"We need to ask Boris Nikolaevich." How Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became FIDE President

24 November marks 23 years since Kirsan Ilyumzhinov first became FIDE President. We congratulate Kirsan Nikolaevich on this date and offer our readers a small excerpt from the "Debriefing" programme on Ekho Moskvy radio. That’s when he, among other things, admitted that he took office in 1995 "with the help of Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin."

 "The Russian Chess Federation was against me, " Ilyumzhinov told. “On 24 November of 1995, Florencio Campomanes, the fifth FIDE President, proposed my candidacy at the General Assembly in Paris. I called Shamil Tarpishchev, who headed the sports committee.

Shamil said: "No, this is not my competence. You should call Andrey Makarov." Today, Makarov is the chairman of the budget committee of the State Duma, but at that time he headed the chess federation. However, the chess federation was strongly influenced by Garry Kasparov. Makarov said: "Ask Kasparov."
I called Kasparov. Clara Shagenovna picked up the phone: "Kirsan, do you remember how we used to eat dumplings together? Why are you doing this to us now?" Garik picked up the phone: "Are you going to run for FIDE President?" I said: "Garik, but it's great! Never before a Russian was the President of FIDE. Imagine, together we can do many things."
Garik: "No, if you run for FIDE President, you let me down..." I said: "Let's unite together." Garik was against because he had founded a professional association of players in the USA in 1993, so he didn't want FIDE to exist anymore.
Then I phoned Viktor Ilyushin, who was a senior aide to Yeltsin. He said: "We need to ask Boris Nikolayevich - he's the only one who can make decision." Boris Nikolayevich said: "Well, Russia needs it. Raise the flag of Russia."
Then I went, perhaps, against the will of my friends, but I fulfilled the request of the Russian Federation President. Later, I presented Boris Nikolayevich a set of chess. He sat down and said: "Well, I know how the horse moves." Thus, we agreed on a draw. "