Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: The main thing is peace on Earth

I think our readers are well aware of the main milestones that marked the work of Ilyumzhinov as President of FIDE. In particular, we all remember that it took him not 2-3 years, but almost 11 years to achieve his main goal - the unification of chess mankind years. The tasks that had to be solved turned out to be difficult...

- Popularity of chess is made up of two inextricably linked components - the attention of media and the number of amateurs who are keen on it. How do these components relate to each other and what is of higher priority for you at this stage?

- I could formulate my task something like this: with the help of media representatives, to instill in parents an understanding that children should be taught chess. But in order to effectively use the memories of grandparents, in order to patch the time gap that arose in the 90s in chess, it is necessary to use television. For this, there must be a message from the state. In this regard, I do not quite understand what the channels management is thinking,

And further. The number of rated chess players in the world has grown 11 times in recent years. There are 186 FIDE member national federations on the planet now! And I really want the number of registered chess fans in the world to grow 10 times more!

- In the early 90s, you were considered one of the richest and most successful young businessmen in Russia. And business is akin to sports. As chess players always strive forward, so businessmen dream of expanding their possessions and increasing their finances. Are you not sorry that all these years you have not been able to continue your financial activities in the same volume, that chess distracted you?

- Sorry is not for me. Sorry is for my friends and acquaintances, those who lived on my money. It is a pity for them! (Laughs.) But I am philosophical about it in a Buddhist way. We came naked, naked and we will leave, we will not take anything with us into the other world. Once I had two planes, but I sold these planes and with this money I built the largest Buddhist temple in Europe...

- Perhaps the fact is that you always reported so cheerfully about all your projects that many did not take them too seriously at first. You - almost like Herbert Wales - were called the Kalmyk dreamer. And besides, many were quite skeptical about the people with whom you communicated. This is Muammar Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein, and Bashar al-Assad.

- I have always been attracted by extraordinary personalities. I was friends with Pope John Paul II, and with Baba Vanga, and with the Dalai Lama, and with Henry Kissinger, and with Mikhail Gorbachev. A person does not live too long, so his most important wealth is communication with interesting people. And with regard to Hussein and Gaddafi, I really wanted to understand how, in the very difficult conditions of an ethnically heterogeneous society, they manage to maintain order in the country. How many nationalities, how many religions are there!
When I went there four years ago, the war had just begun, the Arab spring was flaring up... When I met with Bashar al-Assad, when I opened a chess club for children there, many asked: why did you go there?! And now it turns out that I was trying to act in the right direction! Yesterday I listened to an American journalist. Yes, they admitted that if they left Hussein and Gaddafi alone, there would be no IS there now. These were secular states! In Iraq, women went about without a burqa: in European skirts and with elegant hairstyles, and in the evening there were discos, music! In Tripoli, people rode bicycles, the music played until late! These are completely normal people! And they became more and more secular! And now refugees have flooded into Europe ...
Time has shown that I was right. It was necessary, as we wanted, to hold the Karpov-Kamsky match in Baghdad... We organized the World Championship in Tripoli, we opened chess schools! (Smiles sadly.) After all, I, together with world chess, advocate universal human values ... We are just trying to carry culture, to make humanity more intellectual. But the most important thing is that there should be peace and tranquility on Earth ...

Marina Makarycheva