Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "I will not give up the fight for the post of FIDE President"

- An FIDE Executive Board session took place in Antalya recently. Vice President Georgios Makropoulos and his support team recommended that you do not run for FIDE President in 2018. How do they justify their recommendations?

This is a political issue. The US Treasury included me in the sanctions list on November 25, 2015. The pretext was my trip to Syria, where I met with President Bashar Assad and brought them few chess sets.

Back in December 2015, we held the Presidential Board in Athens, where I voluntarily transferred most of my powers to Makropoulos. This was necessary, because we planned to hold a match for the world championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergei Karjakin in New York in November 2016. Therefore, I said: "Let's not stress the situation and let all the presidential powers be transferred to Vice President."
As for the Executive Board session in Antalya, I answered their arguments: the sanctions did not prevent me from fulfilling my duties and they did not affect FIDE's activities in any way within the last two years. For two years, I visited more than a hundred countries, except the United States. After all, sanctions are interference in the internal affairs of an international federation. For example, imagine that Mongolia or Georgia will impose sanctions against Makropoulos tomorrow and then what? Would he not be allowed to be elected to the post of Vice President?
- How did members of the Executive Committee react to your arguments?
Some said, they were ready to support me once the sanctions are uplifted, while others were ready to stand up for me even now. The presidents of the chess federations of Finland and South Africa invited me to visit their countries. There are eight more months remaining before nomination. According to FIDE regulations, elections will be held in September next year.  A candidate has the right to stand for election in three months’ notice. I continue to work on schedule: I'm in Slovenia now and I have further plans to visit Korea, Tunisia, Sudan and Finland.
I did not give up my programme – to teach one billion people to play chess by 2020. And I will do my best for its implementation. Why did I win elections against Karpov in 2010 and Kasparov in 2014? That happened because I had a very specific programme. Now I am preparing a new, breakthrough programme.
- And still I would like to hear the answer: are you going to be nominated?
I will promote my programme and put forward my team. I will be able to answer your question within two weeks. I have intensive negotiations with the US State Department. If I get a visa, I'll make a statement in the US.
- Let me rephrase my question:  will you not give up the fight for the post of FIDE President?
No, I never give up a fight. But it's too early to talk about this. I cannot act as a presidential candidate because I'm an incumbent president: they simply would not understand me.