FIDE President: "For the Sake of Chess, I would not Begrudge Health or Millions”

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, what does the International Chess Organization mean to you today?

- This is life, the inexpressible love for chess, the pride of what I did. I do not have time to sleep now and I never had. I live on an airplane. Why am I doing that? I say to myself: “Kirsan, haven’t you promised to make chess the number one sport 20 years ago? So, do it!”
What happened in 1995? Devastation! Chess was popular in the former Soviet Union but people started to lose interest to it after its collapse. A couple of European countries, the United States, Cuba, Philippines were interested in chess... That was all! Nobody else was interested in it in the world.

I visited Mexico. I convinced the President that we had a future. We agreed on the chess lessons in a couple of schools. It took a year to make this kind of sport the compulsory subject in all 200 thousand schools of Mexico! I do this kind of work in every country.

- How would one convince the children to play the boring pieces?
- With the right approach children would prefer to move the knight and bishops even in the era of computer games. And I'm not ashamed of the past 20 years. I am ashamed of one thing only. The fact that I could have done more. But, unfortunately, sometimes I have to sleep.
I would have done more if it was possible to use those lost hours for development of chess. The chess world trusts me; otherwise I would not have defeated Karpov and later Kasparov - two of the greatest Champions in the history. The people chose me and I'm ready to work hard for the benefit of chess for 20 years more.
- Do you ever take care of yourself?

- I love my work and for the sake of it I would not begrudge my health or millions spent. I'm not going to take Rolls-Royce or Rolex with me in my coffin. To be remembered is most important to me. More than 600 million people know the chess rules throughout the world now. The task of FIDE is to increase their number to one billion.