Boris Gelfand: "Ilyumzhinov has raised interest in chess in the whole world"

- Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took over as the President FIDE in 1995, and since then holds this post. What do you think about the recent history of chess and Ilyumzhinov?

- I think that the state of chess before his appointment and today is completely different. Ilyumzhinov was able to achieve much. In 1995, the chess world was torn apart by conflicts; a few tournaments were held and there was the period of double championships. Women's chess did not exist; there was almost no children’s chess.

Now the number of tournaments has grown by times, the systems of holding of the World Championships was established. There were, of course, errors and I have criticized the activities of FIDE. However, starting approximately from 2007, I consider it as positive in general.
- Was Ilyumzhinov's story about his contact with aliens intended to increase interest in chess?
- Why not? I am almost sure that it was. The story of the possible presidency of FIFA fits in this scheme.
- In one of the interviews Ilyumzhinov said that chess players are very difficult people, they can never be completely trusted. Do you agree with this generalization? On the other hand, did he mean someone one, who, for example, was constantly conflicting with him like Garry Kasparov?
- It is impossible to generalize, but there was something in it, of course. Each of them is an complex person. Ilyumzhinov and Kasparov are tied by a long and complicated history. But then something has happened and their relationship went wrong. I cannot judge, but the fact that Garry has retired from chess is a huge loss. He is great as a chess player, but all his attempts to prove himself as an organizer - let's say, is beyond the champion’s level.