Vladimir Kramnik: "Chaos reigned in chess world before Ilyumzhinov"

- Nobody fully understands what is happening in FIDE now. What is your view of this situation?

Of course, I'm not indifferent to this situation. I do not know who is behind this, and what the purpose of the «putschists» is, but here's what I think about all this. First, I see no reason to change the president of FIDE. Chess progresses and develops. There are no problems and no overlap. FIDE organizes all its calendar competitions accurately and in time.

Secondly, those who want to change power have no legal basis. The next election will take place in a year and a half. All those talks about the search for sponsors is hard to come by have some sort of vague soapy character and are not supported by facts. That is, there are no objective reasons for changing the president.
- From the outside it seems to be a banal coup...
It looks like a planned operation. This is some kind of disrespect for the Charter of their organization. First of all, it is disrespect to Ilyumzhinov himself, who did a lot for chess and for the same people who now want to remove him. And this is bad for the image of the federation. After all, this does not add to the authority of FIDE.
But I hope that the putsch will fail. There is nothing that supports conspirators: neither law or money or authority. My position is to wait for the 2018 elections and do everything according to the Charter. Anyone who wants to become a FIDE President can present his programme and be honestly elected.
- And what if the council meets without Kirsan Nikolayevich and will vote for his resignation in Athens on April 10?
It would look stupid to say the least. It would be necessary to go to court, which should easily recognize the innocence of Ilyumzhinov. I am sure that the chess world will not accept such a coup. But I hope that what is left of common sense will prevail and it will not come to this, because the consequences for the people who have started this can be very serious. Chess functionaries would have to give up their careers.
- Could it be that Ilyumzhinov was too soft to them and he needs to change the team?
Changes are imminent. I have repeatedly expressed negative opinions about some members of Ilyumzhinov's team; I will not name those now. They do almost nothing for chess; they do not fulfil the obligations that are imposed on them. And changes are necessary, new blood is needed.
But the fact is that all these people are legitimately chosen. Therefore, if we are guided by the letter of the law, then we must play by the rules. However, if they themselves act in violation, then they must be replaced. I emphasize: I'm not talking about the whole team, some of them honestly work, but new staff with interesting ideas is needed.
- Ilyumzhinov has finally united the chess world after his more than 20-year rule in FIDE. The defending of the champion’s title became clear and stable, the number of tournaments increased at times. Is this the merit of Kirsan Nikolayevich?
There were very hard times for chess before his arrival in 1995. And I say with full confidence that if you consider the last twenty years, things are very good now. And many leading grandmasters, with whom I spoke on this subject, agree with me.
Indeed, there are a huge number of tournaments now. The defending of the world title is clear and understood first of all for the fans. People are beginning to get used to the idea that the matches for the world championship take place every two years in November and that the pretenders tournaments take place in March. In case of football, hockey and many other sports this is in the order of things, while it is a great achievement for us. After all, it was just chaos in the 90's.
- Oleg Skvortsov put forward the idea to move FIDE headquarters from Athens to Zurich. Do you like this idea?
I treat it positively and fully endorse that. Zurich is a chess city, unlike Athens. There is the oldest chess club in the world in Zurich, which is more than two hundred years old and I often read lectures there. My friend Oleg Skvortsov is holding the sixth tournament there already. By the way, he is an honorary member of this club.
Well, Switzerland itself has to have a headquarters here. At all times this country was neutral in all issues. Summits at the highest level are held here and the fact that the IOC headquarters is located here speaks for itself. In addition, FIDE already had a headquarters in Switzerland at different times - in Lucerne and Lausanne. So, changes in FIDE can begin with this.