The State Duma proposed to popularize intellectual sports in Russia. "The number of people involved in intellectual sports depends on the authorities," said a member of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs Marat Bariev. According to the parliamentarian, chess was promoted in Kalmykia by first president of the republic and sixth FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. According to the deputy, chess and checkers need to be popularized at the all-Russian level. Since September 1, 2019, the Ministry of Education has made chess a subject in many schools. Russian first-graders now study chess for 33 hours a year, students in the second and fourth grades do it for an hour more.

It turned out that the most talked about TV series now is The Queen's Gambit, which has also become the greatest chess project of recent times. How shall we explain chess fever that swept the world after the release of the series? And, of course, what chess combinations are applicable to our life?

In the Direct Speech lecture, writer Dmitry Bykov spoke about chess in books and the sensational Netflix series the Queen's Gambit. We find out why Beth Harmon defeats the Soviet grandmaster Borgov. Here are excerpts from his lecture:
“… There are two areas in which I don't understand anything: chess and TV series. Although as a child, I played chess pretty well. I had chess skills. I was advised to join a chess circle, but chess did not excite me at all. It is comforting to remember that Vladimir Nabokov was not a serious tournament player either. Vasily Aksenov played quite well, but he wrote his most famous chess story "Victory" while watching the game of writers Boris Balter and Anatoly Gladilin.

I had a dream that struck me to the core this spring. It took six months for reflection to make the dream a reality. I opened my travel notebook and made a note: Elista.

For people of my generation, the combination of words ‘Elista’ and ‘Chess’ is not new, because in 1993-2005 the president of Kalmykia was Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a chess player and an ardent supporter of the development of this sport in his homeland. For twenty-three years, Ilyumzhinov was also the President of the FIDE. He opened a FIDE office in Elista, organized and sponsored chess events of world importance in the capital of Kalmykia.
We saw the first chessboard in Elista’s Druzhba Park. A chess table, skilfully decorated with carvings and folk ornaments, was set in a gazebo. We had to bring the chess pieces with us, which we weren’t aware of. Therefore, we made our first move with an imaginary pawn from e2 to e4 and resumed our walk.


The week of Black Friday, Kommersant asked its readers and newsmakers what purchases they consider the most successful in life.

Entrepreneur, President of FIDE in 1995-2018 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said:
“I snatched the crown from the head of the world chess champion Garry Kasparov. And this is not an allegory. At the end of 1990, Kasparov won the match for the title of world champion against Anatoly Karpov. He was awarded a diamond crown valued at almost a million dollars - the largest prize money in the history of world championships. The unique crown weighed about 8 kg. It was made of gold and inlaid with more than 1,000 diamonds. 

Everyone seems to be praising The Queen's Gambit, but we found someone who doesn’t like the it. Journalist and screenwriter Elena Vanina, co-author of the script for The Last Minister and Londongrad TV series, has joined the podcast “What to watch”. She criticizes the Netflix hit for being soft: the hero of the series, a brilliant chess player, copes with drug addiction too easily. She surprisingly fast gets out of the binge cycle, and immediately after the death of her stepmother, she started her home redecoration.

The podcast presenters Natalya Gredina and Mikhail Fomkin talk with Elena about what distinguishes a good and bad script and why scripts of Russian TV series are often worse than the Western ones.


Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the best president in the FIDE history, and judging only by the results, there is no one to compare him with. Alexander Grischuk announced this on the air of Levitov Chess channel.

“The financial situation in chess has improved enormously during the presidency of Ilyumzhinov. I don’t understand at all when he is criticized ... Well, they may criticize, I don’t mind, but when they mix  with dirt ... I cannot understand it. The man is definitely the best FIDE president in history.
Yes, there were negative moments; I'm not saying that he is ideal. But judging only by the results, by the amount of money brought into the sport, there is no one to compare it him. "
“Now we say that today’s chess «is made for the elite”. And if you remember the times before the knockout world championships appeared, then everything was much more elite oriented. Right now, due to quarantine, the situation has changed, but in general, there are so many tournaments of all kinds that were impossible to hold a year ago...

Netflix has released a TV miniseries The Queen's Gambit based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name. It shows an orphan from the American countryside, who managed to impress grandmasters from around the world. The role of a gloomy prodigy was played by Anya Taylor -Joy ("Split", "Witch", "Emma"). 

The series begins in the mid-1950s and lasts until 1968. Nine-year-old Beth Harmon (Isla Johnston) finds herself in an orphanage after a car accident in which her mother died and she miraculously survived. While the rest of the students prepare to become exemplary daughters in foster families, and eventually good wives, Beth finds herself in the basement of a shelter caretaker who respects whiskey and chess Mr Shaibel (Bill Camp).


In the Soviet Union, there was no person who did not know about Cipollino, Signor Tomato, Countess Cherry, Prince Lemon, godfather Pumpkin - the heroes of the fairy tale of the Italian children's writer Gianni Rodari. This wonderful man was a teacher and poet, member of the Communist Party. He became a laureate of the most prestigious Andersen Prize in the field of children's literature, and he even visited the USSR more than once. The world famous children's writer turned 100 on October 23, 2020.

We asked Kirsan Nikolaevich what he thinks about the work of Gianni Rodari. Here is what Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said:
“Gianni Rodari during my childhood was one of the favourite authors of Soviet children. I still remember his wonderful poems, thanks to which we learned what the crafts smell and what colour they are.
Cipollino, the onion boy, is unlikely to yield in popularity to Pinocchio by Alexei Tolstoy. All Soviet children read these books, knew their heroes and their adventures. In Italy, in the 50s of the last century, Gianni Rodari's books were banned and even burned. But in the USSR, his books were adored!

We present to your attention the letter that came to our editorial office.  Boris from Stavropol wrote to us about how the FIDE presidential elections were held. Here is a small fragment from the letter.

“… There was an episode that our family witnessed. It happened in Norway in 2014. In the polar town of Tromsø, a few days before the FIDE presidential elections, the atmosphere is nervous and tense. Delegations are huddled in small groups, whispers are heard in the corners.
Kasparov seems to be leading the race. All streets and bus stops are decorated with his gloomy dark posters. The American is guided by the "principles of Machiavelli": everything is justified for victory. One after another, “promotions” are held: Kasparov generously treats delegations in restaurants, clubs and on yachts, gives expensive gifts (Apple gadgets, laptops) to representatives of wavering countries.

FC Uralan (Elista). What happened to the team, are there any chances of their return, where did it all start, and what are the former players and coaches doing now? The first president of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, composer Arkady Mandzhiev, ex-coach of the team Leonid Slutsky, former footballers Oleg Kuzmin, Erendzhen Tsebekov, Viktor Lidzhiev, Eduard Bogdanov, as well as fans and veterans of the club, spoke about this in the "Disappeared" show.

A bit of history. FC Uralan, which means "Forward" in Kalmyk, was formed in 1958. In 1997, Uralan, having won in the first division, received the right to play in the top division of the football championship.


Page 1 of 24