Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "Chess in schools is a noble mission"

- Kirsan Nikolayevich, one of the key programs of FIDE is called "Chess in Schools". Why are you so keen on it to be integrated into the education system?

- I announced the program in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2010. Speaking about it, I said that I have fulfilled the main tasks assigned to me in the mid-1990s. I had ensured that the IOC recognized chess as the sports; I have united the chess world and reformed the system of gaining the Champion title.
I am facing the next stage now. I have set the goal to increase the number of people playing chess up to one billion within the next 10 years. People should be enthralled with it from childhood- schools and kindergartens.

- Are you able to find the commercial partners for this program?
- Yes, there are many. We are supported by Rosneft and the charitable foundation ‘System’ in Russia. You spend a huge sum on salary of the football players and may not notice it. However, the sponsor solves many problems for the same amount of money in chess.
The large number of highlighted by local and international media events takes place. The social issues are addressed: it's really the noble mission to enable children to become more intelligent, smart and competitive. Finally, the sponsor may be associated with such a fashionable sport as chess.
I make sure to try signing the cooperation agreements with, as a rule, the Ministers of Education in all the countries I visit. After that, the master classes are given, the books are published. The results are impressive.
I remember how we came to the provincial school in Paraguay and saw the tablets with the chess program on the desks. Students are distributed with them free of charge. Same refers to Mexico. They had selected 10 schools and watched how the pupils’ results were improved over one year. After that, they introduced the chess subject to 200 thousand schools.
Chess is the compulsory subject in Armenia. The picture is similar in South Africa and Vietnam. 6 million children play chess in Turkey. Some Russian regions introduce this innovation as well.
- Which region is considered to be the most promising?
- Chess in schools is being developed in Moscow, Tomsk, Pskov, Kemerovo regions; Trans-Baikal, Tatarstan and Kalmykia. I would especially like to note the success of Ugra. They introduced chess in schools, held global competitions, built the chess palace.