Ilyumzhinov: "Chess unites all"

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, championships under auspices of FIDE are held all over the world, regardless even the deep-rooted political outlooks. In particular, one of them was recently held in Lviv ...

- Yes. We met with Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko a few months ago. He approved the holding of the Women’s Championship between Ukrainian chess player, World Champion Maria Muzychuk and Chinese chess player Hou Yifan in Lviv.

Chinese player won and became the World Champion again. Subsequently, I have sent a letter of appreciation to the President of Ukraine and the city mayor Andrew Sadovyi for perfect hosting and organizing of this match. The match took place at the Palace of Potocki. The opening ceremony took place at the Central Musical Theatre. Everything was up to the mark.
-Is chess out of conflicts and politics?
- FIDE is the largest international sports federation, which unites 186 countries. Chess in its essence is the most democratic game. Both old and young people of different nationalities and faiths play it. Chess unites all. Therefore, we hold tournaments in all corners of the globe, no matter, whether it is ruled by Saddam Hussein or Jimmy Carter and located in South Korea or Africa. We hold our events at every place where they like chess.
- If chess is out of politics, how did it happen that the US Treasury imposed personal sanctions against you last year?
- For which I am thankful to them. I was in Italy (Rome) on 24th of November, last year. I took part in the closing of the Women's World Rapid and Blitz Championship. On 25th of November, the US Treasury has presented me with such a gift to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my presidency of FIDE.
For what? As it turned out, for visiting the Syrian Arab Republic and communication with the Syrian leadership. Including the connections with the government, management of the banks and because I had paid several visits to Syria, met with President Bashar al-Assad. We presented him with the sets of chess and a chess books. However, he could not attend due to the very busy schedule, but, nevertheless, we have built a beautiful chess centre.
- Following this logic, anyone who came into contact, one way or another, with Bashar Assad or set foot on Syrian territory, must be considered as an outlaw?
- By the way, according to American law, a foreigner has no right to sue US government, even if he would present the decision of Hague Court. The janitor of US Treasury would throw it into some rubbish bin. They could get information on anyone about the places visited, people met and hands shaken by reading SMS, social networks and the newspapers. Moreover, basing on such information they have the right to make one a candidate for the sanctions list.
The most interesting is that the US Treasury is not required to provide proofs for the sanctions. Moreover, it applies to answering anyone’s questions. In addition, the procedure of being struck off the sanctions list does not exist.
I am creating the first precedent in the practice of law now, by trying to strike off myself from the sanctions list and to punish the US government. I filed a claim to the US Supreme Court for protection of honour, dignity and business reputation. Currently I am involved in the lawsuit with representatives of US Treasury.
- How are you going to get to New York? The match for the title of World Chess Champion will be held there from 10 to 30 November. Will it be held without you?
- Firstly, I have a visa valid for three years. Secondly, I will try to settle all the issues with the US government by 10th of November, because they have no more questions now.
Some members of FIDE advised me not to hold the match for the title of World Champion in the United States. However, I, as a Buddhist, appealed to the members of FIDE Presidential Board - let us not cancel the match and declare 2016 the year of chess in the United States. We will be carrying out a few dozen events, including the World Chess Solving Championship and the World Chess Championship of Chess Composition among Universities. This is our gift to USA. Let them grow wiser!