Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Chess in Schools programme enabled us to turn an elite sport into mass sport”

“At one time, I introduced chess as a compulsory subject in Kalmykia schools,” said the sixth FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  “At that time chess wasn’t much popular in our republic.

At first, they began to play it in schools and later chess clubs were opened in the districts. In Kalmykia, there was not a single first-ranking player among children. However, very soon we had a young grandmaster, who became the world chess champion among children at the age of 14.

Because chess came to schools, children began not only to play chess well but also to study well. So we turned an elite sport into mass sport,” Ilyumzhinov said.