Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: “I only wish that it covered not only Wednesdays but also all other days of the week”

On 3 December, the world observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Interestingly, every year this day has a new theme. The theme for 2018 was “Empowerment persons with disabilities”.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed on 3 December for more than twenty years. It is also a day upon which we promote awareness of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities.

- Kirsan Nikolayevich, how can chess players take part in “Empowerment people with disabilities” programme?

- All our actions and our programmes are designed to promote awareness of the problems of people with disabilities. They need attention and socialization. This is especially true for children with disabilities. Such children are vulnerable. They need to not only communicate with their relatives, but also socialize as much as possible. We offer a very affordable way of socialization - chess. I have a charity programme "Chess for every disabled person."

- In 2011, the five-year programme “Accessible Environment” was launched in Russia. This programme is aimed at integration of persons with disabilities into society. It ensures free access to priority facilities and services in vital spheres of life for people with disabilities as well as improvement of rehabilitation services.

- In my opinion, it is a very important programme. I only wish that it covered not only Wednesdays but also all other days of the week. In general, this is a big problem. But the world copes with it. You know that according to WHO statistics, there are more than one billion disable people in the world including 100 million children.

- I see that you have seriously studied the topic.

- Of course, I did. When we worked on “Chess for every disabled person” programme, I also read a lot about the Paralympic movement. Paralympians is a vivid example of the fact that a disability cannot prevent a person from achieving his goal. Medals received in the most severe competition prove that you should not despair if a tragedy occurs in life.

- Yes, these are strong-willed people. However, how do chess players support people with disabilities?

- It's not easy to explain this programme in a few words. But I will try. In May 2017, in the building of the Central Telegraph (Moscow), I and the international grandmaster Alexander Motylev held a simultaneous game on 24 boards for children with disabilities.

This charity match took place at the initiative of Polina Torochkova, a member of FIDE Commission for Disabled. The main goal was to attract the attention of the public and the media to the problem of social adaptation of such children and show the importance of chess in the development of their intellectual abilities.

- Thank you, Kirsan Nikolayevich, I hope we will return to this important topic!