FIDE Head: "World Chess Cup is my child"

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, what does World Chess Cup mean for you?

I founded this tournament in 1995 and allocated $5 million for it. At that time, it was called the "World Knockout Championship". Back then, the match system came to a deadlock because Kasparov had left (FIDE), created his own federation of professional chess players and held championships on his system. Later, he couldn’t find money.

I tried to organize a match between Karpov and Kasparov and also failed. And therefore I allocated $5 million -- an unprecedented amount and held a world championship on a knockout system, where 128 strongest chess players are fighting for the right to be a champion.
The decision was made at the Presidential Council in Singapore in December. We held the first such tournament in Groningen in 1997. Then the final match was held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, where Anatoly Karpov met with the winner of the tournament in Groningen -- Viswanathan Anand.
Victor Korchnoi took part in all tournaments that he half ironically called "Ilyumzhinovka". I was criticized for violating the existing system. But it was a temporary decision made in order to unite the chess world so that chess players would not leave.
When that task was completed and we returned to the match system in 2000, I renamed this championship into the "World Cup". The idea remained the same -- 128 strongest chess players play the Cup on the knockout system and the winner immediately participate in the pretenders tournament of eight. I am proud of "Ilyumzhinovka." This is my brainchild and therefore I am always present at the tournament.
-The Chess Olympiad will be held in Batumi in 2018. Can the World Cup be considered a rehearsal?
As always, those countries that hold the World Chess Olympiads apply for holding the Cup one year before. For example, the next Olympiad will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk and there also will be held the World Cup in 2019. We always hold Cup followed by Olympics. This is done in order to assess the readiness of infrastructures to conduct major events.
- The leader of the Georgian women's national chess team Nana Dzagnidze is taking part in the World Cup in Tbilisi. Is this your initiative?
Not at all. The host country of the tournament has the right to include its chess player in the list of participants. Anyone it considers to be fit for it. The host country submits an application and the organizing committee approves. Dzagnidze is a very talented chess player and I wish her every success.