Ilyumzhinov: "Competition in chess has grown 11 times its size in 20 years"

- Kirsan Nikolaevich, Russia dominated chess events in 1995. However, the Russian Federation has lost all major chess titles now. Are you worried by this situation?

- Could it be otherwise? Union collapsed and the Soviet chess school agonized. Coaches moved to work abroad. There were no chess players in Vietnam not so long ago. These days, Vietnamese, Iranians, and Indians win prizes at Junior and Youth Championships. Chess has spread throughout the world with the help of Russian experts.

Do you see anything wrong in the fact that previously the Olympiad winner was predetermined three rounds before the end of it - which was the USSR national team - but they fight until the last round today? 10-15 countries may claim gold.
Definitely, I have done much for countries that knew nothing about chess to make the chess stars appear there. Take for example Magnus Carlsen. Where did his talent shone? At the knockout World Cup! In 2006, the Norwegian Chess Federation, applied to me with a request to include the young grandmaster in the number of participants of the Championship. I, as the FIDE President, I had such a right. Thus, Carlsen got the green light. He might never have been the Champion if not for knockout system.
Let us remind the Chinese Hou Yifan, the strongest chess player of the world. She is from a poor family. Her mother, a medical worker, brought the 11-year-old girl to me and asked me to help her. It is my duty to support players. As a result, the number of those who have a chess rating increased by 11 times within past 20 years. Quantity provides quality. Moreover, which is inevitable, it promotes competition.
The Russian chess is also undergoing positive changes now. Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, whom I supported, won the contenders tournament in Moscow in the spring. It is exactly he, who will play against Magnus Carlsen in the match for a Champion title in New York in November.