Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "Chess instead of wars and machine guns"


- Kirsan Nikolaevich, we were trying not to touch upon this subject but let's discuss it now: the FIDE Ethics Commission has suspended you, the president occupying this post since 1995. It sounds monstrous. What does it mean? Did this happen because of the US sanctions or because of Makropoulos and Kasparov’s conspiracies?
I don’t think that we have avoided this subject (laughs). I have already said that the decision of the FIDE Ethics Commission is illegal. Three members of the commission took a political decision because of the US sanctions against me. I have been elected FIDE President by representatives of 110 countries and three officials cannot suspend me. I intend to continue to fulfill my duties as FIDE President until October this year. I intend to apply to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (CAS) and to the international court for human rights.

I repeat again: all this happened because FIDE vice-president Georgios Makropoulos is afraid of my authority in the chess world. He is just trying to get the post of FIDE President using any means.
Of course, the political background is obvious here. FIDE was pressured by the Americans. This is a political put-up job.
- FIDE Presidential elections will be held in Batumi on 3 October this year. Are you disappointed because you are not a candidate for this post this time?
Absolutely not. I occupied this post for 23 years. As they say, let those who replace us do better job. Of course, at first I was a little saddened - I am used to a certain race visiting more than 100 countries a year.
But then I thought: in November 2015, the Americans included me in the sanctions list for a far-fetched and dubious reason. I was struggling, trying to prove my innocence. I wanted to fly to the US and be tested by a lie detector. I said, if I am guilty, prove and judge me. If I'm a criminal, put me in jail, even on an electric chair. I'm not running away and I'm not hiding.
I was ready to face American justice. But it all was useless. They didn’t let me on the plane when I was going to fly to New York. That is, I did not run from the American Themis, instead, she ran from me.
And then I looked around and saw that I was like a gladiator in the Roman stadium arena. Although, I was not defeated. But some of those, with whom I worked side by side for 23 years, kept silent and waited for the moment to give me thumbs down. They should have rallied around their president, write a letter to the US president or the UN. They should have protested against the fact that the leader of the federation joining 188 countries can be ostracized without any justification. The motto of FIDE is "Gens una sumus" (We are one family).
-It seems that you, Kirsan Nikolaevich, have overlooked something as the head of this family ...
It is possible (laughs). All goes to good. By the way, I have decided not run for president before the Ethics Commission passed its decision. And I remain FIDE President and do my work until 3 October. On 3 October, representatives of 188 chess federations should elect a new head of the organization at the congress in Batumi. There are three candidates: Makropoulos, British grandmaster Nigel Short and a member of the board of trustees of the Russian Chess Federation Arkady Dvorkovich.
- It is clear. Do you think if there is life after chess?
What a weird question. Of course there is! Do you want to know about my plans? Well, I'm not going to retire. I have plenty of plans. Let's talk about this a little later. Say, closer to October. But I will not abandon chess. I will not change my goal: a billion people playing chess - a billion of smart people. Chess instead of wars and machine guns. Chess is my life. How can I leave it? What sanctions can prevent a person from living by the rules set not by the US State Department but by the Buddha, Mahomed or Jesus Christ?
-Beautifully said, Kirsan Nikolaevich! Thank you for the interview and good luck!

Margarita Sumarokova