Ilyumzhinov: Baku hosts the best Olympic Game in the history

On September 3, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov held a press conference in Baku Cristal Hall that hosts the 42th Chess Olympiad. The head of FIDE shared his impressions and answered journalists' questions.

"I would like to thank the President Ilham Aliyev for the opportunity of holding the Olympic Games in Baku. Four years ago, during the FIDE General Assembly in Istanbul, the delegates almost unanimously voted in favour of Baku. The organizing of the competition and its first few days has confirmed that the current Olympiad is one of the best, if not the best in the whole history. Everything was arranged at the highest grade - from the meeting at the airport to issues of accommodation and food for the teams and numerous visitors. I had the opportunity to open the Olympic Games in Yerevan, as the newly elected President of FIDE, twenty years ago.

Since then I have visited eleven of such competitions and I can say that the start in Baku is the best. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the organization of this beautiful and stunning Olympics. Especially should be noted the support of the head of the Organizing Committee; First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov. The FIDE team; the National Federation of Azerbaijan; the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Operations Committee; Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Government of Azerbaijan have excellently operated as one team. It is peasant to know that the President Ilham Aliyev personally took part in the opening ceremony and made the first chess move at the Olympics. It is a great promotion of chess in Azerbaijan and around the world when the head of state attends such an event," he noted.

Ilyumzhinov stressed that the Olympics serve two purposes. "Firstly, we are opening the country for the whole chess world. Secondly, we are opening the world of chess for the country. Just consider the fact that the representatives of 183 countries are taking part in the Olympics and the Congress, which will start next week. Every Olympic Game updates our achievements. The two reigning World Champions - Magnus Carlsen and Hou Yifan - are playing in Baku. In total, there are 341 GMs. And the youngest participant of the competition is a ten years old chess player of Guam team," he noted.
The head of FIDE was also asked if the headed by him organization were bankrupt, to which he replied: "FIDE was bankrupt in 1995 when Garry Kasparov left the organization, taking away the Chess Crown, establishing his company and organizing his own World Cup. It is groundless to speculate about the financial problems of FIDE today. It is evidenced by the holding of Baku Chess Olympiad. So, the financial issue of FIDE is all right," said Ilyumzhinov.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov shared who was his best fan at the Olympics: "Naturally, as a citizen of Russia, I worry about the national team of my country. On the other hand, I cannot but sympathize with the Azerbaijani team, because Baku has provided us with a real chess festival. However, as the FIDE President, I must remain unbiased. And yet, I will tell you who my fan in Baku is. It is Guam with its 10 years old chess player. I with the President of Azerbaijani Ilham Aliyev came to the youngest participant of Guam’s team. However, I was told that there was even younger one - just 9 years old."
The head of FIDE President commented on the proposal of the Russian Chess Federation to amend the system of drawing the World Crown. "We are not talking about amending but rather supplementing. The initiative as such is commercially very advantageous and could serve for the further development of chess in the world. We will certainly consider it at the Congress, which will begin in Baku next week. The development of FIDE should take place gradually. And it is symbolic that in the match for the World Crown, which will be held two months later in New York, will meet the representatives of a new generation of chess payers - Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin. They are of same age; both were born in 1990 and are products of the system that we have created twenty years ago."
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told reporters that Baku might soon hold a major international children tournament and added that the programme "Chess in Schools" is currently one of the most important for FIDE.