the change of epochs directly from the universe or, if you like - from the Creator. Moreover, this information changes them, making them smarter, giving them a broader view on things and they become better prepared for future changes.
Moreover, it often happens in the most unexpected places. For example, I support a small orphanage in Togo, Africa. There are 150 children whose parents were killed during a civil war of indefinite duration. Recently I played there in a multiplayers match and marvelled how clever those boys and girls were! They could multiply six-figure numbers in their head and calculate moves far ahead. Let me remind you: this is Africa, the jungle, the civil war - where did they all take it from?
No wonder such geeks like Gordey Kolesov appear - little Buddha of the chess world. His appearance and the appearance of children like him is quite predictable. I think that when the «critical mass» of such children will accumulate there will be one amongst them whose destiny is make our world better. It is important for us not to miss a single one of these children, to help and support each of them in time.
We stand on the threshold of a new era, an era of mercy. However, it depends on us when it comes. On the other hand, as my grandfather said, «No matter how hard they try to sully gold, it still shines.» I believe that true talent is impossible to break.