Ilyumzhinov: "I want the motto ‘One billion chess players’ to become a reality"

After the opening ceremony of the 4th Vugar Gashimov Memorial, FIDE President answered the reporters' questions.

- Who is the favorite to win the tournament?
This question is always difficult to answer because the level of chess players has grown enormously in recent years. Apart from the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who does not play in Shamkir, everyone else does. These are the chess players who can solve the toughest problems and have excellent tournament skills.

If you remember, two years ago Sergey Karyakin was losing to Peter Svidler by a 0-2 score in the final match at the World Cup in Baku, but managed to reverse the course of the fight. As a result, he, as they say, snatched the Cup from the hands of the opponent. I am sure that the participants will show the highest level of the game in the spirit of Gashimov. I do not want to give forecasts, I root for everyone. Let the strongest win!
- What is the situation in FIDE in the light of recent events within the organization?
Yesterday, I said that I will run for a next term as a president of FIDE. The elections will be held at the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi in 2018. And what happened two weeks ago was a misunderstanding on the part of the FIDE Presidential Council due to a technical problem. My ideas, team and programme are completely transparent. And I invite to my team those who have fresh ideas.
- If you get elected, would you be ready to remove from a team the people opposing you?
I already said that I'm ready to see anyone on the team. I invite those who oppose me to state their point of view. I have been working for 22 years to unite the chess world and consolidate its positions.
Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov, who played a unification match for the title of FIDE world champion, are in Shamkir now. While Garry Kasparov, having left FIDE and taken away the chess crown, began to organize his own championship. Kramnik won against Kasparov and agreed to play with Topalov a unification match for the world crown in Kalmykia in 2006.
After that, the chess world became even stronger. To date, 600 million people play chess around the world. Every year I visit 80-100 countries and I see how much people love this ancient game. I want the motto "One billion chess players" to become a reality.